SXSW 2012, Here I Come,

published at 9:10am on 10/29/11

Copies of my earliest blog posts from 1996, printed out by my mother

I’m very pleased to announce that my 2012 SXSW proposal “Shoebox Full of Photos: Beyond Digital Storage” has been accepted to be one of the over 500 sessions at SXSW 2012. I’ve been thinking a lot about the near complete digitization of our public and private lives over the past several years, both our own memories, and our shared experiences. You can not attend any sort of public event in New York City, be it the Union Square pillow fight or an Occupy Wall Street march without it being photographed and video recorded to within an inch of its life. And I think that all of this documentation in digital form is a fantastic thing for the speed at which it can be disseminated across the world. But while they are immediately relevant and immediately shareable, over time they will be forgotten. They will languish in Facebook and Twitter albums, on Tumblrs and personal blogs that will eventually be forgotten and discard. And unless they are captured by someone like the good folks at Archive Team, they will most likely be lost.

So my talk will be a conversation about this particular topic. About what our options are for keeping this around, about the mindset we should be in, both for the content creators and the people building the systems that house this content.

But I am also particularly excited about having my proposal accepted because I have been attending SXSW Interactive on and off since 2000. That first year, the entire conference took up a couple of rooms upstairs at the Austin Convention Center, and I sat around a room lamenting the onslaught of this new form of publishing called “blogging,” and how it was going to kill personal expression on the web. And my friends had a launch party for their new startup. And I rode around in the trunk of their car. And I got to hang out with the other people who were exploring this fairly new medium that was going to change the world.

I skipped the conference for several years, and when I returned in 2008, while it was huge and corporate and took over the entire convention center and then some, there was still the kernel of what I first experienced in 2000. I could still hang out in the lobby, or on the second floor of the convention center and see my friends walk by and meet great new people and have interesting discussions and get out of the brain space of everyday life in New York City in the middle of the winter. And this year, I’m excited to be able to give back a bit to this community. I’m excited to be able to facilitate a conversation about a topic that I think is very interesting, I hope to spark some lively debated, and I’m looking forward to be shown some new perspectives.

And I’m really excited to eat some breakfast tacos.

Filed under: Personal

At 6:34 pm on 10.29.11, Sam @ Parenthetical said,

Sounds like a fascinating presentation. We should talk about this sometime. Librarians are all about this very question — usually more from an institutional perspective, but in general as well. We have MORE stuff, but if it isn’t preserved and organized, what good is that long-term?

(And yeah, silly upstart bloggers stomping all over those thoughtful web journalers. 🙂 )

At 8:06 pm on 11.11.11, Jesse Chan-Norris said,

Would definitely like to talk to you about this. Librarians, archivists – I know that I’m not the first person to think about these things, and I’d love to hear more and more perspectives.

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