San Diego Comic-Con is right around the corner, which means con season is officially in full swing. As a semi-regular con attendee and self-proclaimed socialite, this time of year provides me with ample reasons to experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out.) Whether it’s seeing cosplayers posing for pictures on Instagram or dutifully following hashtags on Twitter, the internet seems intent on reminding me of all the great times I’m missing out on at any random convention. Obviously, it’s impossible to hit up every con, no matter how much you may want. To help you out with these trying times, I’ve compiled a list of ways to deal with your convention season FOMO.
Swag Bags – Just hearing the phrase “swag bag” makes my mouth salivate. What kind of exclusives could this wonderful container hold? Well, truth be told, it usually isn’t as great as you’d expect. The bag is typically emblazoned with the name/banner/mascot of the convention, or in the case of SDCC, an upcoming TV show that you MAY watch if you can remember to DVR it this fall. Inside it will be flyers and an event guide, none of which are useful to you after the weekend.
If despite knowing this, you still feel like you’re missing out, my suggestion is to go to McDonald’s and purchase a Happy Meal toy (Happy Meal is optional.) Try to trade your toy with other McDonald’s patrons, and once you have the toy of your choosing, hang on to it for a week. Keep it with you at all times. Cherish it. After the initial week, realize it’s a worthless piece of junk and ditch it in the nearest trashcan. Congrats, you’ve just experienced what it’s like to have a swag bag.
Celebrity Guests – Is your favorite actor/actress, writer, artist, etc. appearing at a convention you can’t attend? Don’t fret! Many of these people utilize social media and are more than happy to interact with the occasional fan. Follow them on Twitter (it tends to be less regulated by publicists than Facebook) and try engaging them in conversation with a reply to one of their Tweets. If they reply to you, bask in the satisfaction that unlike at a convention where you wait hours in line to meet, they weren’t required to acknowledge you. Rather, they CHOSE to speak to you, because you are awesome!
No one replying to your super witty tweets? That’s okay, too! Turn on a Youtube video of one of their interviews and pretend they’re speaking directly to you. You favorite celebrity loves you almost as much as you love them.
Cosplay – This is the issue I personally have the hardest time getting over. I love to cosplay, and I love to see what others have come up with. While looking at pictures online is certainly an option, it’s not the same as seeing detail-work up close in real life. If cosplay is something you’re really interested in, try to find a local group. Many metro areas have online groups that help cosplayers and photographers meet to network and collaborate, and chances are good they’ll have their own events outside of conventions.
Exclusive Merch – This one’s pretty simple: if you want it bad enough, someone will be selling it on eBay. It’s going to cost you more than face value, but whether it’s worth the mark up or not is a judgment call that only you can make.
Panels – Sometimes you’ll be lucky and the panel you wanted to attend will be uploaded online, but if it isn’t, no need to worry. If it’s a big enough panel (think Hall H), there’s probably a hashtag and hundreds of people willing to live-tweet it. You may miss some sneak preview of an upcoming major motion picture, unless the less scrupulous stealthily take their own videos and manage to not have them immediately taken offline, but really… is the 30 second teaser trailer worth that 5 hour wait outside the panel room? I think not. Relax that morning, sleep in a little late, and rest assured that either they’ll release a full trailer within a couple of months OR enough people will upload the teaser that the studio will sigh in defeat and just uploaded a better resolution version of it to their own account.
Look, feeling like you’re missing out on things is never fun. If experiencing a convention vicariously through others isn’t good enough, or proves to be making you even more upset, you can always disconnect for the weekend. Go outside, play that old game you never finished, read through your backlog of comics – whatever it is you choose to do, just stay away from places you know there will be updates about the conventions. You can always go back through posts to catch up once the FOMO has died down. And remember, the next con is only a year away; start saving now if you want to attend.