Going Off the Grid at SxSW

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Image by saidemily

Welcome to SxSW, the heart of online nihilism. Whether you are at the event or unfortunate enough to tune in via Facebook, Twitter and other social media, you will witness one of the greatest spectacles of popular pageantry. The art of seeing and being seen is taken to its highest form by the faux famous. All the more reason to indulge in the desirous luxury of going off the grid at SxSW.

Is this anti for the sake of being anti? Is it insanity given all the focus on tools like Plancast, Foursquare (3.0, and not much new), and Gowalla? No, it’s not.

Here is a list of five reasons to abstain from the all important geolocation/public network status updates at SxSW (dedicated to Jay Dolan):

1) Business: The true value of SxSW is to meet other people and network. Real business can be done at this event. That means attending parties, private events and maybe even a panel or two to talk to people eye-to-eye… As opposed to peering into a phone entering a not-so witty status update or gawking at what everyone else is doing online (instead of in front of you). Plus, it is enjoyable to get off the computer and actually talk with people. That’s the best part!

2) Listen and Observe: Given the vast amount of technology news and blogging at SxSW, there is little that another stream of updates and posts can add to the picture. However, many trends do get their start at SxSW. Watching, listening and observing allows one to research events and breaking trends as they unfold.

3) The Circle Jerk Distraction: Entourages, attitudes, leader boards, etc. are all part of the seen and be seen game, sadly much of it online via status updates. Playing this popularity game distracts you from one and two, which in turn causes you to spend a lot of money, develop a hell of a hangover, and garner no return on investment. Worse, it can bite back. The rumor mill about acts that occur fact and fiction at SxSW are astounding, and sometimes quite hurtful. Don’t feed the beast!

4) Work Beckons: ADD, the luster of the moment, the excitement of successive party after party from noon until 2 in the morning day-after-day. But there’s a job to be done back at home. There are conferences to attend next week, clients who have major deliverables due, and coming back burned out won’t make it any better.

5) Stalkers Suck: Sorry, it happens, and it is uncomfortable. Getting stalked at an event via geo check-in or status update is surreal at best, and absurd at worst… Especially given that none of us would be recognized in our hometowns at the grocery market. Maybe it’s time to get real. Oh, sorry, wrong event for that.

Does that mean complete abstinence from network updates? To each their own. It does mean abstaining from the hooplah to maintain presence for the people physically at SxSW, and mindfully observing those who await a locked-in participant back home.

What’s your game plan for SxSW?