Music & Social Media Collide to Create Euphoria: A View from Inside SXSW

By Natalie Keshlear

As South by Southwest draws to a close leaving a plethora of leather clad music lovers and tech geeks stepping onto planes off to their various homes miles away from Austin, Texas, I am left to digest what I have encountered over the past seven days. From the interactive conference that was held March 12-16, onto the music and film portion that continued until the 21st, I have been to countless parties, panels and shows. I have been given so many free downloads from websites and so much swag (free stuff) that I am set for a lifetime of re-gifting.

The Broken Bells

Being an extremely huge music/tech lover and native to Texas, I was lucky enough to take a week off work and my final semester of college to attend the mega-conference in Austin, Texas. I was excited to try to navigate my way around all the showcases, panels and unofficial parties that I was not even really too sure what to check out first. I had nothing planned except for the suggestions given to me by friends who had attended before. I was warned to plan, but being a huge technology lover and addict I allowed fate and the iPhone app gods to take over.

Upon arriving in Austin I realized I needed some help. Thankfully, with a little googling (that is a word), I found a great website that was focused on helping weary “noob” sxsw conference goers by providing an easier way to figure out where I wanted to go, what time I needed to be there and what I wanted to do. The website is called Do512 (512 is the area code for Austin). Do512 listed all the conferences (Interactive, Film and Music), conference panels, official parties, unofficial parties, badge only showcases and free showcases. With Do512, I figured out what I wanted to do without the worry of missing something I really wanted to see.

The MOG Mobile at SXSW

I started out the week by attending the last day of the interactive conference, where I crossed paths with some of the biggest online personas of the day. I talked SEO and SEM with some veterans of the industry and had the chance to ask questions about the future of Social Media marketing and online reputation management. Moving onto the film and music portion of the conference, I was given a Platinum badge for free and was unleashed onto the highly music industry saturated badge only showcases and panels the Austin Convention Center. I managed to talk tech with a few music industry professionals and all agreed that technology and music are intrinsically related and essential to the success of one another. All also agreed that SXSW was the perfect mesh of all three industries involved at the conference.

While I was at SXSW, I was able to keep up with work from home by using my trusty iPhone. SXSW provided free wifi all week long and also provided free charging stations to all in range of the downtown Austin area making it easy to stay interactive. A great app that helped me stay on top of social media news while in Austin was the new Mashable iPhone app. I even submitted a ‘Thunder Boom‘ while backstage at a Greg Laswell concert.

I had many fun experiences while in Austin, but at the top of the list was an unofficial party fitting together music and technology flawlessly. On Saturday, I attended the party. The party was only advertised via Twitter and MOG and was headlined by The Black Keys, a band that was not scheduled for SXSW. I was lucky enough to hear about the party and stood in line for two hours just to make sure I got in. At the end of the day I was in the front row, clutching my Canon Rebel, shooting Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach from 6 inches away. My ears were also enchanted by the sounds of The Antlers, Free Energy and The Broken Bells. The lovely people at even gave all the partygoers a one month subscription to their music streaming website.

The Black Keys Play the MOG Party

Walking away from SXSW, I have talked tech to some of the most technologically savvy people I have ever met, I have rubbed elbows with musicians and actors and I have taken some great photographs. I have gone to website parties and even managed to get work done thanks to SXSW’s free wifi. In the end, I had a wonderful experience and used technology and social media networks to stay connected. It has been a blast, but I think I am ready to head back to San Diego and get settled into my desk at Thunder’s new office and maybe even perhaps take a nap.

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