I have the privilege of working with a cool new DC startup that’s been selected to present at SXSW 2012′s HatchPitch competition. NewsiT is an app that empowers citizen journalists to document and report events and respond to emerging editorial assignments. The app just debuted for iOS users in the App Store, and the NewsiT editorial team is rolling out a number of assignments specifically geared toward SXSW. Already you can sign up to answer an assignment about the next big technology debut at SXSW by writing a text piece, shooting video, or submitting photos.

It’s a supercool idea that puts mobile reporting organization right into the hands of people who want to get the word out about something, particularly those who suddenly find themselves in the middle of emerging events. Eventually, I can foresee a news ecosystem growing out of this technology and its users. Imagine something like this being available for people in the Middle East during the Arab Spring.

I’m most interested to see the potential of this service applied to musicians and bands seeking wider exposure at SXSW. In the next few days, NewsiT will post assignments and tasks that allow bands to upload multimedia pieces about their personal stories of journeying to Austin to get seen. Furthermore, fans and SXSW attendees will be able to post their own stories about the coolest bands they see at SXSW and/or personally interview musicians themselves.

I think this is a great way to integrate crowdsourced content development. The app interface is slick and easy to use, perfect for snap decisions to capture and disseminate content happening around you. My favorite bit that, admittedly, still needs some development is the gaming aspect of the reporting: users receive points and unlock badges based on their engagement with the platform. I’m ditching my trusty FlipCam for this year’s SXSW and will be reporting the AWESOME directly from NewsiT, so be sure to follow along at the website. Download the app to contribute yourself, whether you’re going to SXSW or you’re interested in one of the existing assignments.

{Disclosure: I’m working for NewsiT as part of their street team for SXSW 2012.}

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Exit To Live

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the general wanderlust I get every year to escape the DC region and travel to new (or semi-trod) places and experience interesting events. Among many trips last year, I went to London and spoke at the Information Operations Europe conference, and I had a huge SXSW adventure in Austin, Texas. This year, I’m getting ready to embark on a road trip to SXSW 2012 that will begin with my wife and I spending our anniversary with Elvis in Graceland, and I have many more things on the horizon for both fun and work.

Image courtesy of ~Rare-GFX at Deviant Art

I really only learn when I go somewhere else. Social Media Week came to DC for the first time this year, and it’s just wrapping up today. Aside from a regularly great DC Tech events and one AWESOME public diplomacy panel, I found most of the panels pedantic and aimed at journeyman social media and communication professionals. Perhaps I only attended the crappy ones, but the feeling of having missed advanced insight pervades. Compared to the things I’ve learned at virtually every out-of-town engagement I went to last year, DC just hasn’t stacked up in the department of strengthening my personal learning curve. And that’s really the issue here: if I’m going to invest time and energy going somewhere, even if it’s local, I need live value from the experience. Most often, I also need that value to teach me something or otherwise inspire me to self-improvement in some way.

Sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? Of course you want value from the events in which you invest your time and money. Having traveled internationally the past several years though, I found learning value even on personal trips. Meeting other travelers in crowded bars or on the streets can change your perceptions of the staid environment of your home city. That’s just basic exposure too. Add a great conference, meeting or other event to that trip, and you can come home full of new knowledge and experience to motivate you for months.

In your travels, what have you learned? Have you found a specific exit to your hometown that lead you to a new motivating experience? Did something unexpected happen to you on a trip that inspired you when you got home? What trips, events, or plans are you making in 2012 that you hope will inspire you to live when you get home?

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Guitar Porn

I have a sickness for AWESOME guitars. I love the design of a supercool Les Paul or the sleek lines of a Firebird. Gold humbuckers and brightly polished Bigsbys dazzle me. During SXSW 2011, I wandered through the guitar show one day and snapped a ton of photos. Here are some of my favorite axes that I discovered that day.

Gretsch had a great display this year. Look at those Bigsby tremolos twinkle.

 

A special edition Gretsch. Very pretty.

Detail on that special edition Gretsch.

And what really makes this a special edition guitar.

