I’ve wanted to go to SXSWi for the last few years. I’ve heard all about it; I’ve read all about who’s going and what’s going to be presented; I know about the peripheral culture where all the good stuff happens; I’ve been treated to first and second-hand accounts of adventures had there.
However, I also worked for a company that was neither swimming in cash nor really had a culture that “believed in” things like conference attendance. And I like to do lots of things with my life and my money, not just plan and save for one conference a year.
So I’ve never gone. And it sucks, but c’est la vie. At the same time, though, especially in the last year or so, there’s been something in my brain telling me that going might not be a great idea for me. Why?
Well, I think this sums it up pretty well. And hey, he’s been, so he knows what he’s talking about.
Noise and crowds do bad things to me. Not a fan at all, and if I’m stuck in an unfamiliar environment where I don’t have a well-known escape route and place to hide out and recharge? I’d probably end up bunkered down in my hotel room, refusing to come out. 🙂
Unlike that dude, I’m not a teetotaler, but I’m also not a big drinker. And I hate bars. Michael can crow all he likes about yelling at people in bars at 2am, but not everyone considers that the pinnacle of awesome social interaction.
And while I am single, the implications behind that last bullet point speak for themselves. I’ve been to big corporate events. I’ve been to conferences, and the idea of hooking up at one… blech.
Intellectually hooking up? Sure, faboo! But at the same time, I thrive on small group, in-depth interactions. I don’t thrive on (gag) “ambient intimacy”. I don’t consider myself totally connected to people because of Twitter interactions. And so a giant conference, even full of geeks and totally cool people, isn’t likely to be somewhere I’m going to meet my new BFF.
His final point about not seeing people he actually wants to see is relevant, too. There’d only be one or two people at the conference I actually know. But they’re not people who exist in my in-person social sphere, and they’re the type of people who really look forward to things like SXSW. Which means, by definition, that I’m not someone they’d terribly look forward to seeing there.
And yes, I am capable of socializing and meeting new folks and being funny and charming. But when I’d be expected to do it for five straight days, in big, noisy crowds, and frequently in bars?
I think I’ll just stay home and peruse coverage online, thanks.