South by SouthWest Interactive (SXSWi), possibly the hippest/coolest Web festival in North America (I attended the 2008 edition), just published the list of potential panels and presentations for its 2009 edition. As some of you might know, a large chunk (30%) of the programming for the festival is user-generated. People submit conference ideas (they had until July 11) and anyone can now vote on their favorite conference proposals using the panel picker. 1209 panels are listed there.
Flickr photo by Darkstream
Wondering how many were proposing to talk about local, I did a search and lo and behold, none have the keywords “local search” in their title (or description for that matter) and only 6 have the keyword “local” in their title. Only 4 could truly be considered local search-oriented. They are:
From Global to Mobile: What’s Next in Local, Contextual Search, Don Turnbull, University of Texas at Austin
E-Commerce: Cultivating Links Between Local Farmers and Consumers, Andrew Smiley, Sustainable Food Center
What it means: either local search is not sexy enough (I doubt it!) or most of us in the industry (except for Chris Tolles @ Topix) were sleeping at the wheel when came time to submit a proposal for a panel. If local search as an industry wants to be seen as relevant and exciting, we need to be present at SXSWi. Now that I think about it, I should have reached out to my all-star local search co-panelists (Peter K., Greg
Sterling, Perry Evans) assembled for the last Google Local Markets Symposium and maybe offer to debate the future of local search. That would have been a good panel.
Update: after writing this post, I got an e-mail from Vinicius Vacanti, founder of Yipit. It looks like his proposed panel ” The Local Search Solution: Context or Accuracy?” just appeared in the panel picker. So, there’s hope after all! Vote for it!