Austin, Texas, is officially swarming with the young digital creatives of the world, as the 2013 SXSW Interactive Festival is well underway. Congratulations if you've made it this far--and good luck powering through the next three days. For those of you getting a late start on the festivities due to unavoidable work (or play) back home, there are still plenty of workshops, keynote presentations, and casual meet-ups, and mixers to partake in. Here's how to look like you know what you're doing by catching the most important, most interesting remaining sessions.

Cory Booker: The New Media Politician
Is Newark mayor Corey Booker the future of government and civic engagement? Based on his Twitter feed with its 3 million followers, he sure hopes so. Whether you think his social media presence is something to love or loathe, there's no denying that his reach via new media has had an effect on how politicians work and lead. In a conversation led by Time magazine's assistant managing editor Steven Snyder, Booker, who recently announced plan to run for Senate, will explain why social media is his greatest asset in interacting with his constituents.
When: Sunday, March 10 from 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Where: Long Center (Dell Hall).

The Signal and the Noise
Politics aside, Nate Silver is someone you ought to know. Silver correctly predicted the outcome of both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. In his session, the statistician-extraordinaire, blogger, and political forecaster will explain his research, examine the world of prediction, and explore how one deciphers an accurate signal from the noisy data that fills the universe. And accounting to Silver, "The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future." 
When: Sunday, March 10, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Where: Austin Convention Center (Exhibit Hall 5).

Reinventing You: Define Your Brand & Your Future
Seeking a brand new you? For those looking to reinvent themselves, branding expert and author Dorie Clark is here to help. Offering insight and strategies from her forthcoming book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, Clark will help you plot a course through the changing business landscape and professional environment. 
When: Sunday, March 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. Where: Austin Convention Center (Ballroom G).

Using Emerging Technologies to Reach Your Audience
On the horizon are a ton of techie tools, platforms, and the like to help you connect with your audience. What should you be using and why you should be using it? Learn from a panel of tech and business experts how to craft your multi-device social and digital-media strategy. 
When: Sunday, March 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Where: Hilton Austin Downtown (Salon JK).

Shaq Goes Social: The Big Interview
Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal is here to play with the big boys and girls of tech and digital. He's offering a conversation on all things social media, start-ups, and digital comedy. How has he managed to keep up with the changing landscape of digital media just as he did on the court?
When: Monday, March 11 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Where: Long Center (Dell Hall).

Inc. @ SXSW: Ester Dyson Release 0.9
Esther Dyson is considered one of the most influential voices in technology. With investment positions in 23andMe, Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn, Square, and Yandex, along with some of the most world's most fascinating companies you've never heard of, Dyson just has a knack for knowing what's next. In an interview conducted by Inc. executive editor Christine Lagorio, Dyson will open up about the state of Silicon Valley, her investment strategies, and her diverse interests and influences. Want this investor’s funding? Find out what impresses her here. 
When: Tuesday, March 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Where: Austin Convention Center (Ballroom D).

Make It or Break It: Why Hot Start-ups Fail
There are reasons some companies thrive while others fall by the wayside. This session will explore them. Some entrepreneurs who have been to the tipping point but didn't succumb join the investors who fund them for a candid conversation about what it takes to survive.
When: Tuesday, March 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Where: Hilton Austin Downtown (Salon C).

Published on: Mar 10, 2013