SxSW: 2007 Themes

by Luke Wroblewski March 12, 2007

Several speakers addressed the implications and role of social applications, participatory culture, and common space peer production –all different ways to describe the same high-level trend.

Participatory culture has a history:

  • Common space peer production has existed before but never been put into mass scale production like it is today. –Bruce Sterling
  • The scale and degree of openness of participatory is unique but it has a history. LOL was used by teens in 1850 in printing presses. –Henry Jenkins

Quality of participatory culture:

  • Fan culture is in a moment where it is central to politics, economic, religion. Fan culture leads to world of collective intelligence. People watching together as a group demand more complexity. Schools are dumbing down while media is getting more complex. –Henry Jenkins
  • There are downsides to fandom. Fan art is not good and will never be good. We will not see a good painting by committee. Technical capability does not necessarily make things better. –Bruce Sterling
  • Most of the content created is crappy. As we create better tools, will increase the value of the output of those tools. –Will Wright

Politics of Fear:

  • What are the trends that drove online expression online? Increasing insecurity (environmental and political) in the world may drive people toward “tribes” as they need to feel part of “evangelical” communities that have a strong hero myth and culture. These tribes tie people together. –Emerging Social & Technology Trends
  • Participatory culture is threatened by Hollywood & their enemies (government access control, cease and desist orders) –Henry Jenkins
  • Henry Jenkins thinks their baby is going to be knifed. But it is not that fragile. (these are the same tactics as fear mongering = discussing threats to participatory culture).–Bruce Sterling

For more SxSW themes, see 2006 Themes Part One and Two.