When people ask me if I am excited about SXSW being right around the corner, I have a hard time describing how excited I really am. Knowing SXSW is coming up this week gives me the feeling of birds singing in my head and sun beams warming my face. I feel giddy like I am about to embark upon the grand venture to my Mecca to see my people. I am anticipating the feeling of being refreshed.
I realize this is a bold statement to make, but I feel like the SXSW festival was the greatest thing to inspire me since becoming a professional web-designer. Corporate America plays strange tricks with your head. It narrows your perspective and sets your goals at mundane heights .It causes you to become obsessed with short term ideas and satisfied with what your environment finds acceptable. It becomes easy to meet goals, keep your bosses happy and focus on weather or not the gingerbread latte is really better than the caramel Maciatto. That is the extent of wild erratic change that bursts into your life when you become comfortable with your 9-5 schedule, G-5, and awesome view of the side of another building.
SXSW, if nothing else, takes you away for three or four days and exposes you to the vast world of possibilities. While the opportunity to meet so many fantastic thinkers is very humbling it also lights a fire under your ass to get moving on your ideas. It is a reminder that the work you produce as a designer is produced for more than just your clients or boss, but for the whole WORLD wide web. Its not just enough to up with creative technological curve, you have to push yourself beyond it.When I got back from SXSW last year the number one question I was asked was ” what is the coolest thing you learned?”. And the great thing about that question is that people expect me to spit out some crazy web jargon thats going to be obsolete in 6 months. But that is not the case at all. Last year the greatest thing I learned was to look at the big picture. The internet provides every designer, developer, aspiring thinker a clean slate to be as successful as you want to be. You just have to want it enough. The possibilities are limitless. There is a place for everyone on the web, you just have to go looking for it. More than anything, SXSW taught me to get off of my ass.Two of my favorite little life enhancements that I picked up last year are:
The nightly news can be such a bore but I used to watch it because it presented lots of short segments in pieces keeping my attention deficit occupied. Current.tv presents content from viewers around the world in a similar short fire fashion. My favorite part of Current.tv is that it features stories about relevant topics that are rarely reported on from other news sources. The journalists have fresh perspectives and a lot of guts often taking footage from places like Pakistan or Sierra Leon. The network also features stories on trends happening on the internet. Being a Web Designer this is vital to me staying on top of my game. TV will never be the same for me.
I met people at SXSW that I have not so much as exchanged an e-mail with since seeing them last, yet I know how their lives are going through the pictures they post on flickr. You may think this is impersonal, but it makes staying in contact effortless. If a picture is worth a thousand words I am closer to my flickr friends than I am with some people I work with in the same office.
Check out flickr or current.tv if you have not already done so, and hopefully I will get the chance to see you this year in Austin.
[techtags:SXSW, South By SouthWest, SXSW interactive, Austin, current.tv, flickr, webdesign inspiration]