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SXSWers Bail on Twitter Keynote

By R. Stickney
|  Monday, Mar 15, 2010  |  Updated 7:28 PM CDT
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SXSW Scene: Music, Film, Tech

Joi Ito

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams won't feel safe online any time soon.

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In minutes, the South by Southwest keynote speech by Twitter CEO Evan Williams went from jam-packed to nearly empty. The difference was so startling that the number of people who bailed lightened the load on AT&T's much-derided network -- those left behind were getting better service on their iPhones.

Instead of a line to get into the much-anticipated discussion with Williams, there was a line to leave the panel room.

One person on Twitter, @burtherman, even joked “seems there’s even a @foursquare checkin location now for people leaving the @ev keynote.”

Many blamed the interviewer, Havas Media Lab director Umair Haque, and the pace of the discussion – too slow, boring, slow pace, etc.

However CNET believes it’s because Williams announced the news everyone was waiting to hear -- the @anywhere platform – right at the outset of the talk.

Local blogger Jennifer Van Grove, who is in Austin covering SXSW for NBCSanDiego, felt even @anywhere was presented in a dry way. The news, which Van Grove said felt glossed over, was rushed by Williams. She said he seemed a little too nonchalant about the announcement.

Listening in on the conversation while someone behind her snored, Van Grove said there was a general sense in the audience of "why am I here?"

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