I know who won #SxSW – because they forced it on me

I have diligently (ok not fully diligently since that is what smart filtering is for) followed the feeds, news and tweets for SxSW the past few days.  I was hoping to glean more information from the conference than just two things:

  1. location service wars
  2. privacy statements

Yes, they are both important items, but I feel that the press is forcing me to believe that location services are the big news.  ReadWriteWeb(with over 30 articles on location at SxSW) tried to break the news on CheckIn, (from the makers of Brightkite) to no avail.  Humorously I wrote about this very idea Saturday before seeing the article they wrote.

What I have gathered from all of the news is the sheer madness in the number of checkins, the number of friend requests and the limited consumer side usability of the data. Sites like Vicarious.ly perform a Google mashup of checkins overlayed on the map in Austin.  In about 10 minutes you can’t see the city blocks through all the checkin icons popping up.  Great, people are tweeting like mad and checking in wherever they walk.  What does it do for me?  Will the forthcoming firehouse approach to all this location data give me anything more than a headache?

Should we fall into the trap of helping predict a winner from all of the great, and varied, location services out there?  Do we trust badges? Events? More locations? Games? Better descriptors? More friends that are also users?  I don’t quite know where to begin on any of these options.

With the hundreds of panels down there, where the heck is the rest of the news?