I’ve been listening to the audio podcasts from this years SXSW. I’ve got to say, it’s a very mixed bag. I’ve enjoyed the keynote speeches from Bruce Sterling, Kathy Sierra, and Phil Torrone and Limor Fried. The Dan Rather was barely OK, about exactly what you’d expect and nothing more. Thus far, I’ve tried to listen to four or five panels and only made it through one without shutting it off. Something about the tenor of the panels, which is a combination of cutesy hipsterism and smug self-satisfaction from the panelists, makes them unlistenable to me. The very first one I tried was “How to Rawk SXSW”. I don’t think I made it through the introductions before I’d had enough. The “Sex and Computational Technology” panel, similar thing. It had Violet Blue on it who many people like, but I find skip-button-tastic. When I hear her talk, I reach for the skip button.
Yesterday towards the tail end of the workday I heard the presentation on “How to Improve your Lame Podcast.” There was plenty of meta-irony because I thought the podcast on how to improve lame podcasts was such a lame podcast I couldn’t take it. I went to skip it and saw that it was short and would be over soon, so I just let it ride. So, the only panel I’ve finished I didn’t really like but it was short enough that I didn’t bail. Not a great track record.
I wonder if these things are more palatable if you are in the room there and soaking in the wonderfulness of each other and how cool you all are for actually being there. It sure doesn’t play to me time and space shifted. Unlike Podcast Expo, where most (not all) of the presentations I was not present for are ones I can still appreciate when I listen to them 6 months after the event, I’ve thus far not gotten much of that from SXSW, two weeks after it is over.
I’ve got the “Rise of the Blogebrity” session on my player for today. I’ll give it a fair listen, but the odds are against that one. I’m not poo-pooing this stuff out of sour grapes. I was invited to come along and do some podcasts from the conference and I certainly thought about it. I’d love to come to SXSW one year if my work situation would allow it. As much as I wish I liked the panels and would enjoy getting something out of them, thus far I haven’t. I don’t download things and spend my time on them just so I can hate them and bitch about them. That ain’t how I play this game. I’m considering unsubscribing and giving up if I don’t get something of value out of the next few panels. There are plenty of other similar things to listen to that I know I get more value out of.