A week has passed since I drove to Austin and experienced the melee of SXSW and I’m still processing everything. SXSWi was overwhelming in scope: the influx of technology, ideas and extreme time organization was mentally and physically draining. Figuring out where to go, what to do, which startup to learn more about all at the same time avoiding the downpour with a backpack increasingly becoming heaver with free t-shirts, stickers, and koozies was downright exhausting. That being said, it was heavenly and I would return in a heartbeat. I could geek out about unlocking a new badge and not embarrass the people around me. In fact, I unlocked 20 badges while in Austin. Here’s a video of 19 of them. I unlocked the Super Swarm badge retroactively at the foursquare party and didn’t realize it until later.

Some of my favorites: SXSW Virgin (my favorite design of all time), Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and Too Cool for School. I also liked that foursquare organized it into a separate category in the badge trophy case. Alas, I didn’t unlock all the SXSW badges, but I think I put in a good effort.

Foursquare was one of my favorite tools to use at SXSW. I changed my friends list to “nearby” could see where my friends were checked in and reach out to them to meet up a later time – I found friends I didn’t even know were going to be in Austin. There were several opportunities of squarendipity. I used foursquare lists and foursquare tips to find places to eat and the best dishes. I dare-say it was the most helpful tool at for me at SXSW.

I did try out some of the other hyped location-based services debuting at SXSWi, but found the constant notifications annoying and a drain on my phone battery and disabled them after the first day. Perhaps it’s just me, but I may be too introverted to use shared social graph features to introduce myself to strangers.  I felt uneasy about it – and if a progressive LBS user is a tad resistant about that level of connectivity, perhaps these apps miss the mark somehow. I did get to respond to Localmind inquiries for the first time and felt useful in that sense. So, not a complete wash! On a sadder note, I saw my first “Highlight Us!” Gowalla cling on the day they closed down.

I’m already wanting to prepare myself for SXSWi 2013; nerd spring break is going to become an annual tradition.

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