Girls, Get Ready for SXSW: A Survival Guide.

Music Festival Illustration by Jazzia on Shutterstock
It’s been 4 years since I traded in my Fashion Week stilettos for Texas BBQ and I couldn’t be happier. Hanging with smart techies beats watching starving amazon women trample the runway any day! But there are a few things ladies should know before they head to Austin for the 10-day festival:

  1. Bring chargers with you everywhere. Trust me, you’ll need them. Because of the number of phones around, and the amount of texting you’ll do, all your gadgets will need recharging 2-3 times a day.
  2. Your twitter handle is your new business card (and personal assistant).  For those attending Interactive, clean up your feed and tweet what you find interesting. It’s a great way to build your influence and meet cool people. And most importantly, twitter should be your go-to to find out what’s trending and where the best unofficial parties are. Follow the tags #SXSWFree & #SXSWUnofficial to get all the latest info.
  3. Get Screened. This one has a double meaning. First, bring sunscreen. It’s hot in Austin and many of the best events take place outdoors. Second, go to the film screenings. I’ve seen some of the best movies at Sx, so grab some popcorn and recharge with some much needed down and dark time. The Vimeo theatre has a whole lineup of great films this year.
  4. Secret performances. Secret performances and parties will be popping up like crazy throughout the 10-day festival. Follow insider handles on twitter to get the latest updates. Also be on the lookout for password protected parties, like this year’s Wall Street Journal Pool Party.
  5. Get a badge. Even though off-site events are getting bigger and bigger each year, you still need a badge to get anywhere official. Many of the parties will require them for admission. Also, a word from the wise: pick up your badge the day before the conference begins. They’re open until 10pm. Otherwise you’ll wait in a 2+ hour wait – and there’s 0% chance they will let someone else pick up your badge for you. Trust me, I’ve tried.
  6. Leave the stilettos at home. Even at the best parties people will be wearing jeans. You should still dress to impress, but be comfortable. (Comfortable stilettos = win win.)

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The trouble with facebook (abridged)…

…and blogs, and twitter, and instagram.

There could be an entire degree dedicated to the study of social media – what it means for society and how it affects us. But rather than attempt to get into that here, I’ll try and keep this focused on the debate about what people share on social and why.

After spending the last few years overseeing Social Media for one of the world’s coolest tech companies (IMO), what I do believe is that social media plays to attributes that were already in us: the need to be creative, the desires for affection and recognition, and to share and be social. And with all of these exciting new ways to express ourselves, we’ve become infinite storytellers of our own lives.

My instagram feed - the good stuff

The good side of my instagram feed. If only this were the whole story my life would be full of roses, wine & cupcakes.

But what happens when your social circle or people connected to you in various channels pick up only pieces of the story you’re telling? Or worse, when they compare the bits and pieces they know about your life to their own whole reality? Is there really a thing called Facebook depression?!

As a frequent recipient of the “I want your life!” email, tumblr, facebook, twitter or instagram message, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this. Especially as I feel like I’ve faced a wrath of personal challenges and depression over last 6 months and no one seemed to notice. Turning inward (where us closet introverts often turn for answers), I started looking at what I shared and why I shared certain things. Sure, go ahead and call this narcissism if you want. I prefer to call it self-reflection. Either way, I think the answer I came up with can apply to a vast number of people.

First let me clarify that anyone who knows me well knows that my life is far from perfect. But the thing about all these social networks is that in our effort to be expressive, share the beautiful things, the extraordinary, and the irreverent, sometimes we end up painting a picture of a life far more perfect than reality. Perhaps it’s intentional for some, but perhaps for others it’s just a coping mechanism: a way for us to focus on the good moments so that all of the other stuff feels less real – less permanent. 

There’s an age old belief that “history is written by the winner.” Now it seems it’s written by the creator.

My instagram feed - the not-so-good stuff

The not-so good side of my instagram: Hurricanes, power outages, and painful mistakes.

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