Friday, September 16, 2011

Need Your Help! Feedback on Speak out

Speak Out with your Geek Out began with a single drop of creativity. Today, from where I sit, I'm floating happily along in an ocean of laughter, smiles and friendship. For that? I thank you muchly. (See: the answer to why is a raven like a writing desk.)

The majority of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. There have been a few critical conversations that highlighted deeper issues within the community but that is to be expected from an event that got a lot of attention. Speak Out got a signal boost earlier in the week which amplified people's knowledge about it. Geek Dad on Wired.com blogged about it, John Kovalic from Dork Tower drew a strip about it, Matt Forbeck interviewed me for GeekDad and Jennisodes podcast hosted me for a special chat.

In my mind, what has happened here can and should happen again. Many people would like this to be an annual event. There have been other conversations about going above-and-beyond what this event is. For that? I need your help.

Everything that was done: interviews, comic, writing, hosting, logo, etc. was donated or done on a volunteer basis in an extremely short span of time. Please keep that in mind when you're answering my questions. You can either comment below or answer these on your blog and link to them in the comments.

(1) Do you feel Speak Out was a positive experience? Why or why not?

(2) Would you like this to be an annual event?

(3) Did you understand participation was voluntary? That there was a reason why "geek" was never defined?

(4) Is there anything that can be done differently for next year?

(5) If your answer to (4) was yes, how would you feel about a Kickstarter to help fund those goals?

16 comments:

  1. I'll be honest and say I didn't have time to follow it as much as I wanted to, so didn't see much of the critical conversation you're talking about.

    From my admittedly distanced view I think it was positive. I can't see anything wrong with an event that's designed to highlight and celebrate the things people are passionate about.

    I think it would be a shame it it weren't an annual event. One shot is all fine and good, but I think you've got something here that deserves to happen again.

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  2. 1. Yes, very much yes. I haven't been able to post each day as I wanted to do originally. I've enjoyed reading the random geeky tweets and blog posts of others. I especially had fun with my post yesterday.

    2. Yes, yes please.

    3. Yep! Whilst I disappointed myself by not talking about 5 different geeky things this week, I like that there was no pressure at all to participate. One could just enjoy reading others.

    4. I'm not sure about that one. I'd have to think about it longer. Maybe more community reach out about it to non-Twitter/FB uses (I volunteer to help). Hrm. I think I have an idea.

    5. I would be happy to contribute to a Kickstarter.

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  3. (1) Positive experience?
    Yes! It was so cool to see people being passionate about their diverse interests.

    (2) Annual event?
    YES! Yes, lots. And I think September is a good time, because it lines up with lots of back-to-school angst for lots of folks, and having a little boost of geek pride/support is well-timed.

    (3) Voluntary? "Geek" undefined?
    Yep, clear and fine. I love that "geek" didn't mean "knows lots about [this one narrow thing]"

    (4)Next year?
    More publicity maybe, but the word-of-mouth was great. Maybe a way to display links on the SOWYGO website to be less vertical, or a way to tag them, or search links for key words. I'd love to find the other folks who were doing geeky fabric related things.

    (5)Kickstarter?
    I love Kickstarter, goats are cool, so sure!

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  4. 1. Yes, very much so. I had a blast both writing my posts and reading all the others, I came across some very interesting people through this.

    2. Yes, please. I'm already looking forward to it.

    3. leaving geek undefined was great because it allowed us to write about what we consider geeky - there are some common points, but a lot of variety and I love that.

    4. I think I would have liked one post per day on this blog, to make the list of comments a bit more manageable. Something like a Mr Linky list would have worked great for this as well, I think.

    5. Kickstarters are cool :)

    Thank you for coming up with this, hosting it and for not making it female geeks only. It was a lot of fun :)

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  5. Yes, I very much enjoyed posting - mostly on my "Fiat Knox" account on Livejournal and on Facebook - on the numerous geek subjects held dear by me.

    I'd love this to become an annual event, because I haven't even covered half the things over which I geek out.

