29 May 2015

I'll be at Origins next week: Come say hello!

Welp, it's super-duper official (on page #29); this time next week I'll be at Origins Game Fair as part of the Library - a gathering of authors (who are also gamers) talking about telling a good story.

Which makes more sense than you'd think.  After all, I got into this by wandering into the Writer's Symposium at GenCon... not because I wanted to be a writer (or publisher!), but because I wanted to be a better storyteller... as a GM and player.

(That and I ended up publishing a book with essentially the same premise...)

The panels I'm on are below;  I'll be down in the dealer's room (where all the other authors are) for most of the remainder of the time.  Come by, say hi, talk shop, or generally chit-chat!
  • Thu Jun 4 15:00 – 15:50 The Short Story and You: C223
  • Fri Jun 5 13:00 – 13:50 Writing From A Feminist Perspective: C223
  • Sat Jun 6 10:00 – 10:50 Worldbuilding 101: C223
  • Sat Jun 6 13:00 – 13:50 Social Media 101: C224
  • Sat Jun 6 16:00 – 16:50 Flash Fiction: C223
  • Sat Jun 6 17:00 – 17:50 Diversity in Speculative Fiction: C223
  • Sun Jun 7 11:00 – 11:50 Crowdfunding Your Novel: C222 
I look forward to seeing you there!

28 May 2015

A Unique Opportunity for Origins and GenCon

There is an unique opportunity coming up for two of the largest gaming conventions to demonstrate their commitment to diversity.

The convention themselves.

Let me explain.

Both Origins and GenCon are, at their core, gaming conventions. As a result, their schedules are filled with many small (4-10 people) events. A vast majority of these events (e.g. games) are set up by volunteers instead of being created by a central concom. And the vast majority of people who attend these events preregister.

That means that these conventions already have a nearly-complete database of what people attend what events, without having to expend a single extra bit of work.

From this point, a skilled sociologist (and if anyone from GAMA or the GenCon board is reading, I mean a sociologist, don't skimp here) can get some fascinating data. Presuming just knowing the attendee's gender1, it would be fantastic to see if any of the following impact attendance rates:

  • Type of game (RPG/CCG/Wargame)
  • Gendered name of GM
  • Franchise material or not
  • Correlation with words used in the description
And that's just for starters.

There's an obvious reason why the game manufacturers and sponsors would like this information - they would love to know who their hard-core consumers are. But I'd challenge them (and event organizers) to consider that these (and other) variables are causative rather than reactive.

Look at the descriptions (and characteristics) of events that draw greater diversity... and see how you can incorporate those into your event to signal your own commitment to diversity.

Even if they're already gathering this information privately, this is the sort of thing where the results (interpreted by a sociologist) would benefit the whole community when shared publicly.

1 I cannot remember offhand what demographic data both conventions directly ask for, but it is quite possible to at least code for gender using first names, which they do have.

26 May 2015

All Social Media is Not Equal: A Quick Lesson From Buffer

Because I tend to find, read, and share stuff in fits and spurts, I use Buffer in order to space out the things I want to share. 

Because it's not really a business decision for me (I just don't want to overwhelm everyone on social media), my usage of Buffer is pretty organic.  I had the same schedules on both Facebook and Twitter, and most of the posts were things that I read elsewhere and then shared.

But today, while tweaking my accounts, I saw that Buffer has a feature to let them to try to optimize your schedule.  So I took a look.



Yes, I realize those "engagement" numbers aren't huge, that's not the point. Notice how hugely different the shapes of the graphs are.

The people who follow (and interact) with me on Twitter start around eight and check about once an hour or so.  Facebook gets the most traction very clearly before work, at lunch, and then in the late evening.

This data is really interesting because there was no real attempt to seed, A/B test, or otherwise manipulate the variables.  It's just me going about my day the same way on two different social media networks...

...but getting very, very different results.

And that is fascinating.