Every March, geeks from around the world congregate in Austin for South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive. Attending this conference is a great way of keeping up with the latest industry trends, and it's also a terrific place for networking. Badges are not cheap. It is $850 for the interactive badge if you pay full price. There may be discounted options available for students, and you might be able to volunteer your time in exchange for admission. If you are affiliated with the Trinitonian or any other publications, you might be eligible for a press pass. All of the conference hotels are sold out for all dates, so you will need to crash with a friend or commute between cities. Despite the hassle, attending SXSW is still a worthwhile experience.
There are two versions of this badge: the version in which you physically attend the conference, and the version in which you remotely access the conference that was held last March. For the physical version of the badge, you will need to attend at least three panels. You should take notes at the panels, you should take photos with your phone or camera, and, if possible, you should capture some video clips from the event. For the virtual version of the badge, you will watch at least three video recordings of SxSW panels, you will identify at least one inspiring panelist and map out his or her social media presence, and you will develop a strategy for attending the conference for free next year. Both versions culminate in a 1,000 to 1,250 word blog posting.
BTW, some people insist on referring to this conference as "South by." In the opinion of this badge description writer, it is a bizarre hipster practice that sounds ridiculous. As Mike Taylor wrote in New York Observer, "now they call it 'South By' and soon it will just be a vague hiss: like 'suuuuuh.'" David Hansen agrees, writing "Frankly, I find it irritating. I'm not being anal. It's totally lazy. It's already an acronym. They already abbreviated it for you, and I know you have the time for those extra two syllables... Please stop."