The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Saturday, March 20, 2010

SXSWi Part 1

Picture of the Week - Sunrise: Austin!

For those who may remember I put a link a few months back to vote for the Judaism 2.0 panel at South by Southwest Interactive (known by the abbreviation SXSWi). SXSW -  a three part event composed of a film, music and interactive (read technology and social networking) events - has become a major event in the world of Social Media of late - previous years hosted the launching such web phenomena as Twitter and Foursquare

I was graced by Justin Oberman of Derech Digital to speak on the Judaism 2.0 along with fellow blogger and Web star - Chaviva.

Unfortunately due to flying back and fourth to New York every week (three weeks ago I was in LA for Purim, two weeks ago in New Orleans to speak in a local JCC on Social Media and Jewish Youth, and then this trip to SXSW) many things were left at home in the course of packing and unpacking - my camera's battery among them.

Pictures featured here were either taken on my PRE, or by others.

Shabbos: At Chabad of Austin.

Motzei Shabbos: Went to the Buzz Out Loud meet up. As the meetup went from 5-8, Shabbos kept us from coming
until the tail end of the meetup - we didn't get to Malverde until after
it was over . . . but Tom Merrit saved Tshirts for us (after I mentioned it
on twitter).

Hanging out at the meetup place, I was approached by a guy with a Hertzel T-Shirt (one of those hipster friendly styled
images . . . the kofer in me would dig one of the Rebbe like that). We had an awesome time schmoozing . . . People are so psyched to see a Chabad'nik doing the SXSW thing.

Sunday Day:

Made it to the live taping of Buzz Out Load in the Radisson Hotel. After lunch went to Crowd Sourcing for Social Change. "You're all a bunch of Social Media experts," the MC says . . . I am? People here are wacky. Hipster styles are WAY in - thick plastic glasses, beards, ironic t-shirts and funky hats . . . I could almost blend in. One guy walking by has a big beard and long hear - I'm not sure if he's going for Gandalf look - but I'm sold! I really dig that hats are back in-style . . . [ It's a point I like to make to the kolel revisionists (a group of fanatics in kolel that have no interest in fighting for halacha - that I'm all for - but rather making matters of cultural custom (like the color of one's yarmulke, the alcohol one drinks (vodka over single malt or beer) or the type of food one can buy in a restaurant) into a matter of something being "yiddish." I like to point out to them that a Borsalino is a Goyishe hat (not that it isn't part of out levush, but let's not play games), and that if one truly wanted to nor emulate goyishe style - then ditch the hat. But I digress . . .]

I tried to get into the Gmail: Behind The Scenes panel - but it was packed! Five minutes after the panel started, the line stops moving and a lady announces that the panel seating is full - if we want, we can wait and get in as others leave. I guy behind me mutters that "How much do I really want to know about Gmail?"

After a few more minutes I head off to the "Diversity on the Web" panel. Baratunde cracks ups the crowd with "How to be Black." Reasons why he's an expert on Black Folk? He's been one for 32 years and some of his friends are black. Interesting points on bridging the digital divide: "Technology can be used to wage "the war" to escalate knowledge"

A lady speaks about women and tech . . . In the questions afterward, an African American lady complains that the panelist used the term "Women and People of Color" - which implies that all women are white . ..  Come now! Must we analyze every nuance of semantics so as not to offend? We all get the point (that we mean everyone except the white guy) - by the way - I'm Jewish, not white.

After meeting up with Dave Weinberg and Chaviva Edwards we went to the Macallan Tasting room in the SoBE Lizard Lounge. Free Macallan 12 and 15 is great . . . loud music that belongs in a club of people drinking Jager Bombers and Coors lights isn't - People Neggunim (or at least something with a little soul) were made for Macallan! Another guy comes over and is pumped that Chabad is here - he's interested in coming to the panel . . . this should really rock!

Sunday Night: The wife and I went shopping for the awesome Kosher SXSW BBQ on Monday Night (tell your friends!) and then went looking to hook up with the other Jews . . . The parties were PACKED - and you know what? Kinda douche! I figured something out: Social Media types by and large (besides the real mentsch'n out there) only like to talk about themselves - to people they already know. If you have a connection you're gold, but everyone else just kind of wandered around trying to bask in the limelight of others.

I got a few free drinks at the I haz Cheezeburgers party though, so can't complain!

To be continued

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