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SXSW: The Cool and the Lame


This year was probably my most rewarding SXSW experience ever. I learned a lot, renewed friendships, made new friends, was presented with some very attractive opportunities and all in all, had a blast. With that said, there was plenty of lamery to go around as well.

If you didn’t attend SXSW here’s what you missed (or didn’t miss…)

SXSW: The Cool

At SXSW ’10, one didn’t really need to purchase a badge because everything worth mentioning happened outside the sessions and panels. While I did attend a couple of excellent Core Conversations, the truth is, the highlights from “Southby” didn’t come from scheduled talks. As Chris Garrett said, “I paid $500 to hang out in the blogger lounge.” That doesn’t mean SXSW wasn’t worth the experience, just that sometimes the experience isn’t what’s scheduled in the official guide.

The Blogger Lounge: If you were looking for friends and conversation, the blogger lounge was the place to be. This is where we worked, shared ideas and caught up with those we hadn’t seen since the last conference. The blogger lounge provided tables and sockets for our laptops, food and drink, and even some entertainment. A good time was had by all.

The hallways: I learn more in conference center hallways than from listening to the same panelists say the same thing at each different conference. In fact, I think I spent more time in the hallways at SXSW than anywhere else. Lest, you think I was wandering aimlessly, I was talking and sharing ideas with published authors, bloggers, social media people, marketing people, and even a couple of filmmakers.

The restaurants: Whether it was Stubbs, Rudy’s or Ironworks, whether it was BBQ, Hawaiin or Tex Mex, Austin has something for everyone. Each night we tried something new and I’m happy to report that nothing sucked. Even better than the food was the company and the conversation…

The people: I’m not going to indulge in a festival of name droppery, but I will say this, I have terrific friends. Bloggers are the nicest people ever. No, really. There’s nothing better than a bunch of great minds sitting together and thinking alike. Or, even, not agreeing but having a terrific, respectful discussion.  I have more phone numbers than I can fit into my phone and more business cards than I have a box to hold them.

The City of Austin: Kudos to the City of Austin, Texas for handling this logistical nightmare. More than one person told me the college spring break is scheduled at the same time as SXSW so that there are thousands of people leaving the city at the same time thousands of people are coming in. Though SXSW is sure to be an income booster for shops and businesses, I’m positive most residents will be happy it’s over. Driving around Downtown is a nightmare for residents, for sure. Still, everyone is pleasant and well mannered and the drivers are the most polite I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if this type of conference could happen anywhere else.

SXSW: The Lame

Zone Bars: Every where I went someone was waving a Zone Bar in my face. While I’m thinking they were the reason many attendees didn’t starve, I’m also thinking most of us are leaving Austin hoping to never see another Zone Bar for as long as we live. Or at least until next year.

Panels and sessions: There were very few SXSW panels that interested me this year. Maybe it’s because all the panels are picked as the result of a popularity contests. It doesn’t matter if a session is necessary and timely, if it doesn’t get the votes it doesn’t get in. Someone with a lame panel and a large network of friends  has a better chance of getting picked than someone with a decent topic and not as many friends. Problem is, if those friends aren’t attending SXSW, does it really matter if they’re voting for panels?

Fire alarms: So we’re sitting in the audience at Darren Rowse‘s book reading and the fire alarm went off and we had to exit the building.  I mean everyone. There was no panic, and no pushing. Everyone was respectful and cooperative. Still, it was a pain in the butt to empty out a massive conference hall and then put it all back together again. The fire alarm was a dream for the Zone Bar people who stood in the stair wells passing out Zone Bars, but for speakers such as Darren Rowse, it almost put an end to the talk. We were back in the building about 20 minutes later, a little behind schedule, but it all worked out in the end. Oh and the alarm? It was a false one.

Drunk social media gurus: Hey famous social media people. Yes, you. People remember when you get drunk and sloppy in public. Folks can do a lot with a cell phone cameras nowadays and there are certain things you don’t want captured on film, if you know what I mean. Seriously though, some folks treat SXSW as nothing but a big party and forget that many of their peers and professional contacts are in attendance. It’s probably a good reminder not to do anything you wouldn’t want splashed across the front page of the New York Times, besides acting drunk in public is just obnoxious.

