When you think about conventions you think of a bunch of sweaty fat dudes nerdgasming over new and exciting news and getting to see some of their favorite celebrities in whatever said medium is. A few years ago I had only been to one of these, It was a small sci fi convention in Baltimore MD, I loved walking around the dealers room, and there was a cool local comic artist that I talked to for a while, but I didn't know many people.
About a year later the first videogame convention was coming to the east coast, PAX East 2010. I was going with my roommate and girlfriend at the time. I had been reading Destructoid for a while at that point but hadn't delved into the pit of despair that is the community. We had talked about trying to find stuff to do during the nights of PAX not knowing what it would be like, even though I wasn't a real member of the community and was just a front page reader I decided I would go and meetup with some of the Destructoid people, Basically I was just hoping to meet some of the people I had read and heard on podcasts at the time.
That year I followed Hamza and some other people on twitter, showed up for Hamza's Pie eating panel and introduced myself, the Dtoid crew was all hanging out at an UNOs pizza that night (Friday). so I showed up. I didn't know anybody but I sat with some people and chatted for a bit, I ended up being there for the legendary moment of which Seth Killian drunkenly (and jokingly) threatened me to punch me in the face and then proceeded to shove his face into his bowl.
I left soon after that. What with it being my first big con, and wanting to go to early panels on saturday, I met up and joined in on the group photo saturday afternoon, (I think the corner of my head ended up in that photo). That night the plan was to go back to unos. Destructoid had the entire back section to hang out and drink in which was awesome, however I still didn't know anybody. I saw one community member go out for a smoke early in the night and decided the next time he went out I would go and strike up conversation. That was when I met Jon Bloodspray. He introduced me to some community members and we got along well enough that I decided that night I would join the community.
After PAX that year I joined the forums and then with graduation and trying to find work I disappeared for a while. until about early February of the next year. With the next PAX East coming up I wanted to make sure that I knew more people since I had so much fun with the community they year before. I made a new introduction thread on the forums and posted more so that people would know me a little better.
I got to PAX East 2011 before any of my IRL friends from home and was going to meet people at a panel Hamza was on that friday morning. I saw Icarus kills sitting outside the panel who I had met the year before and sat down and said hi. Before I could introduce myself one of the community members who was sitting with him, Danl Haas, recognized me, jumped up and gave me a big hug. It was that moment that I knew how important the community was to me, This wasn't just a site for people to talk videogames, it's a family.
I won't go on any more about how amazing that weekend was, actually going to parties with dtoiders and having my first goodbye from a convention, tears and all. But from then on I was way more active, I went to as many events as I could and to this day try to meet as many fellow dtoiders as possible.
Basically this entire origin story of my coming to dtoid is something that I wanted to post before PAX prime in a couple weeks, it isn't so much to current community members but more to front page readers who maybe have an intrest in the community but are too afraid to either meetup with people from the internet or just aren't sure how to meetup with people, don't worry about being active, just check the front page, check twitter, join a groupme, find out what we're doing, show up and don't be afraid to introduce yourself (to be honest if you are there I'll probably try to introduce myself and make you feel welcome).
Follow me on twitter @mrgobbldigook I'll try to keep it updated with at least my plans with the community.