by Edward Nawotka
SXSW Interactive, the annual gathering of the digital tribes in Austin, Texas has become increasingly crowded, parking is painful, and the panels and talks can be hit-or-miss. But that’s what you get when you’re crowdsourcing panels (vote for me and my panel! — and I get a free badge). Granted, this is a crowd much more likely to spend a week exploring the 100-hour story arc of Star Wars: The Old Republic than re-reading Pale Fire, but as a showcase of new ideas and trends in tech, SXSW Interactive is simply unsurpassed — especially if you like to get your BBQ from a real Texas smoker instead of off a steam table at some anonymous Vegas conference hotel.
This year, O’Reilly is bringing it’s Tools of Change for Publishing event to Austin and will be hosting a full-day “mini-TOC” on Friday, March 9. The line-up of speakers includes O’Reilly stalwarts Clay Johnson, Todd Sattersten, Brian O’Leary, and others. I’ll be speaking with Clay Smith, literary director of the Texas Book Festival, about “What We Talk About When We Talk About Publishing” — a look at the changing definition of the words “publishing,” “author,” and “book” in our digital age. Plus at $50, TOC Austin is likely one of the best bargains you’ll find in town all week.
And both Baratunde Thurston, digital director of The Onion and author of How to Be Black, as well as fiction writer and TIME magazine book critic Lev Grossman are offering keynotes at the main event.
Will you be there? Send us an email or ping us on Facebook and let us know. We’re looking for the fun, wild, weird and wonderful that SXSW has to offer — pitch us a story, buy us a drink and let’s make merry.