The important difference? Twitter.
Suddenly, there was a second Readercon occurring below the surface of the regular one. Dozens of people (I haven't done a census, but—50? 60?) issued thousands of tweets at the con, noting what was seen in the hallways and reporting on what was said on stage. But it was more than just journalistic; it was engaged. There was agreement, disagreement, even conversation among Twitterers.
At Readercons past, I always regretted not being able to split into multiple me's so that I could attend more than one panel at the same time. This year, I could, able to sit in one room and follow what was happening in the room next door. I was at both a meat and a virtual convention. This may not be the future we dreamed about, but it's certainly exciting in its own way.
I was late to Twitter, only starting early this year, and have so far attended three cons while using it—Balticon, HWA's Stoker Awards, and now Readercon. I believe that it has forever changed the way I'll attend conventions.
Last night, in a dinner held by the Readercon committee, I pulled out my iPhone and showed the organizers this underground con, which none of them was aware of. And now I'm going to share it with you.
Here are my 10 favorite tweets from Readercon. (Though I'll admit I haven't read every one of the many thousands, so if I missed your brilliant 140-character nugget, please forgive me!)
I even enjoyed the comments from those who couldn't make it to Readercon this year. There were many of those plaintive tweets, and even they changed the tenor of the con.
Here's my favorite:
I can't wait to see how this changes next month's Worldcon in Montreal!