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Dispatches from South by Southwest

Looking for the next big thing at South by Southwest

I  can’t say what the next big thing is. I can tell you what it isn’t. Experts here agree, a social media platform that allows you to say connected to your social circle is Facebook. Done, let’s move on. The one thing that Facebook doesn’t do very well is tell you where your social circle is, so understandably there’s a lot of talk about location based stuff. I do think there’s great untapped potential here for museums, not to locate people but things. Stay tuned, smarter museum people than me are working on this, I’m just not sure where they are.

There’s also buzz around texting apps that allow you to group text. They work just like a listserv, only with texts. Me and my group have been using GroupMe, with success. I was skeptical at first but I have to admit that group texting is great. The only annoying thing is that most of them default to generating a new phone number for the group, and the last thing I need is another phone number. But GroupMe allows you to bypass the default and use your own phone number. Others might too, but I’ve stuck with GroupMe.

There are more women here than I expected, but it is really still about the boys. Evidence the panel description that promises poop jokes. There are panel descriptions that transcend gender stereotypes. My favorite: You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a social media expert.

Another epic myth that I’ve been able to take part in here is the free lunch. The mythology around SxSw is that there’s free food everywhere. Yesterday around lunchtime I stumbled upon the FedEx truck handing out free sandwiches and drinks. The sandwiches were yummy! Today the FedEx truck promised free middle eastern wraps, but when I got there they were all gone. Guess the word is out.

I’m signing off for now, but I promise to return soon and blog about my favorite session.