SXSW or bust

SXSW 2006 If you look really hard on this page you will find me listed as one of many speakers at South by Southwest Interactive. And it’s not a typo!

I’ve always wanted to attend SXSW even back when it was just the hotspot of independent music. The musicians I knew spoke of it with awe. Now I’m not as interested in the indie rock but in the collection of some of the most interesting and creative minds on the Internet. I was invited by Henry Copeland of BlogAds (which is located here in Chapel Hill) to be on a panel called “Revenge of the Blogs: Election 2008.”

The panel is on Sunday 3/12 at 5pm, and also stars Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos and the requisite token right-winger. So don’t expect me to get much airtime. I haven’t planned anything yet, but so far I think I want to talk about how our panel has the wrong name because:
1. ‘Bloggers revenge’ will be felt as soon as the mid-term congressional elections in 2006. If we wait around for 2008, we lose.
2. Successful electoral campaigns do not pop out of thin fully-formed. They are based in movements which take years, if not decades, to build. The Republicans know this, they are capitalizing on what they started in the 60’s.
3. Local elections are where the real action is at. Or at least the real democracy, much less influenced by corporate cash and political parties wheeling and dealing. This is where bloggers (and grassroots activists im general) can have a huge impact, and develop the leaders who can eventually run for “higher” offices.

I am definitely getting excited about going to South by Southwest, especially as I realize who is coming. I also know there will be a million dot-commies trying to cash in on the latest trends, but I will try to ignore them as I hang with these and other cool people: Kellan, Fiona, Kirk, Chuck, Justin, Nancy, Alexandra, Eddie, and of course Doc! If I’ve forgotten anyone else, drop me a line!

Plus the bonus: I get to visit my grandmother and other relatives who live in Austin. It’s going to be a big week…

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