Sunday, March 7, 2010

SXSW and the Quest for Coherence

Next week is South by Southwest, a massive and many-tentacled beast of rock performance, networking, new media shop talk and music industry schmoozing.

In many ways, it's become an incarnation of the new media communiation ushered in by instatnt messaging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social netweorking sites that now promote and recycle it.

A world of meandering topic streams; multi-tasking habits and attention spans; abbreviated speech modes; quick information; pleasing colors, sounds and surfaces.

SXSW embodies many of these traits with its zillions of bands playing a multitude of abbreivited shows at random intervals in a variety of locations. There is never a pause. Rarely coherence. Frequently gratification.

It is energy and exaustion in equal parts.

Gratefully, the conference's likeness to new media has also made it possible for us to make better sense of it. For we now have new media to freeze those fleeting moments, slow the pace of their delivery and share with fans and friends.

Tradiditional and new media play a big role in that sense-making, filtering process. Music magazines aggregate and blog about the bands and shows as they witness them. The New York Times offered a South by Southwest Journal in 2009 frequently visited by The Oort Cloud.

The Oort Cloud regretably will not be in town this year. If the Oort Cloud were, the Oort Cloud would go to the Spider House. The music is free and indie, the atmosphere arty and outdoors.

The Spider House experience cannot be simulated. But the music and mayhem and can be made sense of through the long tail of digital media.

The Oort Cloud will be following some of the play by play in the blogosphere, investigating recommendations, listening for signals.