A Fender "Jag-Master," which is supposed to be some kind of weird combo of a Jaguar and a Jazzmaster. Dig the tortoise shell pick guard.

 

I'm a sucker for sparklies like this.

 

 

A vintage 1958 sunburst Fender Stratocaster; a classic.

Not sure what these guitars are, but they look like plastic kid's toys. I'm sure Jack white bought one. :)

A supercool bass guitar.

A Hofner bass guitar similar to the one Paul McCartney played with The Beatles.

This is my favorite guitar design EVER: the Gibson non-reverse Firebird. Gem Archer, formerly of Oasis and now of Beady Eye, plays these almost exclusively. AWESOME guitars.

 

I'm not wild about the blonde wood body for this Firebird; I prefer something darker. But it's still a beautiful axe.

Here's a sexy looking 1972 Fender Telecaster Deluxe. You can tell the Deluxes apart by the larger pick guard. Fender recently started reissuing these guitars.

Weird concept guitar: half-guitar, half-sitar!

Cool Fender Jazzmaster.

Didn't catch the brand of this striking concept guitar, but anything with three solid humbuckers has to rock.

 

 

Here's a bare bones, stripped down 1967 Firebird in the typical reverse style they're known for. Note the badass wood-grain Flying V with the gold hardware next to it.

Another vintage Firebird with 2 humbuckers and a tremolo. This is the most common Firebird design.

I love the contrast of black body guitars with gold hardware, particularly when it's 3 big blocky humbuckers and a badass Bigsby. Beautiful design.

 

 

Another classic Fender Strat. The go-to guitar for Texas bluesmen.

Another odd hybrid guitar made by Fender, the "Jag-Stang."

A super-rad Fender pedal steel.

 

 

 

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With SXSW 2011 freshly wrapped, it struck me that I might put together a good tip guide to the event while it was still fresh in my mind. Here’s a 10-point guide for keeping your SXSW 2012 experience AWESOME.

Lodging – Get Your Own Place

The smartest decision I made during my stay in Austin for SXSW was getting a condo for the length of my stay. Now, a lot of people will tell you to book a hotel as early as possible, and there are several great hotels in downtown Austin that would be close to the action. I only recommend doing this if you’re going down for a few days. The longer your trip to Austin, the more a condo or vacation rental makes sense. I trolled Craigslist for weeks looking for deals on week-long stays and grabbed a condo north of UT in Hyde Park for only $1200. That ends up being MUCH cheaper than a multi-day stay in a hotel which will invariably also tack on parking fees and taxes.

The great thing about a place away from downtown Austin is that you have your own little oasis. The hotels get packed full of people during SXSW, and it’s not always easy to get away and relax when you need it. You may have to rent a car and drive between your rental and the convention center, but it’s worth it. Plus, this will put you in a new Austin neighborhood to explore, which is just as fun if not more so as SXSW itself.

Next year, I plan on going down with a group of people for the express purpose of sharing a large house that we’ll rent for the week.

Cars & Parking

If you choose to rent a condo or stay in one of the hotels that are quite far from downtown, you may want to rent a car. I heard a million horror stories about the SXSW shuttles, and me being me, I did not want to remain dependent on someone or something else for my own transportation. A car comes in particularly handy when you want to get out of downtown and party in one of Austin’s other fun regions like SoCo or the East Side. Many people balk at the expense of a rental car and associated parking, but for a week, I came out under $1000 with a Toyota Camry rental from Alamo. Trust me, this is worth the expense.

I found a couple clutch parking hacks in Austin that will save you some money. Most public lots will raise their standard rates of $7 a day to $15 and $20. You may end up having to duck into one of these lots on days when you haven’t planned well, but here are a couple better options:

  • The Omni Hotel. The Omni in downtown Austin has $7 a day parking during SXSWi. Even better? The garage attendant leaves at midnight and opens the gates, so if you leave after that time, your parking is FREE. Be warned though: Omni jacks up parking rates during the music festival at SXSW (usually beginning on a Wednesday) and the garage attendant stays all night, so be wary.
  • Residential parking. There are a number of residential and corporate areas near downtown where you can stash your vehicle. There’s a small but popular one close to the convention center and Magnolia, but it sometimes gets roped off. If you wake up early and do some hunting, you can find a ton of these hidden spaces all over town. Be prepared for a hike though as some of them end up quite far out from the convention center.
  • Greasing the skids. I never tried this but heard it worked for many people in Austin. Valets at many of the hotels are all about the tips, and if you can guarantee them a certain amount of income from you during the week, they may let you park for free at the hotel. A slipped $20 does wonders if you do it right.

