This past Friday, people from all over the country and the world converged on Austin for South By South West. Most people quickly associate SXSW only with partying and wild fun, and while there is a lot of that, it’s not all that South By is about.
Austin gets a unique opportunity to be on a world stage with over 18,000 people attend the interactive portion alone, the film portion features almost 500 films, and there are over 2,000 music shows, all of which happen in one week. It really is incredible. Now, what does this have to do with ACNM?
With so many amazing minds and big names from technology and internet, SXSW Interactive really is the place to be. Unfortunately, we simply have not had the time to make any adequate plans for this years event while we have been busy getting up and improving our site. We believe in taking action, but making sure that what we do is done well.
Our area gets to annually host a huge amount of guests for an event that is infamous for partying hard. Celebrations is what this city does best, but I don’t believe that it has to be bad. Austin’s great culture is is deeply rooted in the art, food, music, and the people that make it. With exceptions, there is a lot of good, and it is definitely worth promoting and experiencing.
Now that we have the platform, I believe that it is our responsibility to host information and resources for the many visitors. Out of all the techies, we should be reaching out to those that are looking for or could use more information about mass times and other Catholic information.
More importantly, I think that it is necessary to do a Catholic meet up. First of all, it is important to have a presence at such events. There are other religious groups that do, including a Jewish group. Secondly, we should reach out to these techies and let the Catholic ones know that they can use their skills to further the cause of Truth. There are many that have never really considered it before, but it’s time that Catholic media become more widely recognized as a platform for new technologies and opportunities.
A very big topic at this year’s SXSWi has been a call to humanize the internet. Too often we automate and simply generate messages. Social technology through the internet requires a full consciousness that we are dealing with real people, people with souls. We cannot simply push our “media” the way old media only knew how todo with their messages. Now, it is expected of us to engage in conversation, to talk , but more importantly to listen. By listening to the people’s needs and interests, we can more effectively bring others to join our conversation.
I pray that ACNM does not loose sight of this important and powerful element of the contemporary world of technology. Sure we know we have Truth on our side, but in a sea of messages and noise, no one will notice or listen if it is not communicated effectively.
Taking my own advice, I would love to hear what ideas you have to create a presence at next year’s SXSW. We’ve got time to plan, and we’re open to try what we can. Feel free to comment on this post to share your ideas.