Tips: Keeping Connected at Comic-Con

Spider-Man answers his cell phoneComic book convention season has begun, and I’ve updated my Tips for Comic-Con with a bunch of ideas for keeping connected during and after the con. Smartphones, live-blogging and social networking have changed expectations and added a new set of challenges to the crowded event.

Getting Online

  • Wi-Fi is available in some parts of the convention center (which ones varies year to year). It’s frequently jammed, though.
  • If you see both free wifi and a paid hotspot on a service you already subscribe to, go with the paid service. It’ll be less crowded.
  • If you need to get online but can’t connect on the convention floor, hit a nearby hotel lobby.
  • Hotel internet access is often faster early in the morning than late at night, because no one wants to get up early to go online. That’s the time to upload your photos.
  • Cell reception can vary a lot by carrier in some convention centers, especially those with basement exhibit halls (Long Beach, I’m looking at you.)

Social Networking

  • If you want to update multiple social networks from the con, don’t spend time posting to all of them on a busy connection. Pick one and have it sync to the others using built-in connectors or IFTTT.
  • Tag your photos by convention+year and topic. Examples: Comic-Con 2013, #SanDiego, #cosplay, #SDCC, #StarWars.
  • Look for photo pools/groups dedicated to the convention (ex: SDCC on Flickr) or topics.
  • If you aren’t posting photos instantly but do want to share them, post them nightly or as soon as you get home. Interest drops off quickly after the con is over.

Hardware

  • Set your phone to vibrate and text instead of calling. You won’t be able to hear it ring or carry on a conversation on the main floor. Even then, you’ll want to check frequently for messages you’ve missed.
  • Bring a spare battery for your camera so you can swap it out in the middle of the day.
  • Make sure you bring chargers and data cables for ALL your electronics. Charge your phone every night, even if you don’t think you need to.
  • If you heavily use a power-hungry phone, carry a battery extender so you can recharge without finding a socket.
  • Save battery by turning off or slowing down notifications that you won’t be keeping up with during the con. If you only plan to check (for instance) Facebook in lines and after hours, you don’t need your phone checking every 5 minutes while you’re on the floor.

Head over to Speed Force for the full list of Comic-Con tips!

See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups

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