Why I Loved NerdCon: Stories

NerdCon: Stories logo

The second annual and likely final NerdCon: Stories took place this past weekend in Minneapolis. I drove down to attend with my sister and my best friend. We had a lot of fun when we made the trip last year.

What is NerdCon? NerdCon began as an experiment. It tends to defy description. This is probably a large factor in its failure, failure being here defined as not financially stable enough to support itself. Hank Green has made a couple videos about this. The simplest way to define the con’s purpose might be “to celebrate stories”.  I’ve seen a few posts that somehow pinned down why those who attended in 2015 loved it and would attend again. I’ve also seen just as well-reasoned posts about why people wouldn’t attend again. I fell somewhere between the two camps. I initially went 60% for the conference and 40% for the trip (visit a big city, attend a Sia concert, do some shopping despite the exchange rate…). After attending NerdCon for the second time, though, I am now more excited about it than I was before I went. I am now a bit bummed that it won’t happen again.

My travelling companions and I spent much of our not-at-NerdCon time discussing why NerdCon didn’t take off like it should have/might have/deserved to. I’m sure we didn’t come up with any great insights beyond what Hank and others have already noted. If there was a way to make NerdCon a success (i.e. sell enough tickets to be financially stable), then I would be happy to become involved in making that work. I think for now all I can do is share my experience as best as I can. Without further ado:

4 Reasons Why I Loved NerdCon: Stories

    • Being in a crowd of like minded people. I find it so refreshing and exciting and uplifting to find myself in a that kind of crowd – to see the hive of activity and ideas (that seem to live only in my computer) come to life.
    • Frank, open, caring, and normalizing discussions about mental health. From Amanda MacGregor‘s informative presentation on mental health in YA to John Green’s talk on creativity and OCD, talk about mental illness and destroying stigmas was front and centre for me in a way I’d never experienced before.
    • David the ASL interpreter. The entertaining moments he created at both NerdCons may have been a ‘you had to be there’ kind of thing. However, I think anyone can appreciate his performance of “It’s Raining Men.” I wasn’t even there for this and it’s my favourite part of the con.

  • There’s something for everyone. ‘Stories’ doesn’t just mean books. The con included panels, workshops, and community-led programming on podcasts, gaming, oral storytelling, and more. This also applies to the variety of guests. Although there weren’t many names with which I was familiar, I appreciated hearing from people with different experience. Another attendee may have had a totally different yet just as enjoyable weekend as me.

After attending NerdCon for the second time, I’m more excited about it now than I ever was before. I feel like the conference is being shuttered just as it might start to gain momentum (I know that’s not the case; I understand there are many good reasons as to why it can’t continue.) It’s an unfortunate situation. In the end, I’m so glad I got to attend for the two years I did. I’d love to read your thoughts on NerdCon: Stories if you attended. Link me up in the comments!

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NerdCon: Stories

NerdCon is here to celebrate the enthusiasm of the Nerd! We want to capture some of the most important and exciting cultural institutions in physical spaces. We started on this goal in 2010 when we launched VidCon, but it just wasn’t enough for us. Now, NerdCons celebrating all sorts of important, fascinating, and vital things will arise. We are starting with NerdCon: Stories.

Next week I’m heading to Minneapolis to attend Nerdcon:Stories! I’ll make the trip down with my best friend and my sister. This trip excites for me a number of reasons – first trip with my friend, first trip with my sister and without parents, first road trip without parents in North America, first trip to the States by myself, first trip to the States in many years! (Caveat: Exchange rate ;_;)

Of course the con itself excites me the most. Attending the local Comic-con at home has always been one of the highlights of my year. I’m pumped to attend a different convention, one that has the same focus as my blog – stories! Here are some of the panels I’m looking forward towards:

  •  Adaptation into Alternative Media: But They Changed the Thing I Love!
  • The Benefits of Diverse Stories
  • Welcome to Night Vale Panel and Q&A
  • But It’s Just a Story: The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller
  • Tropes, Misinformation, and Stereotypes: How to Identify & Avoid When Writing Outside Your Experience

Those last two panels are at the same time! D: Which one should I attend? 

On a side note, I’ve been a nerdfighter for eight years (!!) now. I met Hank Green a couple years ago at Summer in the City. Being able to thank him for his videos over the years gave me an incredible feeling, so I can only imagine how I’ll feel being able to attend a panel featuring him and John!

Tickets are still available if this has piqued you’re interest and you’re in the region. Are you attending NerdCon? Would you like to be attending?