Which Blogs and Cons Should I Be Visiting?

As of now, my dissertation will probably be focusing on some of the various cultures surrounding computers, video games, comics, and sci-fi TV/film. I’ve definitely had interviews (or have them lined up) with appropriate people for these topics, but I need to stay more continually plugged in to these industries and cultures than a few interviews allow for. That means attending some conventions and following some blogs, hopefully including the best trafficked of each.

In terms of cons, I’ve already attended the Penny Arcade Expo, the San Diego Comic Con International, the Big Apple Con, the Come Out and Play Festival (where I shot a short movie), and the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (no movies or music for me.) Depending on how certain things shake down, my travel plans for this year potentially include Wizardworld Philly (June), another trip to San Diego for Comic Con (July), Defcon in Vegas (August), the Tokyo Game Show (September), and the Small Press Expo (October). If some of that falls through and I could actually afford to go to PAX again, that’s another possibility. (I’ll also be going back and forth to Boston to visit friends and family, heading to San Francisco in May for the International Communication Association 2007 Conference, and doing research with Annenberg’s Summerculture program in Lisbon, Portugal for about half of July.)

As for web sites, I regularly sift through feeds from Joystiq, Kotaku, Game Politics, The Comics Reporter, and a number of sites maintained by academics I admire, such as Henry Jenkins’s Confessions of an Aca/Fan, Nancy Baym’s Online Fandom, and Jane McGonigal’s Avant Game. More recently, I picked up the feed for Slashdot, plus subscriptions to the print editions of Wired and Geek Monthly. I occasionally visit a number of other sites, including The Escapist, Journalista, and MacUser. (And that’s all on top of the design sites, traditional news sites, and web comics, which I won’t even get into here.)

Clearly, though, I’ve been more deeply involved with the comic book and video game scenes than the others. So I turn to you: got any suggestions for cons and web sites I should visit to get a better angle on what’s geeky about TV, film, and/or computer culture and industry?

3 thoughts on “Which Blogs and Cons Should I Be Visiting?

  1. My own prejudices are showing, but the MAKER Faire (run by MAKE magazine, naturally) might be a good idea. I don’t know if I’d necessarily recommend DEFCON. I haven’t been, but the hardcore security nerd is sort of a different breed from the geeks you might find at these other cons (although of course they adopt some of the same culture). But maybe that’s a good thing. They also tend to be really paranoid about going on record with anything, though.

  2. Thanks, and good suggestion. I have to be in San Francisco in late May anyway, so maybe I could swing that trip. Otherwise, I might just see about dropping by a Make:Philly event. Which reminds me, I should probably also check out Philly’s Dorkbot chapter.

    I am looking for a wide range of interviewees (including those who don’t consider themselves geeks/nerds), and I actually did manage to interview a regular Defcon attendee at one point. He had me email a scan of my student ID and transcript to prove that I was not with the FBI. I am cool with that. Generally my interviewees remain anonymous in my papers, too, unless they prefer otherwise and it’s relevant to name them.

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