What are some of your takeaways from SXSW? What did you find lame and what did you enjoy?

Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network.

BlogWorld isn’t SXSW (and Vice Versa)


In the last few days I’ve been seeing a lot of “BlogWorld or SXSW?” type Tweets. Most of them are from folks who can only afford to attend one conference this year and aren’t sure where their money is best spent. While both BlogWorld and South by Southwest are “must attends” for much of the social media world, the two conferences aren’t the same. Comparing  is almost like comparing apples to oranges.

Two Different Conferences

To me, the biggest difference is that SXSW isn’t a social media conference. It’s an interactive conference (with a film and music conference also taking place at or around the same time.) To decided whether or not to choose one over another you’ll have to define your purpose for attending first. BlogWorld is more defined, it’s a blogging/social media/new media conference. It’s smaller and more intimate. SXSW is huge. This isn’t a bad thing, again, it depends on what you’re going for.


Each conference provides opportunities to meet and network with creative people. SXSW tends to have more parties and events happening, though there were more “official” BlogWorld events in 2009 than previous years. I’m not a party person. My preference is to enjoy dinner or drinks and conversation with both old and new friends. I don’t like shouting over a crowded room or watching others down too many complimentary drinks. So for me, the nightlife is all about the restaurants and the conversation. Both Las Vegas and Austin have the best of the best.

Sessions and Panels

Both events provide informative classes and discussions, my main reason for attending. If you come to learn, learn you will. Again, BlogWorld is more niche oriented while SXSW runs the gamut. Session titles at BlogWorld 2009 included:

  • “Stimulating Brand Conversations with Women in the Social Mediasphere”
  • “LinkedIn for Viral Campaigns”
  • “Why Blogs are Your Number 1 Social Marketing Tool”
  • “How Social Media is Changing the Definition of News”
  • “How to Build a Large Loyal Audience with Podcasting.”

The BlogWorld panels more or less touched on blogging – including niches such as mommy blogging, real estate blogging, sports blogging and milblogging. Sessions also discussed community management, affiliate and relationship marketing, podcasting and business.

South by Southwest Interactive does include many social media type topics, but also, anything that appeals to geeks outside of the social media spectrum. Behold some “Southby” sessions for next week:

  • “Cooking for Geeks: Science, Hacks and Good Food”
  • “Dude, This is My Car!”
  • “Web Fonts: The Time Has Come”
  • “Are Content Farms Good or Evil”
  • “Can You Copyright a Tweet?”
  • “My Three Year Old is My Usibility Expert”

In addition to session and panels, South by Southwest also has “Core Conversations.” These aren’t sessions but instead interactive discussions revolving around a certain topic. I led a Core Conversation at last year’s SXSWi and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I like that it enables the audience to be a part of the entire discussion rather than getting in a few questions at the end.

Something else to consider is that who gets to speak on panels is sort of like a popularity contest at SXSW. Potential speakers submit proposals but they’re put the vote. Though SXSW also has a committee to appoint speakers, if a potential speaker has a huge network to vote for him, he’s a shoo in. At BlogWorld, a committee looks over each panel and decides on which sessions will best serve the BlogWorld community.

Money, Lodging and etcs.

SXSW is a more expensive event for me mostly because the hotels cost more money, especially if you want to stay close to the convention center. The flights cost about the same and meals are about the same. However, the Las Vegas monorail is cheaper than taking cabs around Austin. For the most part, you’ll be able to stay in a hotel close to the Las Vegas Convention Center when you attend BlogWorld. Not so in Austin. Hotels fill up a year in advance and if you don’t book extremely early you may find yourself staying miles away and having to pay a $20 cab ride each way.

When you’re in Las Vegas for BlogWorld, you can take the monorail or a cab to get to the various parties, hotels and activities. Austin’s clubs, pubs and restaurants are usually within walking distance, though some are a brief cab ride away.

Edited to Add: Ooops thought of one more MAJOR difference. South by Southwest is much longer. While Blogworld can last two to three days, expect to spend at least five days in Austin if you which to attend as many sessions and events as possible.

