I’ve been at South by Southwest, which is back in person for the first time since 2019. This is my first time going to the tech and arts festival in Austin, Tex., but longtime attendees tell me the conference isn’t as packed as usual. There’s less hustle and bustle at events and in hotel lobbies, and companies are putting on fewer pop-ups on Austin’s historic Rainey Street. Still, there’s an excitement in the air around networking in person again, with some panels at capacity and long lines wrapping around the block for certain events.
One of the first things I did was attend the Saturday evening screening of “Under the Influence,” a documentary directed by longtime YouTuber Casey Neistat about the rise, fall and attempted comeback of David Dobrik, one of the video-sharing platform’s most recognizable stars. The auditorium was full, and at least a dozen people, ranging from 20-somethings to seniors, lined up to ask Neistat questions at the end of the film.