So This Thing Happened...

As I write this, I am listening to SNL's Weekend Update anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, discuss the best time of the week with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. Their reply? 1am Sunday morning because there's nothing like the feeling of relief after pulling off a show. 

Overall, I'm very happy that I was able to pull it off. As with any live event, though, it was not without its hiccups. Perhaps they stood out more to me because I was the most invested, but such is the case with these things. 

When setting out to put on the show, I was determined to find a venue with proper internet. After my interaction design show last semester where my Processing sketch crashed because of spotty internet, I knew I needed to be more careful with my venue selection. Turns out, though, when you're looking for venues just a month in advance, your priority becomes actually locking down a place over their internet connectivity. I figured I could get around the internet problem by renting a mobile hotspot device, thus I wouldn't need to rely on the venue.

I rented a hotspot online and was supposed to pick it up on Saturday (11/7 aka the day before the show). Turns out, the pick-up location decided to change their minds and stop operations on Saturdays, but neglected to let their customers know. So I was stuck on a Saturday with no hotspot. Long story short, several Best Buy and Sprint store trips later, I was able to get a device from Verizon which assured me that the area my venue was in had full 4G coverage - enough to support the type of operations I was aiming to do for the show (Twitter streaming and video chatting, mostly).

We ran a tech day-of using the venue's internet and, weirdly enough, everything worked great. Our Skype pre-interview was flawless, the twitter stream worked fine. I figured the hotspot wouldn't be needed, especially because it was not getting even close to the full service it required to be effective. During the show, I suppose an influx of devices connected to the network caused things to bug out. I'm not entirely sure what happened.

Despite the tech hiccups and background improvising that occurred (including having to switch computers last minute), the show went over pretty well. Did a show happen? Yes. Did people enjoy themselves? Yes, it seemed so at least. 

I would have loved a larger turnout, but with essentially a week and a half of outreach, this wasn't too bad. 

A rough look at my survey results are interesting. I don't think every single person in the audience was able to take it, but I still got a decent number of responses. The majority confirms what I thought at the beginning - most are registered and intend to vote in the Presidential elections. Past voter behavior, however, indicates that there is a sharp dropoff in numbers in terms of those who vote in presidential elections (~80%) and those who vote in state and more local elections (~50% or less). I know it was long, but I needed the information and I think there are some interesting patterns to be seen. I will be meeting with my advisor (who was not able to attend, unfortunately) to go over what needs to be asked in the follow up survey. 

In terms of voter registration, only 1 person actually registered at the event, but multiple people were walked through the process and said they would sign up at home. The Turbovote representative estimates altogether, about 5-6 people signed up which is pretty solid!

All of the hiccups and tech issues and what have you aside, a major, major shoutout to these folks who helped a ton with all of this. Thank you to Lauren, Celine, Ijele, Ernie, and DeAngela for coming out! Much appreciated! 

Celine and I also met separately to digest Sunday's show. We discussed visual references for the game component of her project (which involved, amongst other things, a Zoloft commercial and a Shel Silverstein poem) as well as what our plans are regarding the paper. 

That was a lot of blog to read. Congratulations on making it all the way through to the end (and thank you for reading). Here, have a cookie. 

Sriya Sarkar