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Adventures of a SXSW Virgin

So, I’m poppin’ my SXSW cherry this year as I head off to the Interactive part of the festival tomorrow. Since it’s my first time, I chose sessions based on what sounded the most entertaining and refreshing. There are SO many that I know I won’t be able to make it to them all, but here are a few that I’m really looking forward to:

Not My Job: The Ultimate Content Strategy Smackdown: This one is a panel on running social media/digital and overall cross-channel content strategy—“Who's doing all this content? Are they talking to each other? Should someone be in charge? Who?”

Being Funny on Twitter (Without Getting Fired): I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

Social Networking is Not Very Social: This is a discussion about the evolution of social media, especially as mobile continues to impact the industry.

Tired of @#%ing Social Media Experts? I think the SXSW description does this the most justice:

“Join this session to get real answers from your peers on the toughest questions in social media. Format will be a quiz game show where audience volunteers are asked a question. The worst answer will lose their seat. There will be a final round to anoint the “social media expert”. The winner (determined by the audience) will win a valuable prize, in addition to the glory. You will learn real answers to real questions, but perhaps most importantly learn that the real experts getting business results are not necessarily the ones who spend the most time to pimping themselves on Twitter.”

Worst Website Ever II: Too Stupid to Fail I might be on the PR team at Walker Sands, but I’m attending this panel on behalf of our web team. It’s made up of designers, coders, and entrepreneurs who will all pitch their WORST business ideas in worst lightning rounds. The winner will get funded by a real VC.

Know Your Opponents, Grow Your Fans I’m hoping to learn about new tools and strategies for monitoring and learning from competitors in order to grow business.

I also did a little app downloading beforehand to help me navigate my way SXSWi. Here are the ones I anticipate will help me find my way around to where the action is:

Plancast: Click “I’m in” to show others what events and/or parties you’re attending. You can view who else is attending, and if you subscribed to someone’s Plancast you’ll get their updates as well. It’s a great way to stay on top of everything and coordinate with your friends.

Hashable: This is basically your virtual networking tool. You can exchange business cards, make introductions, and even check in with people to track meetings, etc.

Heat Tracker: I don’t use Foursqare, but for an event like this I might want to know where the hot spots are. Well, good thing I can just use Heat Tracker to find out. It uses your GPS location to tell you where the hot spots are (based on other people’s location check-ins).

SXSW Go: This is the ultimate SXSW navigation tool. You can upload your schedule or view the schedule, look at a map and get directions anywhere, and search to find just about anything going on at any location.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty spur of the minute plans while I’m down in Austin this year, so keep checking back on the Walker Sands blog for more updates on the adventures of this SXSW virgin.