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Maybe #SXSW Interactive Should Become #SXSW Interpersonal

A theme I’m picking up across multiple speakers and panels goes something like this…

Technology as the “Great Enabler” may be getting overthrown by technology as the “Great Generator of Stuff We Can’t Keep Up with Anymore and It May Actually Be Making Us Less Better People”.

Yesterday’s “Why Everything is Amazing But Nobody is Happy” (Twitter stream at #everythingsamazing) explored the effects on we humans in terms of our development, our relationships and our spirituality in the new era of social media.

Two new buzzwords coming from this panel were:

Bilocationality – trying to be two places at once, empowered via personal mobile technology

Digital Austism – as we engage more and more with personal technology, the inability to effectively engage, relate or empathize with face-to-face realityHearing those two words made me shut the TweetDeck for iPhone down and pay attention to the rest of the discussion.

Today, in two very much unrelated panels, much more related to our industry – Brave New World: Debating Brands’ Role as Publishers (#curatedebate) and The Last Broadcast: Entertainment is Social –What’s Next? (#futurecast) – the concept came up a few times.

In #curatedebate, taking out the marketers vs. journalists angle, a key question was in light of people already having easy access to everything, how will they be able to be effective skeptical, critical consumers (very key to make our democratic capitalist machine work) with new content continually being pumped into the system via brands? As brands try to personalize themselves, can people potentially suffering from Digital Autism relate?

#futurecast explored the future of “television” as screens proliferate, become increasingly connected, and social. The key item focused on at one point was this now means that time spent with television will grow relatively exponentially for the first time in a long time. We’re talking about 15 more hours per week. Aside from the logistical issues of planning and investing across an audience using media like this, it begs the bigger question of is access to more content in more places good for people?

And this is why I love #SXSW Interactive so much. Makes you pause and ask the bigger questions. What do you think?

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