There’s kind of a trend for writing and talking about how great events used to be, because the only thing cooler than being at an event is being in the middle of things while being unimpressed by it. Like being disaffected at E3 because it used to be swaggier, or being at SXSW saying the only worthwhile events were the unpublished, exclusive, celebs-only events in the good old days. VentureBeat ran one of these posts, entitled How to Survive SXSW, with useful tips like Don’t Go, Really Don’t Go, Miss Your Flight So You Don’t Have To Go, and Don’t Talk To Anyone. Parts of it are a human-hating giggle:
Don’t hook up with strangers. Sure, lots of people will be doing it. But break this rule, and it may haunt you for life. You have no idea who that other person is. S/he could be a social media expert. Eww.
Ok, so that’s valuable and hilarious advice, both on the risk:reward ratio of colleague hookups and on how anyone with an ego and a couple Twitter followers can be a social media expert. But it’s hard to ignore the snarky subtext of pieces like this. Remember — the author is reminding readers — that even if you’re at the event, or going to go next year, or thinking about maybe going sometime in the future, you can’t have the elusive good experience without a time machine back to exclusive SXSW (or swaggier E3, or whatever. I think I’ve been reading Is This The End of E3? columns since college.)
The authors of these pieces remind us that THEY would only go if they were “roped, tricked, or coerced” into attending, but others might attend if “you’re a cock-eyed, optimistic noob who thinks it will be a geeky love-fest full of valuable content and networking with your peers.” It’s particularly weird to find this in tech outlets. like VentureBeat, who send staff to cover events like this, presumably so the poor plebs who can’t attend can read about the event (and all the lame things their staff is too cool to enjoy, I guess?).
Turns out that when given such a clear choice between being too cool for SXSW or being the optimistic noob, I’m unashamedly an optimistic noob.
Looking forward to the geeky love-fest next week!