First-timers at the South by Southwest Interactive conference will have the opportunity to connect with some of the leading minds in social media -- but the event can be overwhelming if you're not prepared, writes Jessica Miller-Merrell. Use the right hashtags to stay abreast of the best events, locate friends using Group.me and Foursquare, and check out blogs for the latest scoops on what the event has to offer. Also, don't plan to attend a full slate of events each day -- leave plenty of time for hanging out and networking, she recommends.

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