Is it just me, or was South by Southwest (SXSW) an entirely different animal this year?

According to Indiana by SXSW, 112 Hoosiers trekked out to Austin, Texas this year for SXSW—the annual convergence of artists and tech weirdos. Thousands of others from the Midwest also caravanned and jetsetted their way down south to pitch their startups, connect with industry phenoms, and fill up with ideas and inspiring experiences.

For the third time, I was one of those weirdos, but from day one I could tell things were going to go a little differently this year.

An immediate Austin monsoon had 40,000 tech conference attendees feeling South by South wet. And by the end of night two, thoroughly dampened clothes more than filled my extra bag (which I had planned to use for all of the sweet startup tees that I look forward to bringing back from SXSW each year).

But it wasn’t until the sun showed its face that Southby-ers really came out to play. Luckily, our cameras caught SXSW in full bloom. Here’s a peek at some of the energy that fed SXSW 2012 (as told through the startup SWAG that wrapped nearly every tech geek in Austin):

This video got me thinking about our startups here in the Midwest and the pride that we take in wearing our favorite startup tees. What does it mean does it mean to you when you wear your startup shirts?