This is a call to arms. A polite request, as it were. SXSW Interactive is about how technology can truly create connection in our society. What you do find is the following at SXSW:
This is an image drawn by Dean Lee, Creative Director at DDB in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This is what we saw last year. People heads down in their devices, not talking to each other, not leaning across to their neighbours to ask their opinion of the talk and not really contributing more than a groundswell of tweets and electronic connectivity. While that adds to the overall ‘digital conversation’ it does not contribute much to the festival which is happening before their eyes.
Mashable published an article today called ‘Is Social Media Actually Making Us Less Connected?’ (click to read) and take a look at the TED talk here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtLVCpZIiNs. In it MIT professor Sherry Turkle offered during her TEDTalk on Thursday, in which she argued that “technology is taking us places we don’t want to go.” In this she talks about how we email in meetings, check social on the bus when sat with friends, sit and have dinner with out phones alerting us of what is happening and how we “expect more from technology and less from each other.” I am guilty of this condition. In my job I need to be connected but, really, at work and at SXSW I need to be connected to the moment, what is being said and actually have a human relationship with other people.
So, while I will be submitting content and capturing moments at SXSW I promise to you, and more importantly to myself, that i will be alert, awake, learning and connecting with other people there to find out what they think. I will be present in my communications.