    I could leave the term undefined quite happily. If people could enumerate all of my interests, they'd never run out of them.

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  6. (1) Absolutely! In addition to letting me gush about Steampunk, I met some really great geeks with such a broad array of interests just by taking part in the event!

    (2) Yes! Speak Out was absolutely delightful. I only had time for one post, but I'd have loved to post all five days. An opportunity to explore new geeky interests for next year would be amazing. =]

    (3) Yes. And yes. I'm glad "geek" was never given a dictionary definition. We can assess what we deem geeky and what interests we can be proud of (or hide in a closet until an event like this. =P)

    (4) A geek post directory. The blog and FB event were great, but if there was a forum or something of that nature where other geeks can come and read the posts in one place, that would be neat.

    (5) Kickstarter is amazing, and I recommend it for any artsy, geeky, and independent movements. I'd support it!

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  7. This was extremely positive. I am not a writer or blogger, I am an artist and musician. I challenged myself to share about my creative geek life and wrote something every day to help celebrate. It got me moving, got me creating. To me, this is hugely positive. The sheer amount of other geeks doing the same was very inspiring.

    You can read the rest here: http://suzannar.tumblr.com

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  8. (1) Do you feel Speak Out was a positive experience?

    Absolutely. I'm still regretful over not getting to it until the last day, because once I opened up to it, my creative juices were fueled by all the positive energy. The gears are still going, in fact.

    (2) Would you like this to be an annual event?

    At the very least, if not an ongoing thing. #SpeakGeek is a universal language, and while no one is expected to sustain and push and promote the SOwyGO (So we go?), it should be part of ongoing culture. It should be something we think about each day, before we flame or troll or insult one another.

    I know I'm a late comer to this, but I'm just getting started, and will feature some #SpeakGeek posts during next week as a means of catching up. (Assuming that's okay and doesn't diminish what this cause was all about)

    (3) Did you understand participation was voluntary? That there was a r was never defined?

    Check and check.

    (4) Is there anything that can be done differently for next year?

    Getting the word out sooner. Giving people more venues to "geek out" -- you tube videos, forums, etc. Creating a commercial/media campaign to promote GeekWeek. Launching a temporary podcast. Just brainstorming here...not expecting all of this (based on people's abilities to volunteer time/services).

    (5) If your answer to (4) was yes, how would you feel about a Kickstart those goals?

    Yes, a Kickstarter would be suitable.

    Personally I'd love to see the SOwyGO blog continue to put out positive vibes throughout the year -- maybe gentle reminders that we should all continue to be good to each other.

    Or is that too much to ask of the community? Is it even silly to suggest it?

    (Although, if you ever needed someone to manage a SOwyGO blog with regular updates during the down time, I know someone who would volunteer for the opportunity to do so.)

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  9. @The Secret DM - If you want to blog next week, that's totally fine. More to come on the other fronts soon.

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  10. 1)I really enjoyed posting. I think this was a great way to bring a community of like-minded people together. It was also a great way for people to learn about other hobbies. :)

    2)I think it should be an annual event.

    3)Yes.

    4)I liked the way it was, but agree with some of the other comments (promoting the event sooner would be a good thing).

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  11. I understand a lot of you wished you'd known about this earlier. I first posted about the idea (e.g. no tagline, no website, no logo) on August 31st. From there, the event went viral and we've been relying only on free networks and volunteers to help. Impossible to reach everyone in time. :)

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  12. (1) For sure

    (2) YES! Maybe even more often if you have enough help!

    (3) I love that geek wasn't defined. I think a person can be a "football geek" or a "fashion geek" just like a person can be a "book geek" or a "sci-fi geek."

    (4) I'm just going to throw suggestions out there. I don't know how many people you have to help you or what direction you want to go in, so feel free to disregard any/all of them.

    Perhaps a linky-type thing? Was there one, I don't know? Like a master user-edited list of posts that is prominently available.

    Maybe you could do like #reverb10 and have people volunteer for different levels of things - the least-involved level is volunteers who only volunteer during the event and look out for posts, comment on them and promote their favorites via twitter, Digg, etc. That way people can help even if they can't commit to a lot of work.

