Doing that good ole YouTube Thang

I love creating content. I have lots of experience bloggging (writing) as well as designing and marketing, but my newest endeavor is a totally new ballgame. I’ve been working hard with a fantastic team of girls to polish up the Geek Girl Pen Pals YouTube channel. These fine woman are: Jenny, Summer, Joanna and Rosa.

We’ve been crafting a content strategy, tweaking the channel, and most of all – filming dorky and adorable videos. The uncharted waters are really really fun – but it’s just so different for me! My anxiety at first was pretty high, doing something so uncomfortable and foreign. But with some advice from good friends, and my trusty tripod, things seem to be coming together. So here I go, of my comfort zone and into the YouTubes!

Pokemon Tag

I filmed and edited this video about Pokemon! I hope you’ll make your own #PokemonTag videos – link them up in a commment!

Geek Girl Pen Pals at C2E2

Sumsy filmed and editied this video… and it’s also a pretty good representation of the silliness you can see on our channel. In which I cry over Old Gregg. He was playing his love games with me.

I hope you’ll give a like to the videos you love, and a subscribe to our channel. Thanks for staying tuned and leave a comment to let me know what you want us to create, in video form!

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5 things I’ve learned from running a popular online community

You can never tell where a project will go when you first begin it. And when I co-founded the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club in 2013 with my friend from the UK, Farquharson, I had no idea what uncharted waters I’d be traversing, and what new skill sets I’d be forced to develop as a result. The club is by far one of the best parts of my life now. I’ve learned so much from the staff, taking on challenging new projects, and tackling problems as a team. It’s been a real roller coaster, with ups and downs, and of course, crazy butt-clenching scream-your-head-off fun.

I can imagine how someone who is about to embark on a similar journey might be terrified, and I know I myself could have used a few pointers before running blindy, headfirst into this. Don’t get me wrong, the friendship adventures have been well worth it. But in case there is someone else who might need a few tips, here are some of the things I’ve learned from helping to run this magical friendship machine.

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Photo by @rqup

1. Work specifically with people’s talents and personality quirks.
When attemtping to give people work to help your community out, play to their talents. Make sure they are doing something they love, or are good at. I was stupidly surprised to learn that not everyone has the same skill sets that I do. Surprise, surprise, haha! Not everyone is proactive, or creative, or aggressive (like I tend to be). I mean seriously, sometimes I have energy of 1,000 rabid wombats. So make sure, if they are not a wombat type of person, that they have appropriate work loads that cater to their particular skill sets. If they are confused as to what they should be doing, outline work on a task list. You can tell a lot about a person by the little things they say, or what they post online, so find out their unique way, and make sure to give them work that helps to accentuate their talents and passions. Try to keep a balance of many different personality types in leadership roles, especially people who work well together. Additionally, I’m a fan of Myers Briggs tests for compatibility.

halfling
Photo by @earthtogirl

2. Never stop trying new things with the community, because you never know what they will love next.
You might have a plan in mind for the things that the community will do, but always continue to try new things. You never know what new idea might be the next IGGPPCamp (our highly successful annual summer camp). Take tips and pointers from other online communities, or collaborate with them. It can get stagnant for long time members, so always give them something fresh and fun to do. Even if it flops, at least you tried. Consult the community often to see what kinds of new things they want to do, or what new things they want the staff to do. Make sure your staff is all on board, and excited, for new projects. Excitement is contagious, and has a trickle down effect if it comes from the top. Remember to actively take part in the community, and new things, the same way that your members do. This will help with bugs as well, if you can see the process for your users, and help to ensure the flow is flawless.

snail-mail
Photo by @bettercallbecky

3. Shit will go wrong for no reason, or for reasons. Sometimes you will have no control over it.
We all make mistakes, even when we’re supposed to be flawlessly running something. We need to make sure we handle it. If you make a mistake, own it, don’t pretend it didn’t happen. If things start going wrong, due to the drama that tends to crop up online, manage it. Make sure to monitor potential problem makers, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a second chance. If it comes to it, ban trolls or repeat offenders. But remember, we all have bad days, and deserve a chance to redeem ourselves after we’ve cooled off. Appoint level-headed and consistent community members as little baby sheriffs to keep an eye out for potential problems. They will appreciate being recognized for their dedication, and in turn will help to keep the community water clean, and free of tidal waves.

