Oh, the internet. It’s just so…internet.
Case in point: I never would have known there was such a thing as DashCon happening near my old hometown (a convention, in their own words, “For Tumblr Users, By Tumblr Users. We are not in any way affiliated with or endorsed by Tumblr,”) had it not started showing up all over my social media this Sunday.
Showing up, that is, because people on said social media thought it was a total disaster. Which it was, at least in terms of social media presence.
The details are exhaustive. You don’t care about the details, unless you’re already invested in this fiasco somehow. If you want to know the details, get on Twitter or Tumblr and follow the #DashCon hashtags, or read one of the many bullet-pointed lists of utter fuck-ups provided by other blogs. It is entertaining reading, in a grim and schadenfreudey kind of way.
All you need to know for the purposes of this discussion is that the hashtag is out there, and that it is full of jokes about what a disaster the convention was and how this sad little ballpit was not an acceptable substitute for the acts the organizers promised and then failed to deliver:
I’m sure there will be lots of back and forth on nichy little sub-blogs that no one reads (like this one!) in the coming days about who scammed who. Front and center of the whole blow-up, the convention apparently begged its own attendees — the ones who’d already paid the $65 admission price — to crowd-fund $17,000 in one night to pay the hotel where the convention was being hosted:
(That’s screenshotted from one of the convention admin’s tumblr pages, mind you, since the official convention tumblr scrubbed it. But you can see the source there in the screenshot if you’re a stickler for accuracy and all that.)
And currently, Lord only knows where that money went or if it was even required in the first place because (and this brings us to the main thrust of our article, here) the staff of this convention — this Tumblr-celebrating, social media fandom convention — has no social media presence.
I’m not even kidding. People started getting weird vibes and posting using the #DashCon hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and of course Tumblr on Friday, July 11. It’s now Sunday, and there are no relevant updates from the official convention staff on any of those. Not only is there no official statement, there have not even been short, small updates acknowledging that there is some sort of problem.
The last post on Facebook is from July 8:
Twitter contains nothing but scheduling notices and general well-wishes for convention panels:
And the Tumblr feed (remembering, of course, that this is a convention about all things Tumblr) hasn’t posted anything but cheery updates about panelists and the game room, most recently this one:
The convention website is similarly blank, and for that matter doesn’t even have a space where a statement might go, although if I were making suggestions I’d throw “right on the goddamn front page with a huge headline in bold text are you even kidding me?” out there as a possibility.
I don’t know how this happened. I mean, I’m willing to forgive a lot of administrative screw-ups, but to screw up and then not communicate via social media, as negative feedback spirals out of control on social media, at a convention that is all about social media?
It left the field wide open for mockery, parody, and fake staff accounts that actually updated, all of which have helped spread the bad press even further.
So my sympathies to the con staff and all, but: why? Why was no one riding Twitter? Why were there no statements on the Facebook page or the official convention website? Why, for the love of god, weren’t you using Tumblr, at a convention all about fucking Tumblr, to respond to questions and concerns?
For actual con-goers there was an explanation panel this morning (in which they begged critics to stop using the #DashCon hashtag), but apart from some wobbly video taken by an unaffiliated attendee in the audience there’s no official record of the convention’s position out there for the rest of the internet that is so avidly watching.
A good, sword-falling statement was called for at least 24 hours ago, and as of Sunday still no sign.
You would think that for $17,000 in crowd-funding they could have paid someone to sit in a room with a laptop and keep an eye on the social media feeds, and maybe get out in front of this crap. Yeah, it’s not the most fun job in the world, but pay someone to do it — or don’t hold conventions based on a mutual use of the social media that you’re not fucking using.
Lesson for all of us here: if you’re seeing your own name, or your organization’s name, in a Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook/whatever hashtag more than once or twice in a given day, pay someone to get a reply to that shit on your official account ASAP. You cannot afford to DashCon.