Sep 03

To be there… or not to be.

Taking a right turn from my previous post I want to talk about something more geeky than technical. Conventions!

I know, I know… “Conventions are for learning!” “I love going to XYZ product training conventions!”
Not /those/ conventions… The Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Cosplay / Comic conventions!

Most of my friends already know that I’m a big fan of Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA. It’s one of my favorite places to go and even though I have missed more than I have attended over the years, it was my first large convention to partake of.

My first journey to Atlanta was in 1994 with my best friend Rodney, and even back then the attendance was around 11,000 people. I was so awestruck and lost even then. I still get shocked every time I arrive and am reminded of how massive it has grown.

Last year there were over 53,000 people who went and this year it’s expected to have been closer to 60,000. No wonder hotel rooms are so impossible to get!

Some of the biggest things that sparked my enjoyment were the sheer number celebrities, the amount of merchandise, the cos-players, and all the geeks! Even more amazingly, all these people enjoyed the same things I did!

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that the social aspect of going to conventions is what helped me get past any social anxiety I had in my professional life. Most people consider computer geeks to be overly clinical and socially awkward. People are always wondering why the current generation of geeks are so much less socially awkward than the last and I can only surmise that it has to do with the evolvement of geek culture in the mainstream media.

Don’t get me wrong, this trend has made life so much better for all of us geeks in general. I’d have never thought I’d see shows like Heroes of Cosplay, King of the Nerds, Face Off, and other similar reality style geek shows on television not to mention all the Anime, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and popular fiction that has the current generation even on track to be more geeky than all of the previous generations combined.

Locally, I’ve noticed that even smaller citys are hosting successful geekdom conventions. Even in our city of < 70,000 people we had just over 3,000 people attend and enjoy the Arklatex Comic Con with all the accoutrement’s that go with the fandom.

For those attending a large convention this year that isn’t of the technical nature, kudos to you. To those who are thinking of going to one of the smaller homegrown conventions, I definitely encourage you to do so. Even the largest fan made convention such as DragonCon started somewhere. It makes me excited just thinking about what we’ll all get to see in the next twenty years.