SXSWi party scene: Go here. No, go here

The problem when geeks take over a city is that they'll Twitter the living daylights out of you to tell you to hang out with them. Plus: A surprise appearance by Jeff Bezos.

AUSTIN, Texas--Despite having plenty of blogging work still to do on Friday night, I decided to check out some of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival's notorious after-hours scene. Man, it's enough to give anyone a headache long before the aftereffects of the free drinks set in the next morning.

Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos (center) in a photo op with Mashable's Tamar Weinberg (left) and PaidContent's Joseph Weisenthal Caroline McCarthy/CNET News.com

Friday night promised to be the least party-heavy night of the week, with only one "official" party on the books: PR firm Porter Novelli's happy hour at the massive bar called Six Lounge. Probably because of the lack of other SXSWi parties, the line outside the door at Six soon stretched round the block and satellite soirees popped up at several other bars, like the zillion-beers-on-tap Ginger Man down the street. Nevertheless, the onslaught of Twitters and text messages saying that everyone should hit up a certain bar--or even more specifically, a certain floor of a certain bar--got really, really nuts. And if you left one bar for the next only to decide to go back, you had to hop back in line.

But the company was worth keeping. The most unexpected socializer of the night was arguably Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, who said he wasn't in town to host a panel or make a high-profile appearance at SXSWi--he was just around to socialize and talk to people, which everyone seemed to think was pretty darn cool, and was also an effective strategy in convincing bloggers that it would be rude to ask him prying questions about Amazon.

Blog entrepreneurs and perpetual Valleywag gossip targets Pete Cashmore and Robert Scoble. Caroline McCarthy

Spotted at either Ginger Man or Six: uber-blogger Robert Scoble, Digg founder Kevin Rose (who told me in jest that his company doesn't have a buyer but is up for sale on eBay), WineLibrary.tv host Gary Vaynerchuk, PaidContent blogger Joseph Weisenthal, Gawker's Nick Douglas, AllFacebook's Nick O'Neill, Pownce co-founder Leah Culver, and a whole crew from social-networking blog Mashable, whose founder Pete Cashmore was passing out business cards and swag rather than dancing this time.

At least thus far, it appears that Twitter is the new Twitter . The microblogging service managed to hold up in the wake of Friday night's SXSWi activity, and was getting used nonstop across the board. But Saturday night's parties will be about an order of magnitude bigger, so we'll have to see if it manages to survive another evening out.

See more stories in CNET News.com's coverage of SXSWi (click here).

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Tech Culture
About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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