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conference, service

Where’s your niche? (Entering fandom pt 2)

***The continuation of the over-long post I tried to write since last summer.

(Part 2 of 2)

As I wrote previously, I thought I should investigate this whole “con” phenomenon a bit further but maybe more as a regular participant. I was warned that WorldCon is THE scifi fan convention; one of the largest, so not to be disappointed by any other I may attend. I ended up choosing to go to Arisia, a con in Boston since a couple people I met at Anticipation also volunteer for Arisia. At the start I did not sign up to volunteer at all, then just before the event I said I’d do a few hours; my goal after all was to see how the average fan enjoys these things.

It didn’t take long for me to feel out of place. While the drive down with three longtime sci-fi fans and con goers was fabulous, I just felt out of place at the convention itself. I wandered around a bit, tried to sit in at a couple sessions, and even wandered into the drum circle room, but it didn’t feel right.

I can’t remember quite how it happened, but eventually I ended up going to the program operations room and hanging out there, and then volunteering. I ended up spending most of my weekend there, helping out whenever I could. I was there helping enough that I ended up earning free registration to next year’s Arisia!

I enjoyed volunteering. So even though I once again missed out on a lot of the programming activities, I actually discovered that volunteering is what I need to do to feel more involved and part of this fandom. I did of course take part in some activities. In particular I recall the singing on the Sunday night. In the ballroom there was a large screen on which they played “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along-blog” as well as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Once more with feeling” episode. There was also a shadowcast on stage during the viewing. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to sit with a couple hundred people singing along to your favourite geeky shows.

Alright, I’m going to try to cut this short. But here are a few lessons learned.

1) Finding people who are passionate about the same things as yourself is important.

2) Your experience does not have to match anyone else’s; participate in what interests YOU not what you think you should be interested in.

3) Librarians, a lot of your patrons are probably fans of some sort. Some of your coworkers are probably also part of fandom. Just remember this since it could be of value. (e.g. there was an “Arisia Reads” panel in which the panelists champion the book they think everyone should read)

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About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.

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