SxSW Conference: Top 5 Photos & Social Media Thoughts

March 24, 2009 Katja Presnal

I have been meaning to write about my SxSW experience and all of the people I met. But instead I am posting Top 5 photos from SxSW with some of my thoughts on how to navigate the big sea of social media.

1. Set Your Priorities Right


Pregnant & Beautiful, Cherishing the Moment. Pictured: Alyssa Francis

Many of us emerged into the world of social media love what we do, and one of the most asked question the digital moms ask is “how do we balance it all” with our families and our work. Set your priorities right, and take care first what really matters in life. The rest of it? Peanuts. Embrace those moments in your life that you’ll never get back, it’s ok to take a day off, or even a week off – we are all here waiting for you.

I love that when we were at SXSW John Andrews of Walmart showed Alyssa and me this beautiful location to take a few photos of Alyssa and her baby bump. Because moments and pictures like this… they need to be cherished when possible. Everything else can wait. Even in the social media world, where everyone is waiting for the instant gratification.

2. Be Patient


Patiently waiting. Dog at the Kirtsy/Alltop Party.

Money. Money. Money. Must be Funny. It’s the Rich Man’s World.
Everyone wants to monetize, monetize, monetize – while being authentic, organic and transparent. Right?

Yes, take the paid opportunity to write about dolphins, if you love dolphins, but don’t feel like you need to take every opportunity to make money only for the money’s sake. If you are not real, it will show through. Be patient – you will get more opportunities to make money with what you love, but stay focused and stick with what you love. Gary Vaynerchuk wasn’t an overnight success, why do you think you would be?

And go and read again Nro 1. Prioritize – is money really the most important thing for you, or is it just a cherry on the top?

3. There Is Your Truth, My Truth and The Real Truth


Someone’s sunny is someone’s crummy.

Someone sent me a message asking “How was SXSW? I heard the weather was bad” and it made me think of how people see things differently, and how “truth” can be something totally different to different people. I thought the weather was amazing in Austin, but then again, it was in the 30s when I left New York. Someone else’s expectations were probably much different from mine.

Sometimes it doesn’t really even matter what the real truth is, if people see things their way and think their “truth” is the only truth. It is just something we need to get used to it. Life is rarely black and white, and neither is social media.

There are three truths: your truth, my truth and the real truth, all of them different. This is the biggest difficulty and at the same time the biggest advantage of social media and citizen journalism.

We just need to stay true to ourselves.

4. Give Boot to Old Ideas and Be Creative


Cowboy boots turned into a flower vase at the Kirtsy/Alltop party.

Do I really have to elaborate this one? I didn’t think so.

5. Play With The Cards You Have.


Sometimes you might have the right hand without even knowing it.

It is too easy to compare yourself to someone bigger and better and more successful and start feeling the blues. Don’t do it! Don’t compare yourself to the others, and more importantly don’t try to be like others. Yes, have mentors, and idols, and people you look up to, who can be your role models.. But the key to success is not trying to be like them. The key to success is being you, being unique, offering something others don’t have.

Set your own goals and define your success – there is no one way of doing things, create your own path. And remember to look back and give a pat on your back when you have taken steps towards your goals.

If you want to see photos of people I met at SxSW, check out my Facebook page.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (11)

  1. Katja, you have a way of simplifying your thoughts that makes even the most complex ideas make so much sense! I can honestly say that, for me, SxSW wouldn’t have been as rich an experience without you around. You are such an inspiration for me, not to mention your awesome photos make me want to go out and get a camera. Right. Now. :)

  2. I agree with Melanie. I think this is so true in our little blog world. It’s so easy to be impressed with what others are doing, and I have to keep reminding myself to be ME! :-)

    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love this post and couldn’t agree more on all of those things! I really love that picture of Alyssa- what a beautiful location to take photos. Stunning!! I have decided it is time to upgrade my camera now ;)

  4. Ah, Katja…yes, my friend, you continue to “be” exactly who I thought you were (which is a compliment, in case there’s a chance of doubt!!). I share your perspective and you’ve summarized this well. Plus, the pictures are yummy icing on the cake of your thoughts.

    Well said, friend…:)

  5. This is really great advice – thank you. Staying true to yourself – your goals, I need to remember that always, otherwise it is all for nothing, really.

    Love the pic of the sky.

  6. Hi Katja,

    What a great post – I did not come to SXSW, but I met you at SocComm…
    You know, as I struggle this week to get work done while my nanny is away – your post is just perfectly timed. Thank you for the sensibility in your post – as career people it is so easy to get overwhelmed with work – but I am so much happier when I “embrace the moments”.

    Take care!

  7. Awesome post (and pictures!) Katja.

    I laughed about the “bad weather” too… not because it was better than Denver’s when I left, but because it wasn’t the downpour I’d been told repeatedly to expect! What’s a little cold when you aren’t being subjected to torrential rain? :)

    Can’t wait to see you again!

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