South by Southwest is a conference most people think of as a gathering of musicians and bands and the various denizens of the hipster music scene. However, it is also a well-known film festival and a revived interactive festival. Following the dot com bust the interactive portion of the festival was near death; companies no longer were willing to pay their employees to go to a conference/ party and small businesses were all but done and thus the whole industry sort of shrunk. However, as most of us now know, the dot com world is anything but a trend, instead it is the future, it is the now, and SXSW Interactive is it?s shining example of innovation and creative energy in one place for 5 quick days.
Academic concerns were the focus of a number of panels at the festival, with varied topics dealing with publishing, youth internet culture, the impact of wikipedia, and more. I've written separate blog entries for three days of the conference: