There seems to be a few events each year that go a bit overboard. One where no matter where you are in the social media swim you hear about it. Right now we are building up to that with SXSW in Austin, TX.
This mega conference has been building up lots of steam as each year passes. From the music to the movies to the internet, it can interest nearly everyone. It is long too, as It starts on March 13 on a Friday afternoon and doesn’t end until 10 days later on March 22.
For my part, I am going for personal an work. Since both of are in the internet business, I can’t wait to launch into the conference frenzy. I must say that conferences by internet and social media geeks is like no other I have been to. There are so many back channels, methods of communication, product releases, start-ups, and money being tossed around it can make you lose all sense of normalcy.
This being my third go round at internet/social media revelry, I am determined to take it easy. I’m gonna attend some choice sessions, talk to some fun folk, and then soak in the learning. In the past, it is just go-go-go. This year I want to take it back a notch. Not sure if this is possible.
Especially as SXSW Interactive where there over 180 sessions…during the day! Not to mention all of the other events throughout the evening and night. This is going to be sensory overload and especially since this is my first SXSW, making me a SWirgin. I think I have a few cards up my sleeve to help me out here.
First, I have been pre-thinking about what I want to learn. Most of my top themes relate to web design and new tools. Although, some relate to mobility, best practices in production, and a few “hot new things”. Having this list in mind should help me to sift through the multitude.
Second, the echo chamber is in full effect. Not that I’m saying its a bad thing, in fact I value the echo chamber. Just not when I’m flying so far to learn. In Austin, I am looking to learn and so I will skip all the also-ran, heard it all before presentations (marketing in new media, how to establish your brand, just what is new media).
Third, hey if you hang around long enough you can figure out who the cool kids are. In this case, I’m talking about the brilliant, always engaging, knock your socks off folks. Check out my short list below for some of them.
Fourth, and final, I am a pro. I am really. I am rolling in with an MacBook Air, an iPhone tweaked for the conference, light weight backpack with necessary dongles and such, and finally a smart mentality. The mobility of the MBA and iPhone is essential for tight spaces, long days, and maximum efficiency. The smart mentality means skipping the bad food, stupid handouts, and even worse middle-of-the-hall sales pitch. It is essential to leave yourself enough energy for the night-time in your new city and avoiding the death by vendor attack.
That’s it, time to get some rest before my early flight, but first here are some hot tips:
SXSW Interactice – list of sessions
SXSW Scheduling tool
Alltop SXSW news
Change v2 – Lawrence Lessig
Obama has awoken a once in a century passion for reform. What will it take to make it work? What would “work” mean?
Using GPS & Location to Enhance Social Networking – Panel (twttr, brightkite, garmin…)
First there were social networks, and then there were location-based social networks, and now GPS and navigation-enhanced mobile social networks. This panel will explore how these emerging platforms integrate with existing social networks (facebook, twitter, etc), leverage GPS navigation functionality, and take location-aware social networking to the next level.
Buzz Out Loud Podcast Taping – Natali, Tom, and Jason
Buzz Out Loud is CNET’s premiere daily podcast hosted by Natali Del Conte, Tom Merritt, and Jason Howell. They cover all the tech news with their own and their audience’s takes on what it all means, often with hilarity ensuing. They’ll cover the top SXSW stories with special guests. If you want to understand what’s happening in the tech world, especially at SXSW, you need to listen to Buzz Out Loud.
At the conference this year, I am going to be testing out all that the iPhone can offer. To include the WordPress iPhone app for live blogging. Photos uploaded on-the-spot. Twitter streaming SMS to my phone. Google Alerts and Yahoo listservs to my gmail inbox. Hopefully, a whole lot of location based community building for meet-ups, spontaneous get togethers, and a little where the heck is everyone (not sure how this will work out…). Just wish I could record some vids on the phone…