Tribal without Tattoos


The Bingo! Parlour will be one of the more unusual venues during the Voodoo Music Experience. In addition to hosting performances by Down, Fischerspooner, the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?, it will be the site for TribeCon—a national tech conference for people interested in turning social networking into offline activity.

On Thursday, October 29—the day before Voodoo—the conference will start with a program that includes speakers Tara Hunt, Micah Baldwin—creator of Twitter’s #FollowFriday—and Tom Martin, president of Zehnder Communication. The day will end with an exclusive concert, and on Friday morning, an artist-to-be-named will speak on the role of social media in his/her professional life. TribeCon is a direct byproduct of the sort of grassroots activity the conference hopes to facilitate.

According to Chris Schultz, one of the organizers, it emerged from the local group Net2NO’s trip to South by Southwest for its interactive conference. “We were doing the work of GNO Inc. and the Downtown Development District sharing the digital media incentives in Louisiana, but in a grassroots way,” he says.

The focus is on building communities—hence the conference’s name—and Schultz contends that the mechanics are in place to have online relationships live beyond the Web. “As much as the online tools are out there right now, they exist to extend your ability to have offline relationships and real, significant interaction,” he says. “This is not a conference of virtual worlds and Second Life. We have a panel made up of ‘digital nomads,’ people who are freelancers, creative professionals, writers, bloggers. They can live all over the world because they need a laptop and a wi-fi connection to work. Whether for couch-surfing or a genuine interaction or a job, they go from place to place building these relationship-based online tools but seeking offline connections.”

For details and to register, go to