Shoes

You will be on your feet ALL DAY, EVERY DAY at SXSW. If you don’t do well on your feet or walking, I suggest swallowing your dignity and getting yourself a pair of orthopedic shoes. A lot of convention-goers recommended Converse as the official cool-looking yet comfortable and supportive shoe of SXSW. Lots of people wore these. I bought a pair of the Jack Purcell Converse and was mildly satisfied with them, but there wasn’t a day that went by that they didn’t start rubbing my feet the wrong way halfway through the day.

What did work for me (and always has) was a solid pair of Merrell clogs. I’m particularly a fan of the “Slide” versions of their shoes that resemble slip-on clogs. They’re lightweight and reinforced with all kinds of nifty foot-cushioning insole technology that won’t wear your feet out while you’re skipping about Austin. I own a stylish pair that they don’t make anymore; they’re super-comfy and under the cover jeans look pretty rad. Trust me. Grab yourself a pair of Jungle Moc Nubucks or something similar. You’ll thank me.

Comfortable Yet Cool Clothing

There is no way to look bad at SXSW because of the hispter influx the town gets during this festival. There are more bearded geeks bounding around than you’ll be able to deal with, so don’t worry about looking fancy all the time. Normally, you’ll be bounding between panels and free booze parties anyway, so plan your attire accordingly.

I highly recommend a pair of comfortable jeans or khakis and a solid selection of Quicksilver shirts. Quicksilver makes ultra-comfortable surfer shirts that are often found in beach shops. While they make a variety of styles, the most comfortable (and stylishly designed) ones I’ve found are the button-down short-sleeve shirts. They’re made for activity so they won’t bunch up or look crappy once you’ve been darting around in the Austin sun all day. I actually would wear Quicksilvers all day, every day if I could get away with it. My buddy Tyson introduced me to them on the island getaway of St. John’s, and I still own every one I’ve ever bought.

Boots and Texas-wear

The urge will strike you at some point to buy a pair of authentic Texas cowboy boots or a hat while you’re in Austin. If it doesn’t, ignore this section. If you’re cool, follow the subsequent steps to deal with your newfound desire to become a card carrying citizen of the Republic.

  • Allen’s Boots. On South Congress, in the “SoCo” neighborhood, is a strip of vintage clothing stores, taco joints, and the site of Austin’s classic western wear store. Allen’s is a must-visit in Austin. They have an AWESOME selection of boots, hats, jeans, and shirts for men and women. If you’re a boot newbie, don’t puss out and go Justin just because someone tells you it’s affordable. Try on a couple pairs of Lucchese ropers. They are the finest boots made in Texas and receive the Must. Be. AWESOME!!! seal of approval.
  • Straw hat versus felt hat. If you are just now shopping for hats during your first SXSW trip, do not buy a felt Stetson. You are not cowboy enough for that shit yet. Straw is the way to go. Expect to pay about $70-$90 for a solid straw hat that doesn’t look like it was made in China for mass sales to Targets and Wal-Marts. I bought the hat below for $86.

 

The Platinum Badge Gets You Into EVERYTHING

I bought a platinum badge for SXSW 2011 and had no problems getting in to see anything. Every place that has an RSVP signup will let in badge holders, so don’t waste your time RSVPing for parties you want to get into. It’s expensive, but if you want the full SXSW experience, it’s totally worth it. Plus, you’ll be getting into day parties all over town with free booze and free eats, so you may even be saving money that way. A couple days during my trip, my buddy Andy and I knocked into two separate day parties, got loaded on free Lone Star, chowed on free tacos, and exited that towards the evening shows already shored up and not a dollar spent.

Panels Are For Shit

Generally, you will be disappointed by SXSW panels. Panelists usually appeal to the lowest common denominator so there is very little originality to what you’ll see, particularly if you are already a Web-maven who hungrily sucks down content from places like TED.com. I was pleasantly surprised by a panel on futurism, but that may have been an anomaly. Plus, panels are spread out between hotels and the convention center so much so that you’ll spend your entire day shuttling between them if you’re not careful.

Instead, focus on the people. Curate and/or follow a Twitter list or two of the people you want to meet and talk to, and then stalk them around town. Everyone checks into everything at SXSW and shares it via Twitter. Gather yourself a solid group of people you like to hang out with then hang out with them. The Bloggers’ Lounge is usually a good stop to make where you can make some connections and build your street team. You will learn more and have better takeaways from building a strong core group of relationships than consuming panel content.

The Radio Day Stage Is AWESOME

When the music festival kicks off, the convention center sort of dies down. However, you’d be mistaken to avoid it completely. The keynoter halls are converted into massive day stages where local radio stations feature performances from pretty AWESOME bands. It’s a chill atmosphere with plenty of bean bag chairs in which to lounge around, and you’ll get closer to some of your favorite acts than you will at any other stage in Austin. This is where I discovered my latest music obsession Fitz and the Tantrums and bumped into Emmylou Harris.

Above All, Have Fun!

To me, the best SXSW experience is one of DOING. Get involved. Get moving. Join a scavenger hunt. Test out some new apps. Make a comic with the deviantART crew. Most importantly, get out of the SXSW scene for at least a day and see Austin. It’s a great city. There’s so much to do here, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by just panel picking all day.

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I tried to document as many of my ongoing thoughts as I could over on my Posterous feed during SXSW, but I thought I’d take some time to try and make some coherent sense of the week-long insanity I put myself through.

Location, Location, Location

There didn’t seem to be any consensus on a single new technology or app that debuted or blew up SXSW this year. However, plenty of existing ones brought immense marketing campaigns to Austin, and the majority of those seemed to be location-based services. Gowalla, in my opinion, severely dropped the ball by not preparing local Austin businesses for the influx of SXSW geeks galvanized by the Gowalla passport scavenger hunt. Foursquare, on the other hand, ruled the day by deploying 2000 virtual “Golden Tickets” into specific checkin spots in Austin that unlocked free tickets to their Big Boi headliner show. So many more location-based companies littered the landfalls in Austin as well, each with some zany promotional campaign to get people to download and use their app.

David Armano's Allhat3 at Guero's.

For my money, Foursquare was the clear popularity winner here. Their partnership with Pepsi – where they created an actual competitive foursquare court near the Austin Convention Center – culminated with an AWESOME party at the Seaholm Power Plant, where all sorts of people got to chill with Dennis Crowley and his Foursquare army to the tunes of Locksley, The Sounds, and Big Boi.

App Discovery of SXSW: Roqbot

Roqbot is an app-based service that allows you to take control of online-enabled jukeboxes in bars, clubs, restaurants, and other locations featuring these types of music services. Once you download the app, you develop a DJ profile of your favorite music and check into whatever location you happen upon that has one of these net-enabled jukeboxes. From there, you’re able to control the music playlist emanating from the box. Don’t like Lady Gaga? Spend a couple Roqbot credits to put some Oasis on higher in the music queue. You also earn free credits to play by unlocking various checkin rewards or you can just connect Roqbot to a Paypal account and buy songs directly. It’s SUCH a great a control solution for jukeboxes in places. I can’t wait till they expand their services into the DC/NOVA region.

DC Represents

I was caught off-guard by the massive DC presence at SXSW. From government rockstars like Amanda Eamich from USDA to nonprofit supercolliders like Tammy Gordon of AARP, DC’s varied social media community descended on Austin in force. I hung out with Mike Schaffer, Director for Social Media at iostudio the most, and lamented that despite having met and living near DC, we never hang out like we did at SXSW. I’m making a pledge to change that behavior on my part now that I’m home, and I want to invite any and all DC/NOVA peeps to call me on any antisocial leanings I may display from this point forward.