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Photo by @kuriouskatie

4. Cherish your members. Be real with them. Reward them. Without them, you are absolutely nothing.
Always cater to the reason the community exists – the community. They are really the ones running the show. Whatever they want, try to facilitate. Be honest with them. Be transparent. Reward them for being loyal and amazing members, either through a nice piece of snail mail or even just an e-pat on the back. Find out what they are doing in the community, and engage. Be present for them not just through the community, but through other social media. They are the real stars of the show, so make sure you’re working for them in as many ways as possible. Hug them. Pet them. Feed them cake.

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Photo by @cori.cee

5. Online communities are like little baby alien creatures that will grow random arms and legs.
The organism that is the online community will grow, change, sprout random limbs, and take on a complete life of its own. Things will go wrong for no reason and things will go right for no reason. Be flexible, understanding, but attentive. You have to keep watch at all times and be vigilant. That alien creature could wonder off into the street and get hit by a car, so take care of your baby. Nurture it, and let is become that freaky critter it can be. Be prepared for the extra and unexpected workload that comes from parenting a cute alien baby. This little creature might even take you out of your comfort zone and into new projects and priorities, but don’t be afraid to try out those new things. Dare to be the best mommy to that alien creature you can be. It might grow and change into something you did not plan, but let it happen. It’s its own thing, after all. Let it all hang out.

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Photo by @dezpresso

Thanks to everyone for your patience and help throughout this entire project. The club has changed a lot, but grown and matured in so many ways. And I want to thank all my new friends, especially my staff members, for being amazing contributors to the success of this community. We’re pretty awesome, iggles. xoxo

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Kawaii Chibi Portraits by Yokokins

As a gift to my co-staffers at the IGGPPC, I was seeking out someone to do custom portraits for our staff page. Lucky for me, my pal Mia came to the rescue and told me about Lisa, aka Yokokins, and her fantastic art!

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Yokokins herself as Princess Celestia!

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Copic Pattern by Yokokins! So beautiful!

I’ve always been the biggest fan of the chibi. Chibi is like an anime styled tiny adorable person. Basically, take a regular style anime person and turn them into an adorable tiny baby version of themselves. Yokokins drew up the 9 staffers at the IGGPPC in this adorable kawaii chibi style! Take a look!

iggles

Farquharson
farquharson

Joanna
joanna

Kara
kara

Kim
kim

Sparkles
sparkles

Stewie (me!)
stewie

Sumsy
sumsy

Toasty
toasty

Valerie
valerie

Make sure to check out how we added the art onto our revised Staff page, like Yokokins on Facebook, and check out Yokokins on Deviant Art!

Also, be sure to like the Geek Girl Pen Pals Club on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the updates about the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club!

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Favorite Fandom Accessories I Own

This week’s edition of 5 Fandom Friday celebrates Fandom Accessories. Accessories are the little things in our life that make it easy to incorporate our love of our fandoms fully into our world. Every where you look – in your kitchen, on your desk, in your jewelry box – the joy is everywhere! I had a hard time choosing just 5 (well, I picked 6 actually) but these are the 5 accessories I chose!

1. Tina Ring from Nerd Burger


Cazz of Nerd Burger is just one of the very best – she’s an awesome girl from Australia who makes fantastic geeky jewelry! She was kind enough to send me a Tina ring, which of course, is awesome. Bob’s Burgers is one of my all-time favorite cartoons, and Mark and I even got tickets to go see Bob’s Burgers live in March! Thanks Cazz <3

2. Barbie Shoe Necklace

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I adore this Barbie Shoe necklace from Pixier and Pixier! It’s so fun, whimsical, and just a little creepy! I love the colors (of course), and the fact that it’s Barbie shoes. Weird and wonderful. Something Luna Lovegood would wear, for sure.

