How, indeed. How to go to an anime convention and promote a website that stands firmly against the most firmly held cartoon-related beliefs of nearly all of its attendees? After that panel, I still don't really know. But in any case, I brought fliers that only say the mean things people have said about us on the internet! At the start of the panel I went around the room handing these out and the reactions were interesting. A couple people laughed, someone asked me "did people actually say this stuff?" (they did) and one guy who I thought was saying yes was actually saying no, and insistently refused the flyer. Did he know us? Maybe so!
Let's get to the conditions of the panel: we were up against the Masquerade and the Evangelion movie. Looking out from the panel I saw a sea of red press badges, and when we did a show of hands, it turned out our crowd was composed almost entirely of other bloggers. Some old acquaintances of mine showed up, and they left fast. A lot of people left fast.
So then let's get straight to the issues, which we've talked about at length amongst ourselves since the panel. This was a first shot, so it was rocky. The panel itself was too big (ten people!), and it didn't really help that we all took turns answering questions: I think we got through three out of many, and when we were finished I felt like we'd only really finished our personal introductions. Blogging had only kind of entered the picture by the time we'd finished.
Around the end, we got to the kind of situation we hope to establish on these sites: a utopia where we aren't all broken up into cliques, where have a respectful discourse, tolerant of criticism, that we can all gain something from. Obviously Colony Drop took a couple of shots: the first was "well, you can't just make inflammatory posts and troll!", at which both the audience and the panelists' eyes went to me. Another time it was "you guys can take all the negativity and the rest of us cool kids will have all the productive discussion!" Ah, boy. I guess things like this are part of the job. If you can't read the air with CD, man, there's nothing I can do to help you. I didn't really get a chance to adequately explain (I told the crowd to "troll what you believe in" which doesn't quite say it), so I'll tell you this: we at CD aren't trolling-- we do essentially believe the stuff we say, I really do feel that way about Haruhi and Key-- but we aren't taking ourselves (or anime) overly seriously either. We're having fun. You should be too.
Speaking of which, here is my practical advice to the prospective anime blogger, which I regret not having gotten to in the panel (with the exception of "swear more so that you get hits from people looking for porn"):
Like I just said, have fun. If you aren't having fun, stop what you're doing and try something else. Write to entertain your audience, not to feel good about yourself. Try new things: don't stick yourself in the past, the present, the future, a genre, a weird otaku fetish, whatever. Just don't get stuck. There is always something interesting to post about: you just haven't thought of it yet. Blogging about blogging (like this post) is almost always a bad idea, because unless your audience is entirely bloggers, you will bore the hell out of them.
In any case, it was a good first try. I had a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to the next one of these: hopefully we'll get a little more done.