The Introvert’s Guide to SXSW

If you're looking for ways to be alone among 30,000 conference-goers, check out these tips from an expert solitude seeker.

Many of my friends and folks I work with find it hard to believe, but I am a closet introvert.  I’ve always straddled that Myers-Briggs line between getting energy from others or off on my own.  As an IT professional who’s organization uses global software suppliers, I’ve attended and spoken at conferences where tens of thousands of people attend.  Usually, half-way through the first day, after the glow of coolness of the event wears off I tend to feel that inner introvert screaming to get out (and away).

Over the years, I’ve developed some techniques to help me recharge for even just 10-15 minutes.  The added benefit of this is that, usually, you can find an empty outlet to charge your devices, too.  : )

  • If the thought of the standing-room-only keynote getting you down, find a simulcast – Ultimately, in person or on the screen, it’s the same content. Chairs and outlets are usually empty.
  • Go to the top floors – not sure why, but i’ve always had luck finding empty spaces in the halls. 

    empty hallway

  • Find other people like you – Chances are, if you see someone alone at SXSW, they may choose to be that way and they probably won’t bother you.
  • Create your own space – grab a seat at the back of the room, bring headphones, just grab some carpet somewhere.
  • Get there early – Walking down 6th street early in the morning is generally a pretty solitary thing.  Nothing like a few quiet minutes before the hustle and bustle of the day starts.
  • Get outside – Austin is full of outdoor spaces. You can always find a green patch to plop down on and catch some vitamin D

Always, remember what you’re here for – Have fun!

By Lisa McIntyre