Staying in Touch After Con!
Some of us still remember the dilemma of how to stay in touch with new friends after summer camp. We traded addresses (you know, for snail mail and postcards), and eventually emails, once that finally got popular. I was ahead of the curve and had little business cards printed out with my very first email on them for new friends and counselors. Today it's a little easier to keep in touch with smart phones, texting, and dozens of social media apps.
Personally it's still easiest for me to hand out a business card in order to direct people to my social media and email. I’ve also ensured that all my social handles are the same, to make it easier to find me on different platforms. The only thing that confuses people I’ve known for a while is my pen name! So if you go by a pen name or screen name, just let folks know that they may come across your muggle name online, and not to fret.
If you don’t have the money to spend on business cards, or can’t justify them, just searching for the person you’re trying to stay in touch with and friending them is the best plan. If you have the time, verify name spellings, and maybe send them a quick private message to remind them who you are. Another good idea, especially for people taking a lot of cosplay photos is to ask the cosplayer if they have a username on the platform you post to. By snagging their username then you can tag them in the photo or mention them in the text so you can find them later, and they can find you.
You can also create a contact for them in your phone or on your smart device. And better yet, ask to snap a quick photo of them to add to the contact so you have a visual reminder of who they are. After a convention or event, panelists, creators, guests, industry, and staff have seen and talked with so many people that even if they really want to stay in touch, remembering one face in the sea of hundreds can be difficult. So adding that you met in line for that Sci-Fi panel, or bumped into each other at on a food run can help spark that recognition.
Once a convention is over go through your stack of acquired business cards, and new social media contacts. Send a few messages and figure out what contact info you may have missed. Sometimes you can reconnect with people on groups, or by searching a convention’s hashtag. This is made a bit easier if you’re a cosplayer and you know that other people took your photo, or the photo of the person you’re trying to find. Most of all, don’t be afraid to reach out! And don’t be discouraged if you aren’t responded to right away. Sometimes it takes people a bit to get back into work and daily life after a convention, since they have a lot to catch up on.
Quick Tip Review:
Business Cards or slips of paper with all your public contact info
Keep social media usernames similar across platforms
PM new contacts and friends
Take a photo so you can put a name with a face
Remember where you met the person
PM or message after the convention
Search groups or hashtags to find people you don’t have contact info for