Today I just did two panels, went to lunch with folks, and sat in on the post-mortem. There was an after-party as well, and I thought about going, but my social energy limit was just about tapped (which is probably why the couch had such a strong hold on me this evening) and so I bowed out. Maybe next year -- and I expect I will go back again next year -- I will feel more confident in my ability to go up to people and talk to them. I did end up feeling pretty comfortable talking in panels, though. While my lunch group was gathering, one person mentioned that their friend was a first-time con goer. When I said that I was, too, he seemed really surprised and said that I didn't show it.
So anyway, some quick thoughts before bed, and maybe I will come back with a more coherent conclusion tomorrow.
1. How to Fail: A really nice panel-slash-small group discussion on what to do after you fail, with participants who failed (in some cases spectacularly) and survived. Key points include: if you fail, you've probably done so from a place of privilege; the people who are reacting to you are almost certainly not privileged in the same way. The importance of listening, and of active listening. It's okay to listen in silence for a little while, but if you wait too long, silence will be taken as hostile (fairly or unfairly). A thousand one-sentence comments are better than one single thousand sentence comment. It's okay to say that you aren't ready to respond, as long as you make it clear that you are listening in the meantime. Apologize, and mean it.
2. Lunch! I ended up at lunch with three panelists and several audience members from the Fail panel, and it was great. Some of the conversation was a continuation of the panel discussion, but we also talked about blogging, and spam, and somehow I ended up giving a thumbnail sketch of the Ms.Scribe expose. A great hour and a half, one of my favorite things from the whole con.
3. Cities of the Future. What will they look like? What trends in modern planning and society should we consider while designing them? The panel consisted of two dystopians and one optimist; the positive visions involved less dependency on cars and the negative visions tended to be highly dependent on advertising. Good talk, wide-ranging visions, my to-read list pretty much exploded.
4. Post-mortem. Mostly I sat in on this and listened (although I did suggest the addition of a coat check, for the convenience of those of us who didn't stay in the hotel). The feedback was largely positive; it was widely agreed that the panels, especially, were excellent.
Deep thoughts will have to wait for tomorrow. For now, sleep. If you are reading this and you were at the con: thanks for making my introduction to the world of cons such an excellent one! It was great to see/meet you, and I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did.
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