What would happen if you were at one of the great festivals and the story became about a journalist?
SXSW creates one of the best places to be during the month of March. Sequential fests for the interactive, film, and music worlds take over Austin, Texas for one of the most artful, cutting-edge, and smart gatherings of audiences and participants.
Unlike other industry gatherings, the Interactive fest brings together an incredibly diverse crowd that spans generations, professional accomplishment, and niche talents. The spirit is one of genuine interest, openness, and energy.
How strange, then, that the integrity, imagination, and mood could be undercut by a journalist.
Yes, a journalist’s approach to an interview inspired anger, ridicule, and the economy of the blogosphere.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, anchored one of the keynotes of the conference. Considering that 99% percent of the audience are customers of Facebook, Zuckerberg wanted to keep the focus on the company’s four year development to “help people connect and communicate more efficiently” for more “personal, trusting, and empathetic relationships.”
Facebook became available in Spanish last month, German a few weeks ago, and tonight (!) in French. Give the guy his due for making the world a little better.
But, who would have thought that crowd would be rooting for a 23 year old billionaire over a journalist?
Sarah Lacy turned a packed ballroom crowd into a shouting, mocking, groaning audience. She appeared to be so determined to let us know how close she was to Zuckerberg that she couldn’t help interrupting him, meandered her way to asking questions, and managed to ignore him to turn on the crowd.
Want to feel like you were there? Check out the coverage from CNET or Wired, or same time blog posts from Mashable (“When An Interview Turns Into A Revolt”), the Unofficial Facebook Blog, BuzzMachine, CrunchGear, ValleyWag, and many more posts listed on Technorati.
How does the graceless journalist respond? As Lacy posted on Twitter: “Seriously, screw all you guys.”
The problem? A journalist believes they are as important as their subject.
The lesson? Celebrate those who create a company or an artistic work: they collaborate to provide a service, offer value, and carve an opportunity for us to be a genuine community.
This is the real story of the festival community of SXSW.
- Bill Reichblum