Can’t make SXSW? Here are the best apps for pretending you’re there

sxswAnother SXSW, another week of chaos parties, conferences, and sleep deprivation. If you weren’t able to pony up for a ticket, though, there are still ways to catch up on what’s going on in real-time. 

But if you want to experience the show from the comforts of your couch or office (or if you feel a little overwhelmed by the show and need a concise feed to see what’s going on around you), we’ve got a few recommendations on how to find the best virtual SXSW experience. 


pixable sxsw feed

Pixable is continuing its real-time feed dedicated to everything SXSW. You’ll find photos that Pixable users are sharing to their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook profiles at events all around SXSW that have been tagged with hashtag #SXSW. But you’ll need to have the app downloaded on your phone to keep track of what’s happening.

To be clear, there are two types of feeds that you’ll see on the app in the “Featured” section under the Trending tab. The first SXSW dedicated section titled “SXSW-Live” should be your go-to tool to find out everything that’s happening in real-time with parties, events, and concerts happening around Austin. And if you think about, people are more likely to brag about “secret” events by simply sharing that they’re attending so and so exclusive event so keep your eye on this section.

The second section is title “SXSW-Trending” which Pixable tells us is similar to the “Live” feed, but the difference here is that you’ll just be seeing the popular photos based on the number of retweets.

If you’re on the go and never expect to have a computer on hand, but you’re of course toting your smartphone or tablet, Pixable is your best bet.

Mass Relevance’s South by Social

south by social mass relevance

Last year Mass Relevance launched their real-time Twitter feed “South by Social” dedicated to SXSW. The feed has been live ever since and surfaces all tweets along with relevant images and metrics having to do with mentions of “SXSW.” It’s a pretty simple app that simply shows three or four tweets at a time, although you can scroll down for more content, and prominently featured buttons at the top of the page makes for easy navigating.

If you dig into the app, there are a few cool features dedicated to keeping an eye on fun events, and what verified Twitter users are up to at SXSW. To find this, navigate to the hashtag icon and you’ll see an icon for beer, representing “fun,” and Twitter’s symbol for verified accounts.

If it’s of any use, Mass Relevance displays metrics in its SXSW app so users can track the number of SXSW related tweets on a daily basis and view the volume of tweets per hour in graph form.

The app is only available via the Web however, so plan accordingly. 


storify sxsw feed

For many of you, you’ll by default keep up with SXSW happenings using Storify. You’ll find relevant news articles, photos, tweets, Instagram photos, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, and the like all bundled into an easy-to-digest feed. At the same time, Storify enables its users and brands to stitch together their own “stories,” so there’s bound to be someone somewhere on Storify who’s keeping track of their SXSW experience.

To find the stories about SXSW, Storify’s homepage has a link above its search bar, or you can just search for “SXSW.” It’s worth noting that Storify doesn’t have a smartphone app, but if you own an iPad you’re in luck. 

Instagram Web clients

gramfeed sxsw feed

Instagram is bound to be one of it not the most popular way that attendees and onlookers alike will follow SXSW events. There are a few options here if you’re going to limit yourself to Instsagram. The obvious choice is to search and view the #SXSW hashtag from Instagram’s mobile app, but that option isn’t available for its Web app. So this is where Instagram Web clients can fill in the gaps.

Statigram, Gramfeed, and Webstagram are just a few alternative platforms. To find the SXSW-specific feeds, simply search for “#SXSW” and should pull up what you’re looking for.


stublisher sxsw

Stublisher’s real-time SXSW feed should start on first day of the festival, raring and ready to go out of the gate.

The way Stublisher works, if you’re not familiar with it already, is that the Web app aggregates all relevant user-generated content like photos and tweets around individual events. Each event gets an event page populated with attendee’s content so if you’re looking around for specific events that you might be able to crash, Stublisher should be your first choice. But because of the nature of Stublisher, normally you wouldn’t be searching for the bigger festival “SXSW” to find what’s happening. You’d have to search for individual events within SXSW, say “Macklemore & Ryan Lewis” for instance, to find the real-time feed (granted that someone is sharing their photos and tweets around this event). Conveniently Stublisher set up a SXSW-specific page where you can check out all of the events that its users are talking about at SXSW.

To give you an idea about the types of events that Stublisher will have live feeds of off the bat, co-founder Kyle Banuelos says that they’ll be at the NoiseTrade shindig, these sixteen can’t be missed parties, as well as some music events. But keep a look out on its SXSW page for other events.

Hey Big Fish

hey big fish

If you’re looking not at events but influencers that you’d like to target and network with, Waggener Edstrom, Little Bird and Tater Tot Designs have teamed up with an influencer finding tool they call “Hey Big Fish.” Alongside being useful for finding who the influencers at SXSW are, which can be filtered down to influencers in certain topics, the Web app surfaces all SXSW-related hashtags that isn’t just #SXSW. You can use that part of the app to search for real-time feeds from other hashtags.

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