XKCD Meetup

Well, I survived. My best estimate is that 700-800 people were there at the event’s peak, which was far more than I expected. I suspect that the SWIL equivalents at nearby academic institutions helped mobilize everyone.

There was a preponderance of geeky t-shirts, not just ones from XKCD. I was weird in that I was wearing a boring, collared polo shirt. On the other hand, I didn’t want to be “that guy” and wear a shirt from the comic. Plenty of people did that for me.

There was a big wall of signatures – somewhere, on one of them, is a simple “UltraNurd was here.” If someone chooses to google that, they will find me.

I chatted for a while with and ; their presence was not at all surprising, since they live only a few blocks away. I also ran into Mark R., class of something recent; he was at the Swarthmore alumni event a few weeks ago.

I did not see there anywhere, but she actually took pictures, and I forgot my camera.

The age cohort was not very diverse (a very fast fall-off over the age of… 25, I’d say). A much better male/female mix than I usually see at geeky events; I suppose that’s an indicator of XKCD’s broad appeal (as opposed to say, Penny Arcade, which to my knowledge is a very male audience).

There were a number of amusing things going on – a tape measure extension contest; some guy wrote out the DeCSS code on a sidewalk; lots of humours signs, posters, and shirts, and generally just a SWIL-write-large kind of crowd. The spectacle alone was entertaining.


6 responses to “XKCD Meetup”

  1. yeah, I was definitely above the median age, but I did see a number of my friends who were of the older group, so G and I weren’t the only ones.

    you can also link to my flickr page if you like. I’ve got more photos of the event there. There will be a flickr group for photos at some point, assuming based on chalkings on the ground.

  2. I read Penny Arcade, but i see your point. I was a little surprised by the gender balance too — much closer than one gets at, e.g., system administration conferences. I wonder how much MIT’s recruiting strategies swing the local demographics in any given year…

  3. Well, I love Penny Arcade! Especially the blog. I mean, even when I don’t know what he’s talking about, Gabe’s snark is so…vivid and creative!

  4. I think you’re wrong on the ages. I was there, and all but two of the people I spent any significant time with who were also there were over age 25, many of them significantly so. I can count at least 20 people in their late 20s and 10 over 30 in the group of people I know well and with whom had spontaneous reunions with at the meetup. From the folks I ran into, randomly interacted with, etc., beyond that, to me it felt like a diverse age range, from collegiate on up, with heavy weighting in the 20’s and 30’s and early 40’s.

  5. I obviously wasn’t doing any scientific counting; I’m just estimating that it was around 7:2:1 <25:25-35:>35, in part based on the number of young people wearing shirts indicating their college affiliation. I didn’t really stand and chat; I made several circles of the crowd, although admittedly I was consistently going counter-clockwise. I wasn’t saying that there weren’t older people, just that it was mostly students.

  6. consistently going counter-clockwise

    … is that LHR positive?

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