The #SXSW Blogger Lounge
For those who don’t know, South by Southwest is a conference and depending on your interest and endurance, it can last over three weeks.
There is Interactive, Film, and Music. All of which tend to meld and mix into each other as time progresses. For me it was about the interactive. In this stage of the game, I don’t have the interest or the tolerance to punish my mind and body for such a long period of time.
There are always side hubs of activity and refuge happening at every moment.
The Blogger Lounge is one of these hubs. Open all day, it is an oasis where the traffic of who’s who stops in to refuel. At any moment you can connect with the social media elite and with people you never knew existed. Either way is value.
As I write this, I have yet to attend a panel. Instead I have been spending most of my time here. There are many faces I want to meet, and there is work to be done. Depending on the time of day, the lounge can be a silent sanctuary or a rumble of noise.
The first day here I was bombarded by a wave of of individuals clambering behind me. Elbows and knocks to the head. Annoying. With an edge of bitterness, I swung around to see why I was being physically abused. Then I realized the reason for all the noise.
Chris Brogan was behind me.
This made sense. Chris’s presence demands ravenous attention. All were forgiven.
I know Chris, and I am fortunate enough to consider him a friend. So I had no immediate surge to rush forward and stick my hand in his face. Instead, Chris recognized me and embraced me with a large hug. Good people.
We joked for a moment, and then he went back into his curtain of fans.
A quiet and shy girl next to me began to approach Chris with flip camera in hand. I immediately sensed she was hesitant about how to ask for Chris’s attention. I suggested that she simply just go up to him and smile. Chris is incredibly approachable and will always take the time (when he has it) to meet new people.
But Chris Brogan wasn’t the only high life social media star to enter the lounge. Many faces of the web would enter: Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, Darren Rowse, Amber Naslund, Shannon Paul, Terry Starbucker, Guy Kawasaki, Stephanie Agresta, and many more.
All approachable. All accessible. All friendly.
They have to be right? Maybe not, but it is probably in their best interest to be so. Today’s glass house now encompasses everything. Few can hide. Fewer still can pretend the force smile. Today the acceptable sign for dismissal is the immediate flash of the business card. A gentle reminder that your presence is appreciated but not wanted for an extended period of time.
That is fine.
Engagement doesn’t exist between 3.5 x 2 card stock, and most of time after meeting someone you have built a pedestal for you find that there is very little to talk about. Best to leave quickly than drag on false conversation.
But these are isolated incidents.
The blogger lounge is where the true communication happens. It’s here that you get a sense of how these online faces interact and participate in their engagements offline. It is the true revealing mirror of this conference.
Written by David Murray ~@DaveMurr