SXSW 2008: Social Networking Indeed

I’m here in Austin for my eighth consecutive South by Southwest Interactive conference. I’ve come to look at this week as an essential creative reboot each year. The weather in Toronto combined with the months of near darkness always leave me drained in inspiration. And then I come to Texas and spend a week with a few thousand of my closest friends.

I didn’t plan well this year. And work got crazy. And I foolishly solicited SXSW filmmakers to send me screeners. So the leadup to this year’s conference was a flurry of late nights and trying to compile a super-calendar of Interactive, Film and Music events. Now that I’m here, it’s clear that I just can’t do it all.

In fact, my normal “shy extravert” personality has taken a hit and I am finding myself cocooning in my hotel room, which is unusual for me. I think part of it might be that I’m a bit nervous about trying to meet new people (ie. Film people). On the one hand, I’m a lazy man and don’t mind hanging around with my old Interactive tribe. But I feel like I might be missing an opportunity to learn something new and talk about another of my favourite things with like-minded people. But I’m also afraid of being embraced by the Film people and then missing out on all the stuff I’ve come to love about the Interactive conference. This conflict over different social choices as well as scheduling options has left me even more paralyzed than usual. And I don’t like feeling like this.

I’m hoping that staying a few days extra to see free Music day shows and hang around with my Austin pals will sort me out. I’ll post an update in a few days.