SXSW: Wow. That was quick.

I find it hard to believe that it was 5 days ago that walked into SXSW Interactive 2008 for the first time. After a whirlwind of activity, meeting a number of folks who are truly leading the industry, and consuming more than my fair share of barbecue, the interactive portion of SXSW is over.

If I had to pick one word to capture my experience at SXSW, it would have to be “community.” Not only due to the amount of time we spent learning, discussing, advancing, and re-evaluating community building and the aspects of social networking, but also due to the time the interactive community spent simply being a community, together.

For people who tend to spend the majority of their lives online, this event marks a homecoming, of sorts. A chance to see friends, both known and assumed. And a time to let loose and enjoy the pleasure of one another’s company beyond the warm glow of the computer screen.

The Portland contingent was no different, making time to meet each other for sessions, lunch, drinks, and parties. Activities that, somehow, we often seem too busy to accomplish at home.

I, for one, am already looking forward to next year.