Saturday, March 19, 2011

Silicone Bitch: Not SXSW March Madness

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

Wordcamp Miami 2011
Eager hands at WordCamp Miami. Photo by Alexdesigns via Flickr.

It's a long story on why I didn't go to SXSW earlier this month, and it's a story I'm not particularly happy about, so we shall have no coverage for you of the biggest social media circle jerk of the year. However, Silicone Bitch kept a watchful eye on the local social media and blogging scene, as usual. Somebody had to stay home and take care of the chickens. April will be the one-year anniversary of this column!


Yet we must mention this: what happens when you put a bunch of geeks on a bus, forced to brainstorm great ideas in a span of 48 hours? This, my friends, is what a bunch of geeks did on their way to SXSW this year. Spearheaded in part by West Palm Beach-based Marc Kaplan (@sflsocialgeeks), Startup Bus Miami was one of six buses vying to win a national competition.

Other buses made their way to Austin from San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Cleveland and Chicago. Ironically, though, the bus itself wasn't filled exclusively with Floridian passengers -- only a handful from Southeast Florida and Tampa, with others joining in from Louisiana and Atlanta.

Thirty five geeks worked hard to come up with seven pitches. The one that made it to the finals --, an "anti-social" network -- didn't win the competition, unfortunately.

Startup Bus Miami will have another incarnation next year. "I'd like to see more local people participating next year," said Kaplan over a phone interview. "Let's show them that Florida is a force to contend with."

Yes. We're Silicon Beach, after all.


  • WordCamp Miami was a smashing success this year. Over 300 people showed up to learn everything from blogging basics to developer tricks. Anyone interested in blogging should attend this event in 2012. If you couldn't make it this year, there's still much to learn from the videos and presentations page. You'll find my Blogging 101 slide there, too.
  • Never doubt the power of social media and online communities. Over at Miami Beach 411, we helped nab an alleged craigslist scammer (aka Monica Brown) just by doing some basic gumshoe work inspired by a forum thread warning would-be South Beach residents about roommate and rental shenanigans.
  • The second annual Sun Sentinel "Best of Blogs" Award is currently accepting nominations. I wish they would curate this competition so it doesn't become one big social media popularity contest. We already learned that lesson over at South Florida Daily Blog, where a panel of of devoted bloggers and readers oversees the process now.


  • My friend @kimcelenza is helping organize an ULTRA music event called Cirque du Pool for March 26. That's not normally my scene, but it seems like a good deal, so I'm giving them a little love here. $100 VIP tickets get you in with bottomless champagne on the rooftop, corner of 5th and Ocean Drive. South Beach's wildest "seen and be seen" corner will be buzzing with the sounds of groovy DJs like Ralph Falcon. Soul of Miami has all the details and links.
  • Save the date for sometime in the doldrums of summer -- possibly July, maybe August. SxSe (South By Southeast), Southeast Florida's best and brightest old-school tweetup, will take place somewhere in the Florida Keys. We're courting several properties down there to see who will have us and give us the best deals.

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