Finncon is a yearly geek convention in Finland along the lines of DragonCon except on a Nordic scale and without the anime kids. Which means that this year the attendance was around 3 000 people. This year’s Guests of Honor were Lois McMaster Bujold of the Vorkosigan saga, Liz Williams of Inspector Chen fame and a Finnish fandom researcher called Irma Hirsjärvi. It was my first con ever and I have to say it was definitely a fun experience. Because both I and Anitta Kiviranta were there we decided to film some interviews and other footage for Nörttitytöt blog and I got to interview both of the foreign guests of honour as well as some others.
Since it was my first time, here are some things I noticed.
We’re all shy and introverted
In a geek convention it’s fun to note that pretty much everyone around you is probably introverted most of them shy as well. The thing is, that difference pretty much disappears because everyone starts out at the same level. This was important to me on Friday because no one I knew was there yet. Happily, there was a pub that pretty much completely filled up with con-goers and mentioning on Twitter with the correct hashtag that I was feeling lonely got me a handful of invitations to join tables with other geek people and I wound up meeting lots of wonderful people. Then the next night I was sitting with Anitta (the founder of Nörttitytöt, the person with whom I spent most of my conference time) and a young woman joined our table because her party wasn’t there yet. I met new people, some of whom I will definitely keep in touch with. And even the ones that I may never meet again were a delight. Therefore Nina’s first rule for going to conventions is to talk to people. Ask if you can join their table at a pub and have fun.
The 8-2-1 rule
Author Gail Carriger posted a 10 commandments list for convention goers everywhere and the most useful rule that really applies everywhere is the 6-2-1 rule, or in Carriger’s case the 8-3-2 rule and in my case the 8-2-1 rule; 8 hours of sleeping time, 2 full, warm meals and at least one shower/bath per day. By the end of the con I was so exhausted that I barely made it home anyway. Especially by the end of Saturday I was simply done in. getting enough sleep and food help you get the most out of the con experience and not be a crankypants. The shower is simply a common courtesy. At least during Finncon the halls were hot and the rooms were cold which means you’re going to be sweating no matter what you do. To alleviate your fellow con-goers take a shower at least once a day, preferably at least in the morning.
Use social media
Whether it is to share an especially good lecture or to just say how much fun you’re having using Twitter can connect you to other con-goers who may have useful and entertaining things to share with you. It may also be a good idea to get yourself acquainted with the social media in question beforehand. For me at least it took MONTHS before I really started spending time on Twitter posting things myself. Before that I just lurked around retweeting cool/funny things by other people. It has been good for me otherwise too but it was especially useful during the con.
Next year Finncon will come to Helsinki but I will hopefully not be here but rather tearing my hair out at Clarion. If not though, I will be sure to be in attendance. The con is free to con-goers so maybe you should schedule a trip to Finland then.