I’m going to sxsw interactive — and am a bit overwhelmed

I’m going to sxsw — and am a bit overwhelmed: Like last year, next weekend (through Tuesday) I’ll be attending the interactive part of South by Southwest (or, as those roman numeral-loving kids call it, SXSW XX). While the event is informal and unpretentious (even the “superstar” panelists appreciate how much smarter the folks in the audience are), the size of the event has grown so that it can be somewhat overwhelming for those, like me, who are “on our own.” I’m on no panels — I attend for the conversations. (Actually, I’m not technically on my own, as Austin-based Hammock Publishing’s Summer and her husband, Cole, have volunteered to once again take me on my annual trek to one of the area’s famed eating establishments. And now that I’ve learned they’ve added a Beta festival related to gaming this year, I’m thinking of recruiting the 15-year-old in my household to accompany me.)

The SXSW folks do a lot to foster community before and during the event (they’ve got some great web-based pre-conference schedule and networking tools on their website) and I found last year that Flickr and Technorati tagging helped to connect me with folks who I knew only through blogs.

However, with the size of the crowd growing from large to massive, I’m getting a bit overwhelmed with how to go about meeting up with folks in a way other than serendipitously — which is my usual approach. Any suggestions for someone who, despite attending the conference last year, still feels like a complete sxsw interactive newbie?

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  • Cole

    Looking forward to having you again, Rex. And I’m sure we wouldn’t have to twist the 15-yr. old’s arm too hard to get him to take a trip out to the Salt Lick with us.

  • lewis pennock

    if you’re looking for something to do, go say hi to my 95 year old grandmother. she’s been living in the same house on avenue G and 38th for about 60 years now, and when i recently told her i had friends who were buying houses near zilker park, just on the other side of town lake from the capitol, she told me how that area of town reminds her of her single days in austin, you know, back in the 30s, and she talked about it like it was yesterday.

  • lcreekmo

    As excited as I am to be out of the country next week, I am BUMMED to not be going to SXSW. 🙁

  • Cole

    Well, we’ll certainly miss you Laura. But I’m sure you’ll have WAY more fun where you’re going next week! Now you’ll just have to work on the boss man to find another reason to head this way.

    Oh yeah…congrats!! 🙂