Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , , ,| By
You’ve made the decision to go to SXSW interactive media conference starting this Friday in Austin, TX. Awesome, me too. Maybe you’ve never gone to SXSW or you could be just overwhelmed with the sheer volume of tweets, information, and people who are also attending. As a fellow HR Blogger and Social Recruiting personality who has attended SXSW in the past, here’s some advice on making the most of Austin and what is SXSW.
- Hash Tag Appropriately. SXSW as well as Austin for its social media prowess. Social media is not only accepted but encouraged. Popular hash tags for include #SXSW and #SXSWi (for interactive). Interactive sessions will have their own separate secondary hash tags to make following the stream easier so use those as well.
- Find Your Friends. Geolocation or texting are the two easiest ways to find out where your friends are. It’s also fun to see what social media celebrity is also at the venue you are attending. So Gowalla and Foursquare your heart out. Tweet and text away.
- When In Doubt, You’re Press. Last year my friends and I (Sarah White, Craig Fisher, Chris Hoyt, and myself) got into events as press that had hour or more wait lines. Walk up to VIP, hold out your flip camera or recording device, and tell them with confidence you’re the media. It works!
- Blogger Lounge is the Best. I think I spent more time at the Blogger’s Lounge than I did actual sessions. I had a blast meeting bloggers and social media folks who are known in our circle for tearing it up. It’s a great way to get some face time with Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, and even ProBlogger.
- Pace Yourself. SXSW is not a traditional conference so chances are you will not be attending a full schedule of sessions each day. I considered it a good day if I attended two sessions. Be selective, arrive early, and sit in the front. Being at a session is about information just as much as it is about being there.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes. SXSW, the venues, and the after parties are all within a 15 minute walk depending on where your hotel is located. Bring a light jacket as it gets chilly in the evenings and wear comfortable shoes. My feet thanked me when I opted to leave the stilettos at home.
SXSW is what I describe at Nerd Prom or Nerdcation. Great information, resources, conversations, and a 24 hour party. Develop a rough game plan, forge ahead, but be flexible and let this amazing conference and the people take you.
Here’s a look into my experience at last year’s SXSW: