As you may know – and some may even be reading this from the great state of Texas – the South by South West (SxSW) festival kicked off in Austin.

Unlike a few of my friends, and contrary to my thoughts in 2011, I won't be there this year. There are some great reasons to attend SXSW, I know that from many of my friends who've made the pilgrimage to Texas (and March can be a very nice time in Austin).

Once again, I was asked not once, not twice but a half dozen times in the last day for various restaurant or event recommendations for SXSW – which last time I compiled into some helpful hints. But I decided not to make the trek this year, and appears I'm in good company.

Of course, reading Gene Marks' post on Forbes.com, I have to disagree with some assessments…

"For example, we sell Microsoft products. I know…they were also a sponsor at SXSW. But who are we kidding? Those guys are so…yesterday."

Really? I beg to differ. But that's for a different post.

One of the reasons I'm not at SXSW is that, just like CES, it's become quite large. And with so many people there covering it live (just search the Twitter hashtag #sxsw) I get much of what I want from it on line. Lots of news coverage is available (here via Bing and via Bing's SXSW news feed) and from many prolific tweeters – you can see recent public updates on Bing.

Here's some advice:

The 7 Best Ways To Follow #SXSW From Home via Jon Dube, Contributor at Forbes…

"More than a dozen talks will be live-streaming on the SXSW site, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman on Saturday morning, AOL founder Steve Case on Sunday morning and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on Monday afternoon. You can find a complete list of the talks and links to the live streams here."

SXSW Social Viewer: Check it out here.

Jon's SXSW DAILY, with popular SXSW stories daily. You can view the paper here and sign up to get daily updates via email.

Panels: As Jon notes, many panels aren't streamed, but you can get live feeds from folks in the sessions on Twitter as each has its own hashtag. You can browse all of the panels and find the hashtags by clicking through to the details for each here.

Twitter feeds to follow at SXSW:

SXSWOfficial user of the SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals

SXSW PartyList! The Party List for #SXSW Email us: SXSWPartyList@gmail.com

@livefromsxsw – has lots of info

@CNNSXSW CNN News will be there in force with news and stories.

Jennifer over at rsvpster.com has a list of who to follow "to find out what’s going on all over Austin during (and before) South By begins is to load up your twitter feed to be sure you’re following the most South-by savvy users." Of particular interest:

@sxshhh: Our friends over at @sxshhh are creating a spreadsheet of events/parties for SXSW ’12

@SouthByFreeNoms: Real talk: I hate the term ‘noms’ for food. Real talk: despite the name, this is one of the best users to follow during SX – always on it with the free food, which comes in handy mid-day Thursday when you just want a free taco.

Following your favorite blogs/venues always helps with keeping up with chaos. Our favorites: @MohawkAustin, @BeautyBarAustin, @CheerUpCharlies.

 

Tags: articles, what I read, blogs, SXSW, Microsoft, travel tips.

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