So. Mineorama, the Minecraft convention I wrote about in June, was “postponed” under quite dodgy circumstances a mere 5 days before it was scheduled to take place. And when I say postponed, the chances of it ever happening are (in my opinion) slightly less than a snowball’s in hell.
Cue lots of disappointed fans, many of whom had planned summer holidays in NYC just to attend the two-day convention, We were among the lucky locals who were potentially out our registration fees (although it looks like American Express has allowed my claim and refunded my payment) but not air tickets and potentially non-cancellable lodging reservations.
And then something amazing happened. A group of YouTube stars and server vendors who were scheduled to appear or exhibit at the conference put their heads and resources together and in a matter of days pulled together a one-day FREE meet-up for the fans, open to anyone who had proof of purchase of Mineorama tickets.
Space was limited so you had to register for the event, and bring both the YouCube Meetup Eventbrite registration and your proof of Mineorama tickets to the door, but on the day, everything went very smoothly. There was plenty of security managing the entry and meet-up lines, and volunteers kept everything moving to schedule.
Doug was more interested in meeting his favorite YouTube stars than the panels. Here he is with AntVenom:
And with JeromeASF.
I mostly hung around in the “parent lounge,” the floor near an outlet so I could get a little work done, or stood in line holding his place while he scouted the room looking for other stars to get photos with. That strategy ended up paying off big time; he was able to meet the guys slated for the last autograph session earlier in the day so we could scram and get lunch much earlier than we expected. WIN!
We both had a great time. He got to meet some of his favorite YouTubers as well as talk Minecraft with other fans as we waited in line. I loved seeing him have so much fun.
I also love the lesson that this whole affair provided the kids about the Internet — the good and the bad. Especially the good though. We get enough of the doom and gloom fear-mongering about safety and security of the Internet every day. While it is good to be cautious when purchasing anything over the Internet, Mineorama had all the trappings of a legitimate conference. Including relationships with STEM education initiatives and NYC schools. If it was fraud (and I am not saying it was), it wasn’t Internet fraud. It was just fraud. And honestly, I am inclined to believe that the organizers intentions were good, but their execution extremely poor.
But the good. That is the story that matters. The group of folks (MCProHosting, SkyDoesMinecraft and Mineplex) who came together and at their own expense put together the one-day meet-up exemplifies everything that I love about online community. Once you find your tribe, the tribe will be there for you. What could have been utter disappointment for the kids turned into a perfect example of how people can make a difference.
There has been some chatter on Twitter about the YouCube Meetup folks doing a Kickstarter to fund a 2015 meet up. I haven’t seen any details yet, but if they do it, I’m in.