View more photos in the SXSW Parties: Bigg Digg Shindigg + Driskill Flashmob slideshow
After spending long afternoon holed up in the Hilton lobby getting our blog on, LAWeekly.com decided to hit the streets of Austin to find out where industry geeks blow off steam after a long day of paneling, launching, and updating their statuses. Like always, we tried to keep our options open but we knew that we couldn't miss the Digg.com/Revision3 party at Stubb's BBQ. Our iPhones were bleeting off the hook with pings, texts, and tweets imploring us to get to the Wavy Gravy Party at Maggie Mae's, the IFC party at 8th and Colorado, the Frog Design Fete and the Pure Volume Party.
We decided to start our adventure at the Bigg Digg Shindigg and make our way from there. The Digg party was held outdoors at Stubb's BBQ off Red River St. and (prior to our arrival) was jam packed with “a lot of people you didn't recognize,” according to Austin local Vicki Martinez who was adamant about how great a time she had. People lined up five hours before the event in order to see bands like the Republic Tigers and DJ Mancub – the crowd spanned four blocks around the damp Austin street. Unfortunately we let our grumbling stomachs get the best of us and stepped out to buy a quick slice of pizza (not realizing that live.com had set up a truck giving them away for free). By the time we had returned to Stubb's to meet up with the lovely Aubrey Sabala of Digg, the party was over.
We rolled up our sleeves, strapped on our camera bags and hightailed it to the next destination on our iPhone's agenda – the IFC party, which apparently had an open bar unlike the Bigg Digg Shindigg (which remarkably still managed to attract 2000 people). We got rerouted on our way there, however, by the rising crescendo of texts that basically all said the same thing: “I'm at the Driskill.” One look through my Twitteriffic and I realized why the Twitterati had changed their course all of a sudden:
From Brian Solis' Twitter to Austin's Collective Ear (the tweet that launched a thousand twitpics).
Organized by Erica O'Grady, Jeremiah Owyang, and Human Flashmob Brian Solis, the Driskill tweet-up inspired such a critical mass of texting that finally we gave up on trying to track down all the hyper-organized events on our slower than molasses smartphones (hint: if your iPhone is crashing due to the SXSW ping overload, turn off the 3G and try the regular ATT network; it usually runs faster) and got ourselves to the Driskill. Built in 1886 for a Texas land baron, the opulent bar area is a blast from Texas' decadent past replete with stained glass windows and bronze sculptures of cowboys; thankfully I was able to glam myself up from with emerald “social media” vintage jewelery provided by @macala and 1928 jewelry.
The spontaneous gathering at the elegant bar was filled with Interactive's best and brightest and I had many an interesting conversation with several of the people who had been featured at the conference panels earlier, including the star of Saturday's line-up, Facebook's Dave Morin as well as Mr. Digg himself, Kevin Rose. When asked for his expert tips on surviving the party whirlwind that is SXSW, Rose thoughtfully gave me the following sage advice, “Commit yourself to a given party for an hour, then hop to the next one.” These were wise words from the king of viral get-togethers and very aptly explained why every star in the tech constellation found itself in a hotel bar at 2:30 a.m. drinking Manhattans and lounging on the Cowhide couches (ahem, Julia Allison).
Ultimately we went here, we went there, we went everywhere, but in the end there's no place like home, or in this case, a hotel.