Thousands of people will be descending on Austin, Texas this weekend for the annual SXSW festival. With over 1,500 sessions taking place at SX Interactive this year, and nearly that same number in parties, deciding what to do and where to go can be really overwhelming.

Thankfully, there’s an app for that. More than one to be certain, but a platform we particularly like is Laynrd, an events planning app that leverages your social connections on Twitter to deliver relevant panels.

Screen shot 2012 03 06 at 3.52.28 PM 220x91 Lanyrd leverages Twitter to show you which SXSWi panels you should attendWe covered Lanyrd’s launch over a year ago in January, 2011 and since then the company has been working hard to maintain an organizational presence at all major events and conferences. For this year’s SXSWi, Lanyrd produced an unofficial Austin schedule guide, which recommends panels based on who you follow on Twitter. You can use it to search and filter the schedule, or browse an attendee directory that lets you search through the Twitter profiles of over 3,500 known attendees.

I love that it tells me how many of my Twitter connections are speaking at this year’s conference:

Screen shot 2012 03 06 at 3.51.38 PM 520x261 Lanyrd leverages Twitter to show you which SXSWi panels you should attend

Simon Willison, one of Lanyrd’s two founders says you can even use it to find astronauts (there are two at this year’s event) by searching the attendees here. You can also search for the most popular sessions (ranked by the number of people tracking/attending on Lanyrd) at the whole conference here.

If you’re a social media addict, you’ll want to check out this list of the most popular social media panels. If you’d like to browse by location, look here for the most popular at the Hilton Downtown hotel. And finally, if you want to support your favorite TNW Writer, please attend the panel I’m moderating! (Yes, I know the name is lame.)

“We think our tools will be uniquely useful in this year’s crowded startup marketplace – we’ve focused hard on building things that will help attendees navigate the even-bigger-this-year interactive conference,” says Willison.

Lanyrd hatched from Y Combinator’s winter 2011 batch, and raised a further round of $1.4 million of seed funding in 2011. Investors include Index Ventures Seed and PROfounders Capital.

Lanyrd also has an iPhone and mobile web app that include offline storage so that you can access your schedule even without a reliable data connection. So, what panels will you be attending? Let us know in the comments!

Also read: Bluebrain releases a teaser video for its latest location aware music album for SXSW.

Follow all of our live SXSW coverage here.