#SXSW 2014: Social Survival Guide

February 18, 2014


With SXSW just around the corner, we’re starting to think about the important apps, networks and other tools we’ll be using throughout the festival. With so many great sessions lined up and countless other events taking place around Austin, it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on each day.  And while we’re planning to use a range of different channels to keep up with the big trends, things can get complicated when figuring out how to share all the awesome content you’re capturing while there, choosing what to share, what platforms to share it on, and why.


As a SXSW newbie, I’m excited to join our team at the FH black box Lounge in just a few weeks! To get ready, check out my play-by-play guide on how I plan to use my favorite social channels to survive my first SXSW.

  • Twitter: Probably the easiest and most useful real-time tool, I plan to follow specific hashtags like #SXSW and #FHblackbox to see what people are buzzing about in real-time. Using the trends feature, I’ll also find out what’s trending throughout the festival overall. My pro tip? I’ll change my trends setting to “Austin, TX” to make sure I can keep track of the most up-to-date local topics.
  • LinkedIn: In addition to making connections with the countless interesting people who’ll be joining us at SXSW, LinkedIn has become another go-to for deeper dives in content from brands, influencers and other industry players. I’ll be using LinkedIn mostly as my digital rolodex while at the conference, but digging into recaps from my favorite new and existing connections will be interesting when I return home from Austin as well.
  • Facebook & Eventbrite: Both are my go-to’s for event RSVPs & reminders. It’s common for brands and companies hosting events at SXSW to post special invites on their Facebook timelines, so make sure to “Like” the ones on your wish list before you head to Texas and keep an eye out while you’re there.
  • Instagram: I’ll be sharing special moments that only an over-filtered-photo could do justice! Whether I’m at a session, trying a new gadget, running into a digital pioneer or meeting celebrity speaker Mindy Kaling, I’ll use Instagram to capture visual highlights throughout the day. 
  • Flickr: Got a ton of photos to share? I know I will be snapping away. Flickr will make it easy to create galleries and share them across my other social channels, especially with my on-the-ground team and my (sad) team back home!
  • Vine: I’m excited for the nightly music acts at SXSW this year, which are big draws, even during the interactive and film portions of the conference. I’m planning to capture my all my favorite in 6 second clips using Vine.
  • Pinterest: If you’re creating a cool infographic (could be on the most random thing like how many taxis versus bikes were used at SXSW or how many times people tweeted about “Mexican food” while in town), there are lots of infographic boards on Pinterest that people love to check out and share. Your infographic could finally go viral; good luck with that.
  • GroupMe: Speaking of events, meeting up with the team and friends can get complicated among the crowds. I’ve found GroupMe the ideal replacement for regular texts to make sure I can keep a flowing chat going with my SXSW clique.
  • PayPal: I asked my friends who have been to SXSW what the worst thing about the festival might be, everyone told me that for them, it was the big crowds and long lines. To prepare, I’m planning to use PayPal’s app to pay for things right from my smartphone, which makes transactions faster.

So, there you have it. SXSW thrives on the latest and greatest innovation and technology, and I look forward to discovering new social apps and platforms that are here to stay and make life a bit easier. And let’s face it, you can’t be everywhere at the same time, so take advantage of social apps and platforms to feel like you’re taking it all in without missing a thing.