Live from SXSW

Special South-by-Southwestern-Flavored edition…
By Jackson West
What are the kids relying on to network online and offline here in Austin? Well, Shiner Bock, for starters. But four tools have proven indispensable: Google Maps for finding your way around Austin — cache a map before you leave the comfort of a wifi hotspot and you can still scroll and zoom along the way. RSVP for a party using, and chances are you’ll see Andy Baio there. Get your crew signed up to Dodgeball, and when the bars close you’ll know exactly where the afterparty is. And of course, absolutely everyone and everything is going to appear on Flickr at some point. Finally, watch the Technorati tag cloud for SXSW and you won’t miss a beat. Frankly, with all those tools you don’t even really have to be here at all, but then you wouldn’t get to dip your toes in Barton Creek or join a bunch of Geeks with Guns for firing-range fun.

Now that we have that out of the way, can’t forget to mention that eTech just finished up last week in San Diego. We were on the plane with Chris Messina, who had just give his presentation on Flock. If tech culture is going bedouin, then Southwest Airlines (and JetBlue) could be considered our camels. Matt Haughey reflects on his eTech experience. Ted Rheingold chats about getting bought with iVillage’s Mark Graham. And Regine at We Make Money Not Art is intrigued by Danah Boyd’s concept of ‘glocalization.’ The thing I’m mad to have missed was the Roomba Chicken Fights put on by Phillip Torrone.
So who all should you watch for here in Austin? Well, there will definitely be updates from snarksters Valleywag and The men behind two of the most popular free services on the web, Craig Newmark and Jimmy Wales, will be having a keynote conversation on Monday — check out Nicholas Carr‘s thoughts on Craig’s recent interview witht he Rocky Mountain News. Joi Ito will be in town, and has even set up a wiki to communicate during the festival. Jeff Veen is a conference-attending madman, so of course he’ll be here drinking beer. Eric Rice gives you an introduction to Second Life so you don’t look like an idiot when chatting up the folks from Linden Labs. And with the aforementioned Mr. Messina in town, there will be a BarCamp.
Thoughts on Austin? Well, so far we haven’t been to a single bar that doesn’t have wifi. We may have to move here. If you’re stuck for caffeine and connectivity, Phone Scoop says that T-Mobile will be offering free Wifi to customers on the weekend (so any Starbucks will do). Indie kids should check out Austin Java. If you’re staying for the music festival, or just want to watch from the sidelines, Thomas Hawk offers up a list of top music bloggers to keep an eye on. And finally, if you’re looking for me, feel free to get in touch. This is my second SXSW and I’m staying with a local, so I’m happy to serve as a guide of sorts. Chances are that I’ll be at every event that offers free beer.
Jackson West writes for SFist. He writes about Web 2.0 and other topics for GigaOm.