6 tips for South by Southwest newbies

Are you going to the interactive, film and music conference for the first time this year? Pack extra chargers, make friends and have a plan.

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This year will be my third at South by Southwest (SXSW), and my first as an Austinite.

I wanted to share a few tips I learned from the two times I attended this awesome conference. Here are six tips for SXSW newbies:

1. Have a plan.

SXSW can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone someone who has never attended or isn’t familiar with Austin. Panels will be spread out across the convention center and several downtown hotels, and the parties can spread out even farther.

It’s best to have a general game plan before you go, or you may find yourself sprinting between the AT&T Conference Center Hotel and the Convention Center in 15 minutes. I don’t recommend this.

2. Be spontaneous.

I know this may seem counterintuitive to my first point, and it kind of is.

One of the best things about the five days of SXSW is the serendipity that occurs in the streets of downtown Austin. You’re pretty much guaranteed to run into people you know on- and off-line. Don’t be afraid to throw your plans out the window to grab a breakfast taco or beer with a Twitter buddy. It’s all a part of what makes this conference unique and great.

3. Reach out to other attendees.

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