Is SXSW’s Technology Festival Too Big to Be Truly Interactive?

Some South by Southwest Interactive participants say the event has become more of a celebrity affair than a technology conference.
Sun March 2, 2014 2:30 pm
Nicki Longoria
The 21st annual South by Southwest Interactive Conference, which starts Friday in Austin, is on track to be the most popular edition yet of the technology ­oriented festival. More than 30,000 people are expected to descend upon Austin for five days of panels, parties and trade demonstrations. Attendance has nearly tripled since 2009.
 
For a conference known for attracting prominent names — the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave a rare onstage interview in 2008 — this year offers arguably the conference’s biggest coup: On Saturday, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, will be interviewed by satellite from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he is living in exile. Yet for as much

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