Previously on Got Con?, we talked about finding conventions by visiting local social hubs for your interest, like stores and clubs, tapping the knowledge base and promotional efforts at conventions you do know about and generally finding the right people to whom to talk. This week, we’ll discuss internet resources to find conventions within your reach. A lot of this may be familiar territory, as if you’re reading this article, you’re at least somewhat conversant with finding stuff on the internet. Even so, go behind the jump and give things a skim. You may yet find a convention or resource you’re not familiar with.
This is the big one, so let’s just get it out of the way right now. There are many sites on the internet devoted to providing listings of conventions happening all over the world. Some span all genres, other focus only on game conventions or anime conventions and so on. The key point is to figure out just how fresh the listings are. A number of popular listings sites have sputtered out over the years without disappearing completely. Make sure the years given in the listings are current.
That said, on with the list. These are just the sites that the Northeast Wars staff use to promote our own convention. If you know of one not mentioned here, give it a shout-out in the comments:
- Containment at Greententacles.com
- Fanboy’s Convention List – Fanboy also hosts a convention-oriented social network, Conventioning on the Ning service.
- Jinx.com’s Conference Listing
- New England Science Fiction and Fantasy Events
- Origins Game Fair’s Convention Listings
- Picofarad‘s List of Recurring Conventions
- Warhorn.net (not strictly a calendar site, but useful in that the front page is a big list of gaming cons)
The producer of your favorite game or product may list conventions on their site. Sometimes this is in general support of the convention lifestyle; other times, it’s because they plan to be in attendance as guests or dealers, or their products are featured in some way. Flying Buffalo Games maintains a calendar of conventions they plan to attend as a company or which an employee attends. White Wolf keeps a similar list of game conventions where their products appear. Steve Jackson Games‘ convention calendar will list any convention who cares to submit information, but it has a bias towards those events that demo and company representatives attend.
Interest-Based Web Sites
There are two ways general web sites centered around a given field of interest can help you find a related convention. The first is their news or open promotion sections, if they have those. Convention organizers often post notices to alert site users who might wish to attend. Other times, forum users may organize ride shares and meetups for conventions. The Miniatures Page and ENWorld.org are two prime gaming-related examples.
Secondly, the site owner or community may actually sponsor a convention themselves. These conventions may grow out of the friendships created through online interaction. Boardgamegeek.com, for example, hosts BGGCon in Texas, which has a very strong emphasis on building and maintaining the relationships built through the site’s discussion forums. Camp Nerdly grew out of the story-games.com community. More informally, some web communities will organize real life meetups that often wind up being about the common area of interest, even if they aren’t explicit game days or what-have-you.
And then there’s Conventions Fans, a blog that circulates the latest news from conventions all over the place. They cover every genre of convention, so there are plenty of opportunities here to find what you’re looking for, from Leonard Nimoy appearances to gaming.
One of the new buzzwords on the block, conventions are building presences on social networks. Northeast Wars, for example, maintains Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as a Twitter account. Even if you don’t care to participate in such a network, it’s not a terrible thing to create a dummy account for “research purposes.” Northeast Wars’ MySpace friends include a lot of conventions scattered all over the country. Over on GreenMustard.com, they’ve compiled a growing list of conventions that use Twitter.
So those are a few routes you can go in your search for a convention to suit your interests. Be warned, they won’t all work all the time. Some conventions have a minimal online presence, while others do all their organizing and promotion through online means. An all-around holistic approach will likely yield you the best results.
And don’t be afraid to try a convention without diving in head first. There’s nothing wrong with making a day trip out of things and buying a Saturday badge — Saturdays are traditionally the busiest day of a convention, so you can most easily get a sense of the overall tone then.
If there’s a method or resource you think we’ve left out, please feel free to point it out in the comments section. We’re always looking for new ways to find and network with fellow conventions.