Take 800 writers, artists, publishers, journos, retailers and fans. Stick ‘em in a hotel with a (very) late bar and a full program of events. Mix in some costumes and some corsetry, a side order of steampunk and a sprinkling of social media – and you have EasterCon, LX2009.
Marred only by travelling to spill-over lodgings, LX provided an open forum to learn, undertake and discover; in the SF industry, it seems, all men are equal, everyone is a hero to someone, and we each have something to share.
It’s been a weekend of facing stage-fright fears, too many beers and mockery of my advancing years; a weekend of realisation… apparently events like LX catalyse personal achievement. Whodathunkit.
Friday saw me popping my panel cherry, discussing ‘The Marketing of Novels’ – to a flattering turn-out, considering the hour. Saturday was a day of networking, meeting new friends and old ones and loading up on business cards. Sunday kicked off with the Twitter panel – also very well attended despite disparaging comments and the community’s incomprehension.
Sunday night, of course, saw Rock Band – late-starting due to a technical hitch and saved by the insight of an eight-year-old (thus proving that Douglas Adams was indeed right about everything). It didn’t go quite as visualised (what does?) but Those Who Rocked had a fantastic time and the positive feedback was overwhelming. I hear Sleazy Diesel rocked so hard they’re taking their band on the road…
Excitingly, LX has seen one huge change from last year. No, not the few young fans, creeping out in the wee small hours to play Werewolf; no, not even Rock Band’s outrageous silliness.
At Orbital, there was no Social Media – a handful of Twitterers at the back of the disco. This year, due to the exponential rise of the site and the greater awareness of SocMed as platform for both marketing and socialising, we saw EasterCon have its own Twitterstream. We saw those Tweets roll live on the BSFA website. We saw live broadcasting from Peter Sullivan and LXtra. Finally, are things really changing?
They are, but not as fast as they could. Why did Phil Bradley have to fight to set up a Twitter Panel – and get no technological support? The committee threw themselves behind Rock Band – but opening a twitter discussion to (duh!) twitter would have brought on board a massive new audience. I was gutted I couldn’t do it myself – couldn’t even tweet from the discussion due to lack of mobile web. (Whatever personal achievements have come from this weekend, I’ve learned I can’t champion Social Media effectively until I can expand my technological boundaries. D’Oh!).
It still defeats me how people can revel in an event like an EasterCon, use it to network, to touch old friends and make new ones, to open their minds and learn new things… and yet not see how this parallels in the wide world of the web. Most of fandom – and many industry notables – are content to just dwell in the security of the smaller community; they rarely stray beyond the confines of LiveJournal.
I know I’m the minority – most people are content in their safe place and have no need to push boundaries, see where they can go. Why should they? In this case, they have fiction that does it for them.
Tech or no, the Twitter panel and LXtra proved that things are changing, that there is a new generation of fandom that’s broadcasting a change of era. This isn’t in a book – isn’t even scrolling up your Kindle.
It’s happening now.