Will you be at South by Southwest this year? The odds are the if you’ve been there before, you probably didn’t go for a badge this year–or you are and you’re speaking, or you bought one just because you want to either (a) hang out in the blogger lounges or (b) quickly reserve your hotel room (I’m guilty of both). But if you’re fanatical about attending the SXSW interactive conference but didn’t bother to get a badge, one must wonder why? Is it because it’s too expensive? You weren’t selected to speak on a panel or keynote? Or you just wanted to party in Austin?
Regardless of your reason for not buying a badge, you’re not alone in your plight. In addition to the thousands of registered attendees at this year’s SXSW, there’s probably at least double that amount. This year, someone’s decided to reach out to these unaffiliated masses and create a support group dedicated to honoring this tradition and to help celebrate a theme they call “people over podiums”. If you happen to be one of these individuals who believe in this theme, then you are, by definition, part of the #badgeless2012 revolution.
#Badgeless2012 was started as a means of celebrating our individuality while also enjoying each other’s company and experience, while learning and partying from the community with some of the best music, best food, and events from around the world. Here in this temporary international hub of technology, chances are you’re going to meet someone new and get to share your thoughts about the latest trends, applications, and technology while being downloaded on what they find interesting. This sharing of ideas is what SXSW is meant to be about–#badgeless2012 looks to bring that out more by focusing more on the people who make up SXSW instead of the podiums on which they stand on and teach. According to their website, their goal is to learn from each other and self-organize.
In an opening post on the #badgeless2012 website, the organizers believe that this movement is:
…about the meritocracy of the new world, where you don’t have to have permission, money, postion or power to assemble, or to be a part of a community of common interests and common goals. Just as we did with Web2point1, the point is people. And people with social media tools can do a lot, drastically changing the veyr foundations on which our socioeconomic world view is formed.
Started by Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer, #badgeless2012 is not meant to dissuade people from attending SXSW–he still thinks that there’s some merit to attending, but he believes that it’s an acknowledgement of the “alternative and of our freedom to associate and assemble”. Maybe they’re trying to explore the rationale for why so many people are staying in Austin during this five-day period of interactive but aren’t actually purchasing a badge. This movement seems to want to strive to continue the SXSW experience, but without resorting to paying exorbitant registration fees or lack of hotel rooms, etc. In a sense, one might think that the theme of “people over podiums” somehow fits with the Social Media Club because both are about sharing of ideas and its only fitting to be associated with this organization (disclosure: I’m a professional member).
So if you’re going to be at SXSW this weekend and are representing the #badgeless2012 community, it’ll be great to see you. Mr. Heuer and the Social Media Club are creating #badgeless2012 t-shirts that you can purchase and wear proudly while in Austin (and wherever else you are). If you find Mr. Heuer around or stop by the IBM booth in the Austin Convention Center, you might be able to pick one up. T-shirts are also available on Cafe Press. Please note that all proceeds will go to support the Social Media Club and their fundraising drive.
See you in Austin!