Letter From New York, March 7, 2011

Letter From New York

March 7, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

Long ago, in the distant galaxy that was my high school years, I enacted a character in THE BIRDS, a play by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, a comedy.  The first line of which was:  Here we are, ready and willing to go the birds, and we can’t even find the way!  It was about two men off on a hunt for knowledge — and power.

And that’s a bit like what I am about to do, go off on a hunt for knowledge – and I suppose power if one accepts that knowledge is power.  Greg Nelson, who works with me at Odyssey Networks and has been fondly called by one Odyssey member “Inspector Gadget”, are about to depart for the South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Festival, an annual rite of the digirati for the last several years when SXSW [as it is commonly known] began to become not just a place for those who had films to show or music to be listened to but also a place where the newest digital adventures were announced, and you could find the hottest software, the coolest sites, the breaking edge.

Our technical partner in our Call on Faith mobile app, GoTV, is going to be present and I know that many others are.  Video serving solution Kaltura, who is working with Odyssey, will be there as will Snag Films, which runs a website that features non-fiction films and has a section devoted to Religion and Spirituality.  Odyssey has provided them with some short form and will be giving them, too, some long form that will be featured.

Jeffrey Cole will be there.  Jeff runs the Digital Center for the Future at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications.  Here’s from the announcement made when Jeff moved to USC from UCLA:

“At UCLA and now at USC Annenberg, Cole founded and directs the World Internet Project, a long-term longitudinal look at the effects of computer and Internet technology on all aspects of society, which is conducted in over 20 countries. At the announcement of the project in June 1999, Vice President Al Gore praised Cole as a “true visionary providing the public with information on how to understand the impact of media.”

And I luckily know Jeff [and his wife Suzanne].  Jeff and I helped produced the Superhighway Summit at UCLA with Vice President Gore back in 1994 and have remained friends since.  His insights into the future are amazing.  He spoke, by the way, at last year’s RCC Conference in Chicago.  We’re planning on having dinner on Friday evening.

The array of events is absolutely dizzying.  Each day has somewhere between thirty and forty programs and I will have to in the next few days pick which ones I’ll be attending.

What will I be doing there?  Well, based on the fact I’ve been an active blogger for the last oh too many years, and that I am working with Odyssey, the kind folks from SXSW have given Greg and I press credentials so I will be actively blogging from there.  I’ll tweet too!  And Greg is going to have a camera and will be showing some of the sites of SXSW and there may be a little of me doing video blogs.  That one is a little scary to me.

But I am looking forward to it – SXSW has become one of the fertile places for finding out what is happening in the digital universe.  To get behind the scenes is going to be fun for me.  And hopefully for you, if you feel like following our adventures at www.odysseynetworks.org.  There’s going to be a page devoted to our blogs and I’ll be posting as often as I can.

And if there is anything you’d like me to look out for, please let me know.  I’ll see if I can find out.  Just ping me at mtombers@odysseynetworks.org.

Here we are ready and willing to go the birds, but unlike the hapless guys in THE BIRDS, Greg and I know where we’re going.




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