A week from today, Austin, TX will be the mecca of all things nerd. Well…at least for a a handful of days. South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) kicks into full swing on March 9, so in proper St. Louis fashion, we’re going to throw “the party before the party.” South by St. Louis (SXSTL) will be Tuesday, March 6 at the Moonrise Hotel in The Loop. Here’s a quick overview of what’s going down.
Who This Is For
Going to SXSWi?
This will be my first year attending SXSWi (after which, according to my friend Liz Maritz, I will be able officially refer to it as ‘southby’ without being a poser). Needless to say, I am a little nervous. While I converse with people across the globe on a daily basis, it’s always a little nerve racking being in unfamiliar territory surrounded by throngs of people (insert awkward penguin). I figured I couldn’t be the only one with this problem. Whether you’re simply exchanging business cards in case you got lost later that week, or if you’re making plans to get drunk and karaoke until 3 in the morning, SXSTL will be the place to make that happen. Besides, it’ll be nice to get acquainted with people who will also know what I am talking about when I bring up toasted ravioli while in Texas.
Not Going to SXSWi?
Having been on this side of the coin for many years now, I can relate to how much it sucks having to live vicariously through your peers for an entire week. You spend all that time frantically keeping up with blogs and hashtags, most of which end with something along the lines of, “You’d have to be here to know what i’m talking about.” For most of us who work and play on the Internet, it is impossible to hide from the infectious hype that is SXSWi. I wanted to feed off of that hype. I wanted to do something to scratch that itch, even if it’s just a little. SXSTL takes the best of SXSW (or so I hear), and crams it all into one, glorious night.
What To Expect
1) Networking: Lotion up those elbows, people, because they are about to be rubbed raw. The combined sponsorship of Social Media Club St. Louis and St. Louis Women in Media has drawn quite a crowd to Tuesday’s event. If you want to play stalker, the RSVP list is on the Eventbrite page. It’s time to bust out that fancy business card holder with your name engraved on it that your mom gave you for Christmas a few years ago (or am I the only one who got one of those?)
2) Panels: Putting together the panels for SXSTL has been a blast! To get the best feel for everything SXSW has to offer, there will be three panels throughout the course of the night, each focusing on one of three areas: social , design, and digital.
Social Panel: “Why Pinning is Winning” What makes Pinterest, the pinboard-style social sharing site, the hottest thing on the Internet since cat videos? We’ll share trend and best practices, discuss its appeal on the personal and professional side, and make wild accusations as to where we see Pinterest going in 2012. Oh, and don’t think we won’t be bringing up the gender divide issue!
Design Panel: “Is Creative Web Design in Jeopardy?” With the widespread acceptance of easy-to-customize CMS platforms, such as Wordpress, are we running the risk of stiflinf creativity and innovation in the world of web design? We’ll discuss current trends in this platform war; as well as web font standards, mobile and tablet design, and HTML5 adoption.
Digital Panel: “ARs, QRs, NFCs, and More!” A schmorgesborg of topics covering some of the biggest changes in the digital landscape over the last year. We’ll be covering everything from niché social networks to digital engagement methods, like gamification and augmented reality. What are brands doing to make digital noise and what are they doing to stay relevant in a society that has the attention span of a toddler? All that and outlandish predictions for the rest of 2012.
3) Partying: To round out the essentials of the real SXSW, our good friend alcohol is scheduled to make an appearance. While I promised to keep the debauchery to a minimum, the fine folks at Eclipse Restaurant have told me that they are working on some awesome drink specials for Tuesday night. Rumor has it, one of them will be themed after everyone’s favorite, micro-blogging platform. It isn’t Pownce, either, so don’t get cute.
Who To Thank
I want to give a big thanks to Social Media Club St. Louis and St. Louis Women in Media for co-sponsoring this event. Without their support and assistance on getting the word out, this wouldn’t have been possible! I also want to thank the Moonrise Hotel and Eclipse Restaurant for graciously accepting to play host for the evening. Lastly, i’d like to give props to all of the panelists. You are brave, brave souls. Stay tuned for more info on our panelists throughout the week.