SXSWI and TMI
The first day of SXSW Interactive, I circled the Austin Convention Center with frustration rising…too much traffic. Found a parking space, took off at my usual sprint walk with frustration rising more…too many people in my way. Get to conference center and spent about fifteen minutes trying to identify which of the many panel rooms was where I needed to be and then, where exactly was it? Once settled and ready to really streamline my thoughts, it was not the thing to do to open up the SXSW Interactive schedule and choose which of the hundreds of sessions was the most relevant session for me. This experience of “too much” and of that “too much” – “what matters to me”, is a big theme of the conference this year and one that the industry’s thought leaders are striving to address to improve the social media and digital technology experience.
Throughout day one, I saw this theme emerge in technologies receiving attention and in the sessions I attended. This article by CNN’s John D. Sutter identifies localized group texting, social network groups that focus on specific topics and/or that consist of smaller/tighter networks and taming the internet as predicted SXSW Interactive trends. All aim to streamline and make our digital experience more relevant and manageable. And earlier this month, Mahendra Palsule guest blogged on TechCrunch about companies developing technologies for delivering personalized, relevant content from their online sources.
At the SXSW Interactive session, “Writing Workshop with @BettyDraper: Saying it Short”, Helen Rodriguez and I learned how brevity and creativity can help us be more successful communicators in our “age of attention deficit and time deprivation”. At the “Folkways These Days: Crafty Knowledge in the Digital Networks” session, I heard how artists (creating material and not virtual work) have been impacted by technology. Certainly while the internet has provided benefits like introducing them to new audiences and ideas, it has created challenges such as distracting them from their craft to maintain their online presence.
It’s clear to me that in professional and daily life, we are ALL struggling with how to get our arms around the social media and digital tech monster. As Mahendra Palsule said in his article, “relevance is the only solution…”. It will help us cut through the noise to find what matters to us and enable us to reach our key audiences. No doubt the innovators here at SXSW Interactive will be rolling out some of the best solutions to the issue and I’ll be sharing more about those on our INK blog.