SXSW: March 13 2016

JC20160312_1349I chose three popular, celebrity-focused Interactive sessions today, and all involved long lines or waits. But I was not disappointed. Later in the day, I  looked around the Trade Show at the Austin Convention Center and then walked over to the Zach Scott Theatre for another movie premiere.


Future of Entertainment: The New Rules of Social Stardom was a discussion between Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Ariel Foxman (InStyle Magazine). Kerry dominates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with a ton of followers on all platforms. She has just started Periscoping. She decided early on not to make her posts about her personal life and decided to stay true to herself. Some publicity is decided ahead of time. She usually does her own posts, but even if she doesn’t, all posts have her approval. She does not read comments on other platforms, but she occasionally engages with commenters on Twitter. Her view is that comments mostly reflect the person who makes the comment. Kerry and Ariel talked about the controversy surrounding her cover on InStyle magazine last year. She also spoke about her decision to represent Neutrogena to expand their line for women of color. She received many threats after speaking at the 2012 Democratic convention and has outside help in dealing with online threats.


Wikipedia: Beyond the Encyclopedia featured Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) and Guy Kawasaki (Canva). Jimmy talked about the start of Wikipedia 17 years ago when he first typed the words, hello world. They don’t worry about restrictions on citing Wikipedia in research, since entries are intended to be a summary. However, they do enforce citing within their entries and will remove biographical statements without citation if the subject objects. Jimmy worries about the health of the Wikipedia community, especially if it ages and does not attract younger people. There is a in-process court case between NASA and Wikipedia, about satellite surveillance of Wikipedians. He is helping to organize a series of worldwide protests to free a Wikipedia editor who was arrested and now disappeared in Syria. Editing has a large gender imbalance. Jimmy thinks this might be due having to use the wiki markup language and some intolerant behavior in the community. He is a volunteer and works on the board, but does not currently work at the Wikipedia foundation.


A huge crowd showed up for Anthony Bourdain as Interviewed by Nathan Thornburgh. They showed about several clips from his show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, including visits to the West Bank, Korea and Sicilily. Anthony doesn’t worry about whether his fans like an episode: “If we tried to please our fans in the US, every show would be about barbecue.” He said that he was able to write his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, because “I never had a reputation to lose.” He likes making good things, but “if they’re spectacularly unsuccessful, I don’t care.”


Starving the Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities analyzes key issues facing public universities today: budget cuts, tenure reduction/elimination, student loan debt, and political pressure. This documentary cites examples from the University of Texas, Texas, A&M, University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, and Louisiana State University. University presidents, faculty, various education experts, and even James Carville were interviewed. This is a must-see movie for anyone associated with UT here in Austin.

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