SXSWi2008, Day 2: Opening Remarks

Henry Jenkins, Steven Johnson

Johnson interviewed Jenkins

Random stuff they said:

  • No single person should be asked to write for an encyclopedia
  • wikipedia’s model is much better, because it’s community-driven
  • Britannica’s model is one person sharing their knowledge – wikipedia’s model is many people sharing their knowledge
  • younger generation have learned to read and write because of Harry Potter – they learned to social network through Harry Potter
  • Jenkins says he is a Total Obama boy (everyone clapped and hooted)
  • Older people say I – I will do this for you
  • Younger people say We – what can we do to get this done – this is what happens in social networks
  • Obama has tapped into the we model – Hilary has tapped into the I model

I turned off my laptop during the q & a session, and missed a great answer to a usual question. The usual question was about how to deal with internet addictions. Jenkins answered by first saying that when someone stays up all night to read a book, it’s considered learning and an ok thing – but when someone stays up all night on the internet, it’s considered an addiction and bad. So instead of saying it’s an addiction and bad, we need to figure out what the compelling parts of the online experience are, and then try to integrate those positive experiences into other things, like learning.

SXSWi2008, Day 2: ExpressionEngine 2.0 Sneak Peek

Session by Ellis Lab, makers of ExpressionEngine, a CMS we’re using for our new Digital Branch.

Note to David – there’s an Ellis Labs party – t-shirts!

Goal – you should have control of the code and the design – design shouldn’t have to work around the CMS

They have paid support staff

They claim it’s becoming very popular for developers (of course they’d say that!)

Big News from the coder dude:

  • 2.0 is powered by CodeIgniter – an open source PHP framework
  • lots of coding libraries – jQuery, Javascript libraries

Control Panel redesign:

  • more user-friendly – Create, Modify, View labels
  • learning EE tab at bottom – place to put tutorial videos, etc
  • site stats link/tab

Create New Entry page

  • easy to move fields around
  • dynamic sorting
  • custom create new labels
  • A “write mode” – just the body text area pops up, hiding all other fields – nice

SXSWi2008, Day 2: Quit Your Day Job and Vlog

Zadi Diaz, Bre Pettis, Lisa Donovan (Lisa Nova on YouTube), Lindesy Campbell

lots of people taking video of people in this session

People who have made videoblogging their day job – topic of panel

Telling their stories:

Lisa Donovan:

  • started a small production company
  • lots of corporate stuff
  • they wanted to be more creative in their down time
  • this was about 2 years ago – they discovered youtube
  • started posting videos…
  • her videos have been watched 40 million times
  • They use the resources they have – no money involved – just time, primarily
  • she was picked up on MadTV 2 months after she started doing the youtube stuff

Zadi Diaz:

  • EpicFU – internet culture show
  • her background editor is in publishing and acting
  • she started vlogging to keep in touch with her family, then discovered other vloggers
  • hooked up with rocketboom
  • show started as JetSet – recently changed the name
  • the British Council is a fan of her show, and they’ve invited her over to do something
  • EPIC-FU IS their job
  • (aside) Steve Garfield just walked around the room, vlogging the session)

Bre Pettis:

  • got started as an art teacher
  • 2004 – he started doing online video
  • he mentioned the library! Loves the 700 section in the library
  • started making DIY videos
  • 2006 – started doing DIY videos once a week

Lindsey Campbell:

  • she’s an actor (translation – she was acting, singing, and temping in NYC)
  • saw an ad for a web hosting for a financial show thing and auditioned for it
  • she did wallstrip – acquired by CBS Interactive last year
  • “the internet IS TV”

Some people tell them it’s too bad they haven’t made it on TV or film

They are just a little bit ahead of traditional media, and traditional media types are starting to contact them and ask questions – sort of like what I do in libraries

Bre’s suggestions

  • don’t make people wait even a second – cut everything to the edge
  • Make friends with musicians
  • publish often
  • own your IP
  • take acting classes
  • take care of your teeth


  • start where you are
  • don’t quit your day job – just start there – make a show with the people around you

Campbell – email your heroes – they might help you

q – what’s the justification for being in the web space with trad media companies that bought video?
– they wanted to be in the space
– it’s experimentation

building a community – they want to feel like they’re participating with you, hanging out with you, connect with you – the web offers that connection point

SXSWi2008, Day One: Rock Star Lighting and Accordions

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

Formats: Quicktime | iPod

Quick video of the How to Rawk SXSW, just to give you a flavor of the first session. The lighting was pretty cool, and they found an accordion player who plays popular tunes on his accordion. Here, he’s singing an AC/DC song – he also closed the session by sing Hit Me Baby One More Time by Britney Spears.

SXSWi2008 Day 1

SXSWi2008This is my first time attending SXSWi, in Austin TX. Wow – it’s a different conference! At the many library conferences I usually attend, I bump into a few people I’d term “creatives.” You know the ones – their hair points to the sky, it’s died green, and they wear stripey socks. Well… all of those people have converged in Austin to attend SXSWi. Not that I’m complaining – I like hanging around creatives, and I’m certain I’m going to learn some cool things. It’s just… well… decidedly NOT a library conference.

And you get to come along with me, because I’ll be blogging what I see and learn! So strap in, hold on to your hats, because away we go – to my first day.

First off, I registered – and immediately saw Harry Knowles, the guy who runs Ain’t It Cool News registering for the film part of the conference. So I’m already geek’d out, and I don’t even have my badge yet!

After getting my badge, my bag of schwag, and lunch, I attended the first session, How to Rawk SXSW: The Basics. Some people from Valleywag sat in front of me, typing and snapping photos the whole time. This was an “introduction to sxswi” and was led by a panel that included Matt Mullenweg, Tim Ferriss, Min Jung Kim, Ian Lloyd, Jason Toney, and Rannie Turingan. I don’t remember who said what exactly, but I wrote some interesting quotes down:

  • Don’t try to pace yourself – try to do everything at the conference
  • The liver is evil and should be punished
  • lots of talk about how to party, how to get over hangovers, how to extend your caffeine rush (take aspirin), etc.
  • make sure to talk to people, introduce yourself to people, etc
  • You want to be memorable (there’s lots of “remember me” networking going on)
  • some discussion on how to meet someone who’s Internet Famous
  • Geeks are nice, and usually want to meet you, too
  • Say your name and blog URL
  • Remember that Internet Celebrities are not real celebrities
  • The people who are going to be big in 5-10 years are here
  • Lots of language…
  • And the panelists downed a whole bottle of bourbon during the session
  • Hey, it was something to do… :-)

Jeffrey ZeldmanNext, I went to Respect! Say it Loud: I Create Websites and I’m Proud! Also a panel, led by Jeffrey Zeldman. Panelists included Douglas Bowman, Liz Danzico, Erin Kissane, and Jason Santa Maria. This session was a loose discussion of figuring out the value of what we, as web dudes, do, and how we translate that to others. Random quotes:

  • at Google, speed trumps everything – it’s a type of common ground for Google during meetings
  • One person mentioned having a session where clients draw what they think they need in a site or app – this helps them feel part of the design process (even if you don’t use what they drew)
  • A new Google employee is called a Noogler (ie., New Googler)
  • Zeldman mentioned the Alzheimer’s approach to meetings – remind non web types what was decided in the last meeting, why we’re going a certain way, where we are in the process, and back it up with stats, studies etc – basically reminding them frequently of what’s going on
  • watch out when marketers write content – it can sound too markety and not web enough – it starts sounding like a polished salesman.

Finally, I attended a party and hung out with some web developers from the National Geographic and the Pentagon.

Again – a very interesting start to a very interesting conference!