Heading to South By

SXSW Interactive is allegedly the greatest event in the world for anyone in the creative Web and technology industries. Sitting here on a plane containing select former colleagues from my previous life as a computer magazine editor, it certainly feels like we’re heading for something big and important, something that crosses over between genres and markets. My colleague, Claire Selby, and I are taking a group of students from Ravensbourne’s Web Media BA course to the show, the institution’s first foray into this amazing event with its finger on the technological world pulse.

SXSW itself is a mashup crossover, with three festivals bolted together for film, interactive content, and music. They are essentially separate, with different tickets and running on different days of the schedule. But they also overlap, with films, music and comedy during the interactive bit – and now an educational summit at the beginning, too. So maybe that’s why it’s still the show to be at in this age of transmedia and multi-format narratives, which is pretty impressive after 16 years of the event.

It’s going to be a long haul, and I don’t just mean the flight. We’ve been awake for eight hours already, and there are another nine hours before we hit Austin. The workshops, talks, book signings, round tables, and everything else kick off tomorrow, with start times that are mostly reassuringly late in the morning. I doubt that tonight we will be heading for a recuperative nap in preparation, though. The plan is to meet some folks from the Mozilla Foundation and Dundee University downtown – a sign of things to come at SXSW. Then there are all those former colleagues to catch up with. Not sure sleep is going to be much on the agenda.

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