Margie and Dave Newman, masterminds of the DC Flacks Meetup group, created an on-the-fly “DCxSW” Twitter handle and hash for all of us while in Austin. They also organized an impromptu meetup of these DCists at the Driskill Hotel one night where I had the best networking conversations of the week. I met a lot of folks i only knew through Twitter here, and I am super-excited to build upon those relationships in the future.

So here’s a big public shout-out to all my DCxSW peeps: Margie, Dave, Schaffer, Gabe Hilado, Amandare!, Alejandra Owens, Peter Corbett, Tammy Gordon, Tammy Portnoy, Lisa Byrne, Patti Shea, and all the rest of you AWESOME DC peeps. It was also great meeting a bunch of non-DC folks like Jeff Esposito, Teresa Cantwell, and old friends Anne Weiskopf and Tonia Reis (formerly of TWTRCON fame, now The Realtime Report

"You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas." --Davy Crockett

).

Walking in Your Footsteps

Much of the research I performed in prep for this massive undertaking panned out well. I intend to do up a fuller post on the travel hacks I came with on the fly, but the basics came down to comfortable shoes and clothing at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I just had to sit down because my feet hurt so bad from walking around so much. People recommended Converse as the go-to shoes for SXSW, but I have to put in a plug for the much comfier and supportive Merrel’s that I brought.

Panels & Speakers

For the mot part, I found SXSW panels pedantic and freshman. The only ones that piqued my interest and delivered a good conversation were a panel on The Singularity and another with John Hagel III on shaping the future. The Singularity panel brought together experts like Michael Vassar from the Singularity Institute and Natasha Vita-More from Humanity+ for a SUPER-AWESOME discussion about the ethical limits of transhumanism and posthumanity. I’m stll processing a lot of the info from this panel, but be sure to check out the convo archived on the #singularity hashtag. That conversation is still going on, so feel free to jump in and add your thoughts.

Seaholm Power Plant, site of the Foursquare/PepsiMax party.

I missed Seth Priebatsch’s keynote on the gamification of marketing and education, but I heard it was cool. I also missed Christopher Poole, aka moot of 4chan, who gave a keynote on social communities online and how their influence will continue to grow in the future. I heard good things about both of these keynotes but just couldn’y sync schedules to make them

Getting Your Groove On

I was most disappointed by the party situation. I RSVP’d for several parties specifically to hang out with or meet people that were throwing them. Unfortunately, every party is oversold, leading to massive numbers of people often crowding into small clubs, all trying to figure out who’s there that’s important or famous. What’s worse, I got the distinct impression at many of these parties that pre-existing community relationships led to a degree of “cliquey-ness” that isolated a lot of outsiders. This bothered me mainly because a lot of folks like myself stood in these long-ass lines for long periods of time to get into cool parties that only turned out to be fun for the cool kids.

 

Ogilvy Notes, a cool attempt to make visual sense out of all the information overloading SXSW's attendees.

There were literally so many people at many of these parties that you would get interrupted talking to someone of note, and they would never come back to you due to successive interruptions. It’s damned hard to connect with someone in this fashion, and you can damn sure bet I’ll be working on a SXSW Guide to Party Ethics for 2012.

Even worse, most of the Interactive parties featured some of the worst, most annoying DJs on the planet. Note to party organizers of the future: they don’t call Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing. If you want to throw a SXSW party next time, do some fucking due diligence and get a couple of inexpensive but AWESOME live acts instead of a bunch of douchy DJ pricks.

Music vs. Interactive

SXSW should really be broken up into two conferences for Music and Interactive because virtually everyone from the Interactive festival popped smoke when the Music festival began. It was SUCH a sea change in personalities too: I joked to a buddy that all the Interactive geeks stayed inside the Convention Center for Interactive where Austin had to shut down streets to accommodate the influx of Music nerds.

What’s funny about the disparity between Music and Interactive attendees (and the lurking Film festival geeks too), is that they could all stand to spend time in each other’s sessions. So much inspiration flowed out of musical performances that I think would have benefited Interactive attendees, particularly the PR and marketing types who were hard-charging the entire time selling and jiving versus soaking up the people’s culture.

