We had another amazing year at Anthrocon 2013 in Pittsburgh!
Let's start with some statistics:
My primary responsibility at Anthrocon is to manage The Operation Office, known more informally as "Con Ops". Among other customer service-oriented functions, we also handled Lost and Found and Volunteers. This year, we tried splitting those tasks off into their own areas. Lost and Found was headed up by Jasper Blue, while Volunteer Coordination was run by Kasi Frost.
Both of these ideas worked out really well. Jasper kept track of all lost and found items in a spreadsheet and was able to more effectively assist people who came by Con Ops looking for lost items. (You'd be surprised how many cell phones are lost each year...) On the volunteer side of things, Kasi came up with some new ideas for managing volunteers, and was able to capture detailed data on how many volunteer hours were put in on each day of the convention, and in what departments. It will help us plan volunteer requirements better in future years.
I stepped things up a bit on the social media side this year and that investment paid off quite well. I tried a few new things for the first time:
1) Many many tweets. I used HootSuite to manage our social media accounts. In addition to just posting, I scheduled 60+ posts to be sent out on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus over the course of the convention announcing major events, Guest of Honor panels, and announcements for the Fursuit Parade. Since it can take 30-45 minutes to get to Hall A from The Westin due to elevators, I set up HootSuite to start tweeting announcements about the parade early Saturday morning, and increased the frequency of the tweets and posts through the 1:50 PM "door closing" time. I'd like to think that helped increase turnout at the parade.
2) Customer Service. Since my iPhone can be set up as an Internet access point, I did so and then used my iPad to watch the various social media sites. When a concern about Anthrocon came up, I was able to address it in near real-time. For example, there was a miscommunication between about water bottles being allowed in the Dealers Room and attendees with them were turned away at the door. As soon as I saw it mentioned on Twitter, I was able to relay it to our Security Chief who then let the rest of people on security know that personal water bottles were allowed. Total time to resolve: 10 minutes. I was able to address other issues and answer questions during the convention in this manner as well.
Something I noticed this year was many attendees seemed just plain happy. A double digit number of people came up to me during the convention just to say "thanks for having the convention". That warmed my heart.
Were the pictures here not enough? Do you want to see the full collection? Here you go:
This one seems to have caught a lot of people by surprise, seeing that I do not identify as a brony.
What many people were not aware of was that Anthrocon and BronyCon didn't just swap advertisements in their convention books and tables in their respective Dealers Rooms, but we are swapped staff members. BronyCon's Operations Director was working for me in the Operations Office this past Anthrocon, and I will be working for BronyCon in their VIP Relations department (VIPR) in just a few weeks. Their convention comes off as being exceptionally well organized for being just 3 years old. I suspect that I will learn some new things while working there.
Other than BronyCon, I expect to be at FurFright, MidWest FurFest, and hopefully Nordic Fuzzcon in the next few months. They're all as great as they sound, and I hope I'll see you there.