    I think it would be cool if you had a newsletter people could subscribe to so we can continue to hear about it during the year.

    Perhaps you could keep interest going all year long by doing monthly (or so) events/posts/etc.

    It would be cool to have a featured post every day during the event from a geek "celeb" like the vlogbrothers, Wil Wheaton, GeekDad, whomever. You could also use these throughout the year to keep interest up.

    (5) I've never been a huge fan of Kickstarter for some reason, but if you want to do that, I wouldn't disagree. I've been in fundraising for three years so if you want help with this, shoot me an email (actually, I'd be willing to help with a number of things - coordination, social media, recruitment, etc). Another thing you could do is a donation drive - where if you donate $5 you get entered to win donated prizes - like cds, books, ad space, etc from cool people who support SOWYGO.

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  13. (1) The general population got some great media coverage; on the individual perspective, I got to "level up" in my geek community connections and virtually meet some awesome people with great advice and great support for the geek spirit (like you, Monica). Undoubtedly successful.

    (2) How could this *not* be an annual event? By the time next year rolls around with some more advance and outspoken publicity, we could reasonably acquire three to five times the participants we had this year. For that matter, since we love our geek pride the way we do, why not semi-annual? It just seems to me like the Internet evolves so fast that this would keep better pace with the media timeline. Or not. When I get really pumped about things I start not making sense.

    (3) I loved the "spineless" geek definition (not using that adjective in a negative connotation). In my opinion it convinced a lot more people to jump in the boat than otherwise, since not everyone's into anime or sci-fi or video games or what-have-you "traditional" 80s definitions of geeks. Being a geek really is fundamentally about actually enjoying life and living it with a passion for something beyond the mundane.

    (4) To make SOGO better next year: even more participants, even more publicity (I second the ad campaign/podcast motion), even more media coverage (hit up the big news sites), and some optional but awesome funky swag like T-shirts and pens. Don't know how well they would or wouldn't catch on, but if the NaNoWriMo folks can sell merchandise for an Internet-only event, then it's certainly doable for us. I also second any suggestions about (lighter) ongoing reminders or announcements throughout the year to keep spirits high. Perhaps a community message board/forum?

    (5) KickStarter, RocketHub--whatever it takes, why not?

    *(6)* I love getting my hands dirty in anything multimedia, even just for the chance to try out something new and different. Writing and publicity is more of my applicable skill area anyway--I'm sure SOGO would benefit from a logo contest/poll, something that can be held prior to each SOGO event so we can get different designers and fresh web 2.0-esque takes on the event's meaning. Please keep me posted on any opportunities to assist with promotional activities or nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes stuff that needs to get done. SOGO is a part of my geek soul now. Thank you Monica for all that you've done and for involving me as you did.

    -AJ

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  14. (1) I do consider it positive, making all of us think through what our own geekery meant. I agree with the person upthread who said it was difficult to find enough time to write, and even more difficult to read as widely as I'd have liked to, of other people's geekspeaks.

    (2) It would be a shame not to make this an annual event, although (as I'm going to post about today), I have minor misgivings about its potential longevity.

    (3) I think you could do worse than discuss with OCLC an adoption of their definition of geek -- which in no way limits the varieties of but nevertheless gives it shape which I think is beneficial:
    (http://geekthelibrary.org/ ...
    1. To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for.
    2. To express interest in.
    3. To possess a large amount of knowledge in.
    4. To promote.)

    (4) I'm pretty braindead here for new ideas, but upthread are some awesome ones I hope will be adopted. :)

    I truly hope there is some better way to help us find others' speakout posts, perhaps guided by self-defined topic headings and tags?

    (5) Yes on Kickstarter. It's good publicity and helps set the stage for it all, as well as helping determine the extent of interest.

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  15. I think this is fabulous and I can't wait to get involved! I'll send brownies:)

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  16. I wish I'd known about it sooner! :( But annual event? Yes, please!

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