March 14, 2012

SXSW Interactive has ended; Austin belongs to the SXSW music festival now. Tech geeks making way for music geeks can look back on their conference with a photo gallery of its highlights from Mashable, which features a picture of Sohaib Athar, you know, the guy who inadvertently live tweeted the bin Laden raid and who spoke at the conference with Poynter’s Steve Myers (not pictured). Festival registration was up 27 percent from last year, Omar Gallaga reports.

The hot mobile apps this year could be characterized as “ambient reality,” writes Helen A.S. Popkin. (Ambient reality is actually a really good way to describe life in Austin year-round.) Brad Stone‘s takeaways include a memento mori about apps that set the festival afire but now rest on our phones as dusty icons. Despite being a raging pain at times and the panels being sorta lame, Marcelo Calbucci writes, the conference is still worth the trouble, because the people you need to meet for business are there, and the “chances you meet with them at an informal, fun, relaxed and relationship-building-inducing place is very high.”

And then we get a little dark. “This year, it seemed,” writes Jake Coyle, “there was increased debate about the possible downside to mounting technologies and the effects they may be having on our lives.” Such as “homeless hotspots”?

Such as “homeless hotspots”! Good’s Tim Fernholz interviewed participants in the program and gets into the nuts and bolts of the project. “A real-life contrast are the volunteers, sponsored by FedEx,” he writes, “who walk around the convention wearing jackets (in 80-degree weather) festooned with USB ports so people can gather around them to charge their phones and other electronic devices.”

“[T]here’s something uncomfortably pious about the backlash,” wrote E.G. in The Economist. “When you’re at a trade show full of middle-aged men and the majority of women on the premises have been hired to loll around in skimpy outfits, that, to me, is demeaning.”

Matthew Yglesias, who did not attend, writes that “the real offense is that people were languishing in such poor conditions that they would find this to be an attractive job offer. The sin [marketing firm BBH, which organized the project, is] being punished for is less any harm they’ve done to homeless people than the way they broke decorum by shoving the reality of human misery amid material plenty into the faces of convention-goers.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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