How EMAC Got Me Through SXSW Music Week Without a Badge or Wristband


photo taken by Chachi Flores

FEATURE is written by Chachi Flores who is an EMAC Junior, he comes from a history of English, journalism, and film studies. He loves to connect with people over social media; honing his skills at EMAC in social, SEO, and content creation.

If you didn’t stay connected during South by Southwest (SXSW) to your network of sources through social media this year…you lost out. Networking guru and one of the EMAC 4372 instructors, Nico Martini would agree: staying connected was imperative in 2013 to maximize the SXSW experience.

For the foreseeable future, the secret to SXSW is maximizing your digital presence and having what author Howard Rheingold calls “attention literacy” to understand and accumulate information constructively, as we learn in EMAC’s 2321 class.

Leading up to SXSW, you had minutes to RSVP to exclusive parties like FADER Fort presented by Converse or Justin Timberlake’s MySpace show. If you didn’t follow Twitter accounts when they tweeted RSVP links to their parties, or Facebook login to secret shows like the Smashing Pumpkins at Red Bull Sound Select, you did it all wrong. Your network and your sources are everything at SXSW. You can see all the live music you want for free, no badge required, all you need is your smart phone.

In EMAC 2322, students explore, among many topics, Pierre Levy’s theories on collective intelligence. It was amazing how useful those lessons were as I saw these theories put into play through social media.

There were live tweets and retweets being shared by networks of SXSW attendees to get info on waiting lines for events. Beyond that if you were looking to know where the best hangouts and events were there’s information on that via social media. A simple proximity search on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter brought results with location based-info and maps. Videos and photos of Prince’s last minute gig at La Zona Rosa were posted and shared by thousands just seconds after it happened. I got a free t-shirt at FADER Fort just by checking-in on Foursquare after searching the #FaderFort hashtag.

It’s amazing how useful EMAC’s curriculum was when the tools and knowledge you’ve acquired can help give you that competitive edge over everyone else. SXSW was no different. While people were walking around aimlessly, I was on flexing my EMAC muscle and having a good time doing it.