 

Emmylou Harris performing solo on the Radio Day Stage.

I’ll do up a separate post later on the musical discoveries I made. Those are stories in and of themselves.

Omni Hotels Continue to Rock

Not only did my lovely friends at Omni Hotels hook me up with a couple free drinks and grab bag of SXSW necessities, I also found that the Omni’s parking situation far outweighed any other in downtown Austin. Where other lots were jacking prices up to $10 and $20 at a time, the Omni kept a moderate $7 a day parking charge for SXSWi. What’s more, you could avoid that charge completely if you returned for your car after midnight, where they opened the garage. GREAT customer service from Omni, especially for people who weren’t even staying at their hotel for SXSW. Thanks again for the stops along the way!

(Pro-tip: The Omni also had the cleanest bathrooms in town. At about midnight when those tacos are kicking in, ain’t nothing better than a spotless and empty bathroom!)

Where Do We Go From Here?

 

The Macallan 15, proud sponsor of SXSW and drunk-asses everywhere.

SXSW was a worthy event, but I’m not sure I can do it all in one sitting again. It was a great time, and I enjoyed it, but had it not been for the people I met there, it could have been a big old bust. I brought back with me a ton of great ideas and content that I have to work with, so I hope to see some heavy return on investment soon. In that vein, keep your eyes peeled for successive posts about different SXSW aspects that I couldn’t fit into this one.

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“A plan never survives first contact with the enemy,” said Mike Trexler, my mentor from my days on the IED Task Force. Today, that enemy is Mobility.

In my efforts to go super-mobile at SXSW in Austin, I seem to have broken the cross-posting mechanisms linked between Must. Be. AWESOME!!! and the other social streams I set up to report from the road. As a result, posting here will be light over the next 10 days.

I will maintain a steady stream-of-consciousness mobilely (I’m MAKING that a word) with some meatier content on my Posterous site which is proving to be a MUCH more AWESOME way of uploading and sharing content on the fly. Also be sure to check out the other social streams I previously detailed in this post.

This is Must. Be. AWESOME!!! Dot com.

175 years ago today, the Republic of Texas formed after a five-month battle against Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna‘s despotic dissolution of the Constitution of 1824. Texas remained an independent republic until its annexation by the United States in 1846, becoming the 28th state of the Union.

Despite my Mississipian birth handicap, I consider myself a son of Texas, and I learned the above facts like every other child of the Lone Star State in first grade. I plan to celebrate in extremis next week at SXSW and at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I hope to do some of that celebrating with you.

This Station Ident is for all you Texans out there, whether displaced by geography and commitment or enjoying a cold Shiner deep in the heart. Bravo too much, as the Indians said about the Rangers.

The Texas Declaration of Independence, signed by Samuel Houston and 50 others. What state will YOU create when you make your declaration of independence?

This is Must. Be. AWESOME!!! Dot com.

 

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I finally bit the bullet this year and bought a full conference pass to South by Southwest, Austin’s long-AWESOME music, film, and tech festival. Having suffered through years of Twitter and Facebook friends broadcasting the varying degrees of AWESOMEness emanating from one of my favorite towns in Texas, I’m taking the @Du4.llc plunge.

While I do have a few specific goals for my trip, a large part of it remains unplanned. I intend to broadcast my experiences often, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to develop a publication strategy for a single event. Granted, it’s a media-heavy event, so separating out fun content from crappy stuff could be dicey. So here’s a quick breakdown of how you can find the different Du4 media that I’ll be pumping out from AWESOMEville.

Where I’m Gonna Be: Plancast

Here’s a new social stream with which I’m experimenting: Plancast. The idea is similar to a calendar except you organize your plans socially around what your friends are doing. You can also link into several existing tags for types of events, like I’m doing for SXSW. I’ve been invited to and RSVP’d to a staggering number of parties and events at SXSW, so keeping track of everything via my email inbox has just become too tedious and confusing. I’m hoping to use Plancast to organize my plans (duh) for Austin and share them with folks via my Plancast stream so if you do want to link up with me, it’ll be easier to sync schedules.

