Mixed Reviews from South by Southwest

Last week, we shared some thoughts from the South by Southwest interactive conference on the TechVibes blog. Here's a brief summary of our impressions as first-time South by Southwesters: Julie: If you didn't already know that social media marketing is the new black, then the huge number of panels on this topic at SXSW would certainly tip you off. The panels had plenty of conflicting advice on how to move marketing and PR to the web--from dropping your email newsletter in favour of Twitter to focusing exclusively on building word-of-mouth marketing programs. While I did not agree with all the touted strategies, it was good to see rooms full of marketers taking this stuff seriously.

Darren: Despite the star-studded line-up (hey, there's Heather Armstrong! There's Hugh McLeod! And so forth), the overall caliber of the panels followed the typical conference curve of average to great. In truth, the quality was not better than smaller technology conferences, like Gnomedex. It's the scope of SXSW that makes the conference unique.

We enjoyed meeting new people and connecting more deeply with aquaintances, but neither of us came away singing the praises of SXSW like we often hear others do.