“It matters not what rank [the reporter] has, what revenues or garnitures. The requisite thing is that he have a tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is requisite.” – Thomas Carlyle
In just a couple of days Tomorrow, I leave for the mega-conference called South by Southwest, a multi-track event with a focus on interactive media, music and film. I’ve wanted to attend SXSW since 2007, but am just now in a position professionally and financially where it makes sense. I’m paying my own way, as my focus and goals while there are geared towards making the best connections and absorbing the most knowledge I can for my future endeavors on Mouth of The Border.
I frequently share live updates from public events I attend, whether it be a food- or cocktail-focused event, tech or social media gathering or one of my company’s conferences. I don’t do it just because it’s fun. I do it because it might be interesting or useful to someone, and also because sharing live “on the scene” it what I was trained to do.
Many of the people I’ve met over the past few months aren’t too sure of what I do now or what my professional background is. I’m a former journalist with degrees and experience in newspaper, magazine and broadcast journalism. I now oversee events high end events for marketing and advertising executives, but journalism was really my first love in terms of career paths.
The most fulfilling and compelling aspects of the job for me were centered in the journalist’s personal responsibility to his or her community to report news and events in an honest, ethical and easy-to-understand fashion. As a reporter, I recognized daily that I was awarded access to people, places and events that most of the people I was serving would not have access to.
I was on the scene of drownings, fatal car accidents, fires, major criminal trials, special elections, closed board meetings, at hospitals, in politicians’ homes and on the other end of the phone with relatives of people who had just died. I owed it to the people I was reporting for to not only get the information that was relevant to them, but also to share it in a way that was useful to them.
I’ve taken many of those habits as a journalist into my next iteration as a “life reporter.” I report on the things I do now with as much zest for an online audience as I once did for a few thousand newspaper subscribers and TV viewers. Even though most of the things I share about are fun or lighthearted or just timely, I realize that I still have a great deal of access where others don’t. I live in New York City. Just due to where I’m located, I’m able to meet people and participate in experiences that many will never enjoy.
Which brings us back to South by Southwest. Yes, it is well-known as Christmas for Geeks or one massive party. Yes, I will participate in the ridiculous at every opportunity. Yes, I will absolutely have a blast. But I’m taking with me a sense of responsibility for the access that I’ll have to people and content and connections that others don’t. I will get to connect with a handful of people whose work and content I’ve admired for years.
I’ll get to play with technology and applications that won’t be available to the general public for months (if ever). So, when you see my tweets, videos, photos and blogs, know that I’m sharing because I’m experiencing something amazing that I know someone in my social circle or audience can benefit from.
If I tweet that I’m hanging out with C.C. Chapman or Sarah Prevette, it’s not because I’m a name dropper. It’s because I love connecting people and I want friends to let me know if someone I’m hanging out with is someone they want to meet. If I’m raving about a panel I’m sitting in on, it’s because I know people who couldn’t come because they’re at home on the grind as an entrepreneur who would benefit from catching up with me about that panel when I get home.
You’ll see a ton of content from me over the next week as I experience SXSW. Feel free to delete, unfollow or unfriend me now if you don’t care or if it gets to be too much. Sharing is just one way I’m acknowledging how lucky I feel to be at ground zero for tech entrepreneurs and interactive media movers, doers and shakers.
On the other hand, if you want to follow along, here are a few places where I’ll be posting:
Tumblr (microblog, photos, links)
Pegshot (photos, videos)
Foodspotting (Austin food photos)
12Seconds (short videos)
Click the widget below to call me (Google Voice)