However, let us all remember the special operator’s maxim: “No plan survives first contact with the enemy…”

Twitter: @Du4

I’ll be broadcasting my hour-to-hour activities at SXSW via Twitter. The #SXSW hashtag will probably be overloaded with people tweeting on it, so follow me for direct updates. I’ll also be retweeting cool content I find on Twitter throughout SXSW. I’d also encourage anyone who’s doing remote listening of the event using tools like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Radian6, or whatever, please hit me up with any emerging hashtags you see coming out of SXSW so I can find ‘em “on the ground.”

Twitter is also my go-to service for preferred commo. If you need to get ahold me right away, @reply or DM me and I’ll get back to you fast. Even better, if you’re attending SXSW, be sure to hit me up so I can follow you around too!

Locations: Foursquare and Gowalla

I’m a dual geolocation user: Foursquare for the badges, Gowalla for the items. There will be a TON of SXSW specific checkin rewards for 2011, so I’m going to have a ball checking in and sampling all the AWESOME places and things to do during the week. I have both accounts connected to my Twitter stream, so just follow me on Twitter to see where I am and what exclusive badges and achievements I unlock as I roll through Austin. I will probably post some pics and tips for various places too. Where Plancast is a proposed schedule of where I am planning to be, Foursquare and Gowalla will show where I actually end up.

Pro tip: you can click on the link in each checkin tweet I make to bring you to my Foursquare or Gowalla page and see everywhere I’ve been.

Photos: Posterous and Instagram

I’ve been noodling with how to use a Posterous page for a while now. For those who don’t know, Posterous is a dead simple, email-based blogging system. You have a couple simple commands that you set up via your preferred email account, and then you just publish content to your Posterous stream via email or SMS. It works best when you’re on the go and want to share something or capture something quickly form your mobile device and get it online and visible. You’ll also receive every comment on your posts via email and be able to reply back via email.

For SXSW, I’ve developed a brand new Posterous page where I can instantly upload content. I’ve found this is the simplest way to upload HD photos from my iPhone to a website where people can view them without a corresponding account. You just click on that link and BOOM: AWESOME shit direct from Du4. Because I can gin up other content and get it quickly published as well, I may use this Posterous page for snap, on-the-street blogging or “scrapbooking.”

(Aside: I got the idea for said use of Posterous from “vigilante pundit” and comedian Baratunde Thurston, who uses his Posterous as “an internet scratch pad.” I love that description of the service, and you can see from Baratunde’s updates exactly how well such usage of Posterous suits him.)

Baratunde Thurston at ROFLCon II

Baratunde Thurston (image via Wikipedia)

(Aside 2: I’ve also got a Pulsememe stream I’ve been using via Posterous to share stories and other content I view through the Pulse iPad app. Pulse is a cool reader-like app that I use now for ALL of my daily reading; Google Reader is dead to me after playing with this. Pulse connects to a separate Posterous URL where I share any interesting articles, links, and other stuff that comes across my ADD-addled eyes via the Pulse app. I also pull my Links of the Week directly from this Pulsememe stream.)

For those of you on Instagram, you can follow my feed (my username is du4) there for any photos I upload and touch up using Instagram’s color tools. Instagram does not have a web-based version of its users’ streams so you can only view it from your smartphone.

Longer-form Reporting: Must. Be. AWESOME!!! dot com

If SXSW is social media nerd heaven, then I wouldn’t be a crown prince in the nerd host of angels without a blog. So every couple of days, I’ll throw together something more thoughtful than a mere tweet or photo upload can convey here at http://mustbeawesome.com. You can also expect some video blogging, interviews with rad people I meet, and other video clownishness posted here.

Stay Mobile, Stay Flexible, Stay Alive

SXSW is going to be a good opportunity for me to really put the gas pedal down on developing and sharing content online. I may get part way through the experience and realize that I don’t need all the streams I’ve talked about above. I figure this will be a supercool learning experience though. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment here or anywhere on one of the social streams I’ve described above. If there’s something I’m missing, I wanna know about it!

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