Gadget Friendly but Techno Impaired
by Kiersten Hallie Krum Here at Lady Smut, we’ve been covering the virtual Romance Festival all weekend, posting recaps and schedule updates and weighing in on the highlights as we go along. It was a fast and furious weekend to be sure, but for my part it began with a lot of whinging over just how the hell this virtual festival stuff happens.
I’m a total gadget girl. Love me a good gadget with bells and whistles and things that go “bing!” And yet, I’m not a huge techno-nerd. I don’t have a tablet, only caved into upgrading to a smartphone because of my social media addiction, and up till three days ago, have had the same web-cam free laptop for nine years. Contradiction? Not really. You see, gadgets are real and tangible and three-dimensional while tech is…very much not. Yes, obviously, tablets etc themselves are three-dimensional and tangible, but the worlds to which they provide access require a leap in cognition and that’s where they lose me. Which makes the fact that I”m the IT department at Krum Casa more than a little ironic, though admittedly, it’s basically being the one-eyed king in the land of the blind.
But I’m big on figuring things out and solving the puzzle for myself. Gimme a map and let me discover he journey on my own, which explains why I refuse to get a GPS and let a mechanical voice tell me where to go. Plenty of people on the Interwebs already more than happy to do that. I learn by doing, not by listening or reading instructions because I’m visual orientated and need to see it to do it. It doesn’t help that I get pretty snarly and dismissive when I don’t get something right off the bat. So you can imagine when faced with the busy list of things happening over the course of two days on multiple platforms from blogs to Twitter to Facebook to Google Hangouts often at the same time and all for a Romance Festival that was based in London with HarperCollins UK, it took only a few lines of information for my id to throw up its hands and wail, “I don’t geddit!” Facebook isn’t a live forum. How can it host a live conversation? What is a Google Hangout (no web cam, remember?)? How do you chat on a static blog post? Ow. My head hurts.
Needless to say, with more than a little help from my friends, I got it figured out and was able to take in and be a small part of the Romance Festival. All it really took was getting the hell out of my own way. Which is usually the case, isn’t it? We are so often our own worst enemies, masters of self-sabotage who kick and scream at the merest suggestion we might have to move out of our comfort zones.
Yet almost in every case, the end result is not only not as complex or confusing as first appeared, but blessed with tangible rewards and self-satisfaction. I’ve gone wailing and gnashing my teeth into almost every big academic and professional decision of my life (and a few personal ones). Every single time, moving past it took a conscious act of will and one filled with angst (and let’s face it, usually booze.) But I’ve never once regretted getting over my damage in order to move forward and have more than once been blessed to discover something far more fulfilling than I could’ve imagined.
For sure, Romance Festival 14 fulfilled on several levels, a virtual conference for writers and readers chock full of fun and information that didn’t require an extra baggage fee to get all the swag and free books home. An added bonus of being virtual is that most of the chats and posts can be viewed post facto. The video chats have even been archived on youtube, like Cindy Gallop’s fascinating chat “Make Love Not Porn” which was so expertly recapped by our own Alexa Day when she told us why Cindy Gallop Rocks My World.
And be sure to follow Lady Smut and check out all our posts covering the festival activities. We’ll be here all week! No, seriously, you’ll have all week to peruse the Romance Festival posts while we take the week off in true post conference recovery style.