His presence at a conference in Memphis even forced FedEx to pull its sponsorship, and he wasn't the only member of the West Memphis Three to show up.
"The only thing I had in there was a TV, and I probably didn't turn it off for a decade," Echols said.
Damien Echols spoke at an entrepreneurship conference about how technology has changed in the 18 years he was behind bars, more than half of it on death row.
"One thing I was fiercely fixated was on the news. I watched news coverage non stop," he says.
He watched wrestling, too.
Echols said it was tough getting out in 2011 and venturing into a new world.
A fight on the subway didn't faze him, he'd seen that, but the grocery store was another matter.
"If you go into a grocery store and see the little box on the side of the conveyor belt you run your card through to pay for groceries. I'd never seen anything like that," he said.
Echols, an author, was told to use Twitter to promote his books.
"I heard people make reference to it but I didn't know what that was," he says.
As Echols spoke, someone he had not seen since his release was listening in the audience.
Jessie Misskelley, who was convicted along with Echols and Jason Baldwin, hugged Echols outside the room.
Misskelley had one of Echols' books and got it signed. The message was a symbol Misskelley did not understand.
"I talked with him, took pictures with him and everything," Misskelley says. "It was great."
Misskelley says he too does not understand a lot in this new world.
"I ain't used to nothing yet. I'm still trying to learn," he says.
Jessie Misskelley has stayed away from the public eye since his release, saying he is not interested in talking in public or writing a book.
He still lives in West Memphis.