At this point, we’re just all beating a dead horse over and over again: there are more than 2000 pictures just in our public Flickr pool, dozens of accounts from mainstream media and bloggers alike, and more Tweets than is ever appropriate. Youtube videos were being put up before stuff even happened. And really, Ryan North already wrote his thoughts on ROFLCon, so what else could I really possibly contribute?
Well. So I thought until I was a) nagged consistently by Diana, b) shamed by Rachel and Carrie’s postmortems, and c) invited to write on the issue for iDC. So here it goes. The following is a slightly revised and augmented version of the email I sent to iDC.
ROFLCon was an idea that Tim Hwang and I came up with while we were at the xkcd meetup last September. We were fascinated by the real world manifestation of this community that had been constructed around a piece of internet culture–the social structures it took on, the way people interacted with each other once they were face to face, and the Stone Soup mentality of the participants involved. It got us joking around about what the rest of the internet would look like in real life (Goatse and Tron Guy and Star Wars kid all in the same room?), which we quickly decided was the most horrifying idea we had ever come up with in a storied tradition of bad ideas. Then we decided to do it–it was just too epic not to.
The image of many internet celebrities in one room was really all that we had in the way of a coherent vision at the beginning, but we decided pretty early on that the “con” in ROFLCon would stand for both conference and convention. We recognized that at some level, we were doing this out of fandom, and that part of the appeal of the event would be being within arm’s length of these internet stars. However, we were also interested in thinking about this stuff at a higher level, and being steeped in academia as we were, it was natural for us to consider a conference-like format with panels and moderators.