The amount of times I have wished for Dumbledore to be real in my life since his debut in 4th grade cannot be counted on one hand. And here I am again, now at 25, wishing he would just appear in my living room with Fawkes the Phoenix to hand deliver me a time-turner. Because really. How else am I supposed to do SXSW Interactive? At 12:30pm on Friday, March 7th, alone, I’m tryin to be in 7 different places all over the city of Austin, Texas.
Maybe I just need to go all Voldemort on the world and smash my soul into 7 pieces to make a horcrux that can attend each session? I don’t know. But please let this tattoo of Dobby The Elf help me find the strength to accept the things I cannot change – like the incredible amount of FOMO I will feel at every waking moment throughout the 5 days of the festival (but not as much as if I weren’t going in the first place!).
My family vacations used to come in the form of attending conferences with my parents when I was little. Every summer, we’d head to a new destination – Wyoming, Arizona, Maine, Florida, California, and everywhere in between – so my parents could stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their field and I could run around with a free canvas bag, stocking up on enough free pens, highlighters, and stress relief balls to last me a lifetime. And I absolutely loved it.
Twenty years later, I still absolutely love conferences. Although now that I have a job, I have to say it’s more for professional reasons that I love them and less for the running around for free swag. But I’m definitely not saying I won’t still stuff a bag with anything and everything that costs me nothing…the pile of student debt I’ve accumulated throughout 5 years of higher education (undergrad + master’s) has given me a special radar for any “FREE” price tag that exists within a 5-mile radius. But I digress way too much: If you understand my love for conferences, you can imagine my delight when I found out I have the amazing opportunity to attend South by Southwest Interactive Festival this year. And if you can’t imagine, let me show you:
So. Much. Excitement.
So much excitement that only 30,000 digital creatives coming together in one city for 5 days can create. Learning from the brightest minds in the industry at panels and presentations, experiencing the most cutting-edge technology, gathering inspiration from every one you meet because they’re just as excited about being in this tech geek hotspot as you are? You cannot ask for anything better as a professional in the interactive media field. I have the opportunity to learn things at SXSW that will help me to become the absolute best I can be at my job. How can I not be excited?
I’ll be traveling with 5 coworkers from SalesFactory + Woodbine starting this Thursday. If you want to keep up with our experiences, I’ll be providing updates here (and on our blog that I’ll share with you in the next post). We’ll be diving head first into all things tech starting on Friday and, as you can see from my screenshot at the beginning of this post, I have some decisions to make (not only for Friday’s 12:30 time slot but the entire conference #nbd <– do kids still use that hashtag? Guess I’ll learn at SXSW. J/K #90sKid). As Social Media Coordinator for the agency, I’m most looking forward to the panels that will help me to really engage with an audience, panels that tap into my psychology background and discuss how to create experiences that people will want to have again, all things addictive storytelling, and of course, viral content (because everybody wants their shit to go viral…so Imma learn how to make that happen…and not share the secret).