3. Wonder Woman Converse

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I am so glad my friend @thedesignergeek suggested that I get these amazing Wonder Woman converse, because I LOVE them – they’re a perfect compliment and geek chic accessory to so many outfits. I first wore them to the Geekie Awards when the IGGPPC was up for a Geekie! They’re comfy and the artwork on them is just gorgeous. Wonder Woman is such a badass!

4. Lilac Wand from Gipson Wands


I’m a Potterhead and magic lover through and through! Scott of Gipson Wands designs carefully crafted magical wands, complete with unicorn hair and phoenix feathers. (alight, maybe not those!) I have a wand in Lilac wood. A favorite of the forest nymphs, Lilac is sacred to the Greek Twins Gemini. It promotes love and romance <3 <3 <3 Swish, and flick!

5. Monsters Inc Disney Parks Official Mug

monsters-inc-mug
Disney Parks Authentic gear is the best! It always reminds me of my trips to Disney World, and of course, you are only supposed to be able to get it in the parks! I bought this Mike Wazowski mug when Mark and I went on our first vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! It’s one of my absolute favorite memories – Mark and I had SO much fun! I drink coffee out of this adorable Disney mug every day at work. Disnerds, unite!

*BONUS* 6. IGGPPC embroidered pin by Sarah Synapse

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Of COURSE I love repping my Iggles! This fabulous hand embroidered pin by Sarah Synapse is just too cute! And it comes in a multitude of colors! You can get your own pin here!

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Summer camp, Knoebels, and pumpkin fever

CAMP! For those who don’t know, I am organizing an online Summer Camp with the IGGPPC which is a weeklong event of friendship, food, and fantastic webinars and tutorials. You can learn something new and make a friend too!

iggppcamp

IGGPPCamp is many things. It’s a jam packed schedule of webinars, hangouts, blog post tutorials, and challenges. You can learn to create an adorable jointed bear, you can learn to do ballet stretches, you can create friendship bracelets and exchange them with other Iggles, you can partake in a few writing challenges like our Jane Austen letter writing challenge or Ghost Story challenge, you can play games in our online tabletop game tourney or MMORPG Capture The Flag tourney, you can learn to make delicious camp food and s’mores… I could go on, but there’s just way too much. To find more detailed activity descriptions of what’s in store for Camp, check out the details here. In short, it’s going to be a really fun week of learning, doing and bonding!

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Camp runs from August 16-24 – 9 days of fun! And in addition to the fun of camp week, we’ve also paired Iggles into 5 different troops with adorable geeky names, led by 5 dedicated and fun Camp Counselors. Join Buffalo, Mama Jo, Kirby, Belette, and Odie, as they do all sorts of fun camp activities with their troops. You’ll want to go here to read all about each Counselor and their troop.

I remember my Girl Scout Troop and how much fun it was to be in a troop and go camping with those girls! Such memories <3 If you too have fond memories of camp but don't always have time to leave the house, why not join in on the online summer camp fun? IGGPPCamp is for Iggles and Miggles 13+ so join in on the fun and check out dedicated Camp Twitter for updates!

So what else have I been up to? A lot of other things too. In addition to the Geekies which is coming up in just 2 weeks (And we’re almost at our goal, thank you! So please keep donating!) I also went to Knoebels with my mom and grandpa a couple of weeks ago. Knoebels is a super old school theme park in Pennsylvania. I like to call it Redneck Disney. It’s AWESOME – it’s completely free, has a vintage brass ring carousel and carousel museum, a coal miner museum, a really cheesy haunted house, wooden roller coasters – and each ride costs individual tickets to ride. That is how they did it back in the day, folks. You buys tickets for different amounts like 25 cents, 10 cents, 1 dollar – and pay per ride. Plus the food is fantastic! Knoebels is a must see in PA.

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knoebels

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Oh and it’s also kind of turning into Autumn here? I can’t explain, but pumpkin fever is setting in something fierce. I blame Sparkles for giving me the fever.

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