March 14, 2011

Five Ways to Experience SXSW in Your Own Backyard

The Goddess welcomes guest blogger Rosemary Jean-Louis, my blogger/presenter/roommate at BlogHer '10. When not curating content for her local PBS station in the Atlanta area, Rosemary writes about arts and entertainment for the and is revamping her web and social media lifestyle blog. Follow her on Twitter @thesexygeek.

While our Communications Goddess is away, she has entrusted me to fill in. It’s quite an honor, as I know I can’t take her place. But I love and support what she stands for – celebrating modern communications in all of its forms.

Her first trip to SXSW indicates how committed she is to that. Since many of us can’t be there physically with her, I thought we should find ways to be there in spirit and embody the spirit of the conference at home.

After all SXSW is about communications in the 21st century and the intersection of mediums – web, film, music. It’s also about stretching past comfort zones and meeting new people.

There are plenty of ways to do that in our respective backyards. Here are five of them.

1.) Start or Find a SXSW-like Meet-Up Group: Meet-Up is an online community that helps people who live in the same areas and have similar interests find each other, organize groups and set up offline gatherings. This is the perfect community in which to find others who are jazzed about SXSW topics. It’s likely there is already a “couldn’t go to SXSW” group in the vicinity. If not, here’s an opportunity to create one.

2.) Take Out a One Month Trial of to Injest a New Technology: is an online video training site. Need to learn how to build a website using Adobe Dreamweaver? There’s a video for that. Want to dive into building iPad apps? There’s a video for that too. A month –to-month subscription is only $25. And the videos are available 24/7.

3.) Go See a “Geeky” Movie: If anything, SXSW is a conclave of geeks of all stripes. What better way to be in solidarity with geeks than to see a “nerd” movie.Hint: Red Riding Hood is coming to theaters this weekend. (The director Catherine Hardwicke is appearing at SXSW.) As an alternative, make plans to see some of the movies being screened in Austin when they come out later this year.

4.) Visit an Electronics Store or Apple Store and Test Drive a New Gadget: iPad2, Xoom or Samsung Galaxy Tab? Here’s a chance find out which tablet rules. Curious about the videogame Dragon Age 2? Go on that quest to get answers. While there, chat up the staff to find out what’s new in tech. Many tech store staff members are people who couldn’t afford to go to SXSW either. They can be a font of knowledge on a lot of things.

5.) Follow SXSW Online: In addition to following Twitter hashtag #sxsw, go to What’s the Hashtag to find more to keep track of. Watch the IFC network’s livestream starting Friday March 11; keynote presentations will be streamed by Watchitoo starting Monday March 14 and bookmark Livestream’s SXSW music channel. As for apps, grab the SXSW Go official event app.


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Marie Tahan Daniels said...

I loved this article. It is absolutely true that we can take the lessons learned from these large conferences and turn them local to create opportunity for ourselves at home. Thank you for the reminder.

I just met Karen today at the Das Stiletto forum and I can assure your audience that she is doing a fine job soaking in the enlightening experience that is SXSW.

Marie Tahan Daniels