We’ve shared some of the panels, sessions, and keynotes that we’re excited about, but there’s so much more to SXSW than official events. As promised, here is Part 2 of our guide. (You can read Part 1 right here.)
Prepare For All Kinds of Weather.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all sunshine in Texas. Expect rain, ice, sleet, sunshine, wind, and humidity. I’m not exaggerating. Weather in Texas this time of year is manic. One moment, we’ll have beautiful spring weather, and the next an arctic front moves in, and a freeze shuts down the town. If nothing else, at least bring a waterproof jacket. March is one of our rainiest months.
Plan Your Schedule!
If you think you can show up to SXSW and just wing it, you’ll be missing out on a lot of stuff. While it’s hard to narrow down what exactly you want to see, it’s good to at least pick 2-3 sessions you’d like to attend for each day.
Manage Your Schedule on SXSocial or the SXSW Go App.
I personally prefer the desktop version, but I have the app on the phone anyway.
Share Your Calendar.
On your SXSocial account, “enable Schedule Sharing and iCalendar Feed” to import your calendar into Outlook, Google Calendar, or whatever app you use. You can also send the link to your friends and coworkers. Last year I created a folder on my iPhone home screen where I saved everyone’s schedules. It’s just so much easier than texting and emailing everyone over and over again. (See my note below about dead zones downtown.)
Add Events To You Passbook.
Don’t print out your RSVP confirmations. iOS users can save Eventbrite RSVPs on the Passbook app. Download the Eventbrite app, too. When you receive your email confirmation for an event, you’ll see an option to “Add to Passbook”.
Bring Your Chargers.
Downtown Austin has a lot of dead zones, so if your phone is roaming, the battery will drain much faster. You’ll see rows of people huddled around outlets throughout the convention center hallways. I personally have my own portable charger to keep me going until I find a place to plug in. I wouldn’t want to miss anything because I’m waiting for my devices to charge.
Twitter is a great resource for real-time event updates. Last year, during a torrential downpour, I searched Twitter to find out which parties were cancelled, postponed, had a place to take cover, and more. I tweeted at random strangers and got responses almost immediately. Also, every session/panel/keynote has its own hashtag, so it’s fun to read what people are sharing during and after the event. Plus, it’s also a fun way to make new friends.
Turn to the person next to you, and start a conversation. You never know what may come from a 5-minute chat. (Speaking of socializing, we’re hosting a happy hour roundtable discussion on Thursday, March 12th. Request an invite here.)