What SXSW Says About The Limits Of Social Media And The Stigma Of Selling Out

Nick Baumann, the news editor at Mother Jones, wrote a terrific piece about the way marketing has eaten South By Southwest, and was kind enough to come on my Bloggingheads show to discuss it:

One of the things I’ve found personally fascinating about South By Southwest is the extent to which the interactive portion of the festival actually demonstrates the limitations of social media: it’s a terrific place to have in-person conversations with people you know primarily online, but it’s also a reminder of the limitations of email, chat programs, Twitter, etc. And for all the discussion about the festival itself, one thing Nick and I talked about that I’ve rarely seen discussed is the impact of having the music, film, and interactive festivals running both concurrently and next to each other. Of course, it’s not new to have music festivals get dominated by big acts, but what does it mean to have a tech start-up mentality leach over into music and film? Or to have dealmaking come first to one part of a festival and then the others, even if the buyers are different? I don’t think anyone’s averse to people making money, but what happens when properties that have already made money—or, at least, say, movies that have already been acquired for distribution—crowd out the things that are supposed to get their shot at making a more modest amount?