Thoughts on Gadgetry from SXSW

We're at South by Southwest this week, a huge web, music and film conference in Austin, Texas. The next few posts are some of thoughts from the conference... I feel like a luddite. Not compared to 'normal' human beings who don't work in the tech sector, but certainly compared to my fellow SXSW attendees. I have an iPhone, I have two blogs, I'm on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I tweet when I come across some interesting tidbit to share. But, am I falling behind?

In almost every SXSW session, people around me are multi-tasking on multiple devices. They're live blogging/live tweeting the session, organizing lunch with friends or just trying to keep up with the 'statosphere'. I, on the other hand, take notes with a notepad and pen. I feel like a dinosaur.

I can't help but wonder if we can really parse so many inputs at once? For instance, I met fewer people at SXSW than I expected because most people were focused on their iPhones instead of chatting with the people around them. Social media is meant to enable relationships, but I wonder if it fractures our attention so much that we're less able to engage in the real world?