BlogWorld or SXSW?

Again, you can’t compare. Both BlogWorld and SXSW are different events. I enjoy both events and take away something different from each. My preference (and not because I happen to blog here) is for BlogWorld for one reason – it’s more intimate. It’s big enough that it’s a “big event” but not so big you’re overwhelmed. I walk down the hall and know almost everyone I see, even if it’s on a “wave hi” basis. I’m not a party person and I’m not a crowd person. Though both SXSW and BlogWorld are my “never miss” events each year, if I had to choose one place to be it would be Vegas, baby.

How about you? What are some of the differences you see between BlogWorld and Southby …and do you have a preference?

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs blog network.

Blog World Expo Radio – The Voice of Blog World Expo!


BlogWorldRadio_FINAL_opt250 At the event this year in Las Vegas we transferred over from Blog Talk Radio to WS Radio for our regularly scheduled radio show Blog World Expo Radio.  This was not because we wanted to leave Blog Talk Radio, we love the folks at Blog Talk Radio and they have been a participant at our event as an exhibitor and have helped us make our event successful.  We moved the show to get a different look, feel and sound to Blog World Expo Radio.

We have quite a few shows in the archive now and I wanted to touch on those and talk about what we will be doing in the future with the show.  Most recently we had on our show Wade Kwon who posted recently about his experience with BlogWorld & New Media Expo as a speaker.  We reached out to Wade and wanted to get him on our show so we could discuss his complaints and acknowledge those as well as talk about how we are going to make it a better experience.

We also introduced Patti Hosking, our new Director of Business Development.  Patti is not necessarily new but is someone that has been with the crew now since the beginning but has recently taken over the duties full time as the person in charge of exhibitors, and sponsors and other issues related to business development of the show.  You can reach Patti by email at Patti at blogworldexpo dot com.

Our last show we had some real rock stars in the world of social media, Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of SocialMediaGroup.com and Jason Falls, the founder of Social Media Explorer.  Jason was also our track leader for the Social Media Business Summit and was instrumental in how we made 2009 in the social media track awesome.  He was a large part of why that was so beneficial to attendees.  Maggie and Jason talk about some of the issues in the industry of events, and also talk about what we are seeing in the world of social media, and finally finish up with some thoughts into what we will see in 2010.  I think you should all get over and read their blogs and definitely get a chance to listen to the show once the archive is posted.

As we approach 2010 and our new show in October, we will be interviewing speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and many others.  We also plan to bring you live coverage from events like CES and SXSW and perhaps another show that is in your area.  If you want to be a guest on our show feel free to leave a comment and what you want to talk about.  We are going to have some cool guests in the future and you could be one of those.  Coming up in January we will have Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati and we look forward to what Richard will tell us about the future of blogging and about his company Technorati.  Join me next week as we take a look back at 2009, what we did here at BlogWorld & New Media Expo and what we plan to do for 2010.

Rappin At SXSW? How About Blog World Expo “I Wanna Be A Rock Star?”


This has gone around the blogosphere out on Twitter and a number of other places.  Rebecca Corliss did an awesome job of putting together this recap of SXSW in Austin, Texas.  Some of the rock stars in blogging, podcasting and conference attendees are in the video.

What I would like to see now is a video done for Blog World and New Media Expo to the tune of “Rockstar“.  I’m thinking it could be titled “Blogstar”.  I want to be a Blogstar, don’t you?

Blog World Expo Radio – Episode 1 From SXSW in Austin Texas


SXSW Interactive

Our show comes to you live from last Saturday at SXSW Interactive at the Techset Blogger Lounge presented by Windows Mobile.

Our guests on this show live from SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas:

Ewan Spence and his Twitter is @ewanspence
Wendy Piersall and her Twitter is @emom
Justin Levy and his Twitter is @justinlevy
Patti Serrano a caller and her Twitter is @iGrandma
Aaron Brazell who we all know as @technosailor

I want to definitely thank the folks at Windows Mobile and the Techset group for letting us have our show.  Special thanks to Stephanie Agresta and Brian Solis for allowing us to have the fun we had there.

Hopefully at Blog World and New Media Expo we can have as much fun!

