SXSW 2015I just returned from South by Southwest, and I had such a great time. SXSW is a wonderful event. This was my seventh year attending and my sixth speaking. It’s always a pleasure.

The people behind the event do a great job. I must have interacted with 100 or more staff and volunteers during my week in Austin and the lead-up to it. They were all terrific. Fantastic attitudes. Everyone behind the scenes deserves a ton of credit. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s SXSW happen – and thank you for having me again.

During my time at the conference, I did a lot of things. I led a panel discussion. I attended a couple of sessions. I walked the trade show floor. I saw a few comedy shows. I went to some meetups and parties, as well as connecting with specific individuals. Much of it had to do with community work, and so I thought I’d post a recap of all of the community-related things I did at SXSW 2015.


On the day of my panel, I first went to Support Community Managers Unite!, a Core Conversation led by Bill Johnston and Laura Feeney. I’ve known Bill for many years, and he’s such a wonderful voice in our industry. Unfortunately, I had to leave after the first half of the session to get to the green room for my panel, but it was a fun 30 minutes.

How CNN and The New York Times Moderate Comments was an idea I began developing 9 months ago, with SXSW in mind. I explored the idea with an in-depth interview here. Like that interview, I assembled Bassey Etim of The New York Times and David Williams of CNN. As people, they are both kind and forthcoming. It was a fun panel and, based on the feedback we received, people liked it. Congrats to both Bassey and David on their first SXSW talk. They did a wonderful job.

Thank you for everyone who came out for the session. I believe the room capacity was 300 and we probably had at least 225. We are grateful for all of the kind tweets and everyone who came up afterward. I enjoyed chatting with Fei Bian Goh, David DeWald and many others.

Finally, I attended Influence: Future of Tech, Culture and Investing with Ryan Leslie and Dr. Paul Judge. While not strictly community, when Ryan speaks, it often touches on community. It was great to finally meet him in person after all of these years.

There were several more community sessions that I didn’t get to, as highlighted by CMX’s Carrie Jones.

SXSW Community Management Meet Up

Meet Ups

The official SXSW Community Management Meet Up was hosted by Audrey Lo of Gogobot. At the meet up, I reconnected with Jim Storer and met David Spinks in person for the first time. That gave me a chance to praise the work they’ve done for our industry. I also met Rebecca Alexander, Anthony Fischer, Sarah Creelman, Cheryl Rafuse, Nicole Gary, Katie Hughes, Alex Malave, Zennith Geisler, Jason Yarborough, Erin Cooper and Leah Grossman. Lots of great conversations.

Later the same day, David hosted a CMX meetup, which included some of the same faces, but also some new ones, like Josh Krakauer and Ashley Waxman.

Trade Show Floor

There were two community specific companies in the exhibit hall. was there to talk about their enterprise forum solution. Of course, seeing the word “forums,” I had to spent some time talking to them. They are a division of ProBoards, a service that you have almost certainly run into if you’ve been online for a long time. I talked with Tim Camara, Don Xavier Dolar and another gentleman.

Moderation company Crisp Thinking also had a booth, where I chatted briefly with Jimmie Berry.

More Community People

After years of connecting online in various ways, I was finally able to meet Tamara Littleton (CEO of eModeration and Polpeo) in person. I also met Kate Hartley, COO of Polpeo. I’ve interacted with a bunch of people at eModeration and Polpeo over the years, so it was nice to get together.

I also spent a lot of time with Sherrie Rohde of My Community Manager, as well as some combination of Jessica Malnik and Dom Garrett, all of whom were very kind and great company, from the Hootsuite House and Livefyre Fyrebash to late night piano bars.


If I mentioned you in this post, or if I made a mistake and forgot to include a friendly face I connected with, I’d like to thank you for your kindness. You made SXSW special.