We Have Bloggers and Blog World Heads to Texas!


In case you haven’t noticed, I wanted to introduce you to a couple of new bloggers here on our site that will be providing some content.  I want to introduce you to Jane Goodwin and Tyler Knott Gregson.  Jane and Tyler are prolific bloggers and will be talking about all things blogging and new media.  They will be discussing industry news and what is happening in the world of blogging.  They will talk about the upcoming show a little and also be talking about what is going on in the world of technology.   Feel free to talk to them and tell them what you think and to also let them know what you want them to post about and other information. Welcome to Blog World Jane and Tyler!

Rick Calvert, Dave Cynkin and I will be in Austin, Texas next week attending Spring Break For Geeks or more commonly known to many as a SXSW Interactive.  We will be setting up shop at the Techset Blogger Lounge Sponsored by Windows Mobile and organized by Stephanie Agresta and Brian Solis. We did our radio show yesterday on the trip we are taking and talked about all things SXSW with Tammy Lynn Gilmore and Brian and Stephanie and I invite you to listen in on that show but listening to the widget on the right under Blog Talk Radio.  We will be doing the show live from SXSW and giving you the on scene experience of attending the Blogger Lounge and about all the people that are there participating.  It will be the next best thing to paying for a pass and attending the event yourself.  Join us as we head to Texas for some Yee Haw!

WINNER! Blog World Gives Free Badge To SXSW Interactive Attendee


One of the better parts of this job is giving out the cool news.  As you know we ran a contest over the weekend to give away a free badge and pass to SXSW Interactive to a person that entered and told us why they thought they should be chosen to join us in Austin, Texas. We have finally chosen a winner!

We had difficulty choosing the person we thought best exemplified the idea behind the contest which is why I am just now announcing it about an hour later than I intended.  The entries were all so good that we couldn’t narrow it down.    We had to give other prizes away as well.  The result? The runners up, Brian Layman and  Corvida Raven will receive a 50% coupon or code for passes to Blog World and New Media Expo coming up on October in Las Vegas. 

The person that did win the badge to head to Austin is none other than Angela Bull.  Angela, I want you to be my duet partner at the Karaoke Bar!  Here is the winning entry.  Angela you did a great job!

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Blog World To Give Away Free Badge to SXSW Interactive


We here at Blog World and New Media Expo love to attend events and meet people and get out into our community.  The folks over at SXSW Interactive have allowed us to do all of that and benefit one of our readers at the same time!  We are going to give away a free pass or badge to the upcoming SXSW Interactive event in Austin, Texas from March 13, – 17, 2009.  What does the badge include?  You can read it all for yourself but it is a $495 value!

So how can you win the badge?  Good question. 

It is actually going to be very simple.  All you need to do is tell us why you want to go and why we should pick you to go with us!  It is really that simple.  We want you there but we need to know why we should pick you!  The most innovative blog post, YouTube video, podcast or any other use of new media can be used.  Just link or tag your entry to the Blog World and New Media Expo site the SXSW Interactive site and leave us a comment here to let us know you wish to enter and refer us to your blog post, your YouTube Video, your podcast or whatever form you are using to tell us why you think you deserve the SXSW Interactive pass.  We will determine the winner from the entries submitted.  Entries will be taken until Sunday night March 1, 2009, at midnight PST time.  Get your entry in and let us kn ow why you want to be give a free pass to what has been called "Spring Break For Geeks" event in Austin, Texas.

We are going to announce the winner on our site on Monday March 2, 2009 at 6 p.m. pacific time.  We will be providing the winner their very own pass to the event and we can even interview the winner on our live radio show on that date as well.

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Ewan Spence Interviews me at SxSW


If you were to charge there is a certain amount of navel gazing in the blogosphere and at events like SxSW you would be right. The fact is when events like SxSW and BlogWorld happen it gives us new media content creators a chance to meet up with old friends, make some new ones and meet many of our peers, mentors, and thought leaders that we admire from afar.

So you get a lot of people interviewing each other. I certainly did my share of interviews there, and was flattered when the famous kilt wearing podcaster Ewan Spence found me worthy of an interview.  You can listen to that interview here.

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