Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Update on VirtualTinyhouseCon plans

with 7 comments

Sorry it’s been so long, but I am in the middle of searching for an apartment and moving (wish I could use a tinyhouse).

Okay, so so far there seems to be 3 main things to do differently:

1. Advertise better, including further in advance.
Of course reaching people is always a problem. The plan is to at least email as many bloggers as I can (with the help of the list of blogs at the Tinyhouse Wiki). Even if they choose not to post about it, if they blog about tinyhouses they may be interested in coming themselves. I’m also looking into a way to put a handy email reminder thing on the announcement post.

Holding the Con regularly could also help with this, if it just takes place for an hour each week at the same time the information about next scheduled time does not need to be distributed, because we already know.

2. Change the time. Though remember I picked the existing time based on scientific survey data (and some assumptions), there is plenty of room for adjustment. The amount of info about peoples preferences is too scanty right now to make any countervailing decision based on.

3. Sub-theme. It surprised me that people saw that a theme would be good, because I thought we already had one. Using a poll to decide on one means I have to come up with some interesting ones myself. Maybe I can mine the blogs for some, but the exact sub-theme doesn’t seem critical to me, it’s more like a decoration on the wall anyway.

I have tried to find some reading material about doing this sort of thing, but I wasn’t able to find any. It seems like the assumption is that if you wanted to do this sort of thing you would just open the chatroom and leave it there 24/7, because you can. But look at IRC channels. Even on topic in which there are a very large number of people interested, they are almost always devoid of discussion (you can see for yourself at So I’m postulating the existence of a “meeting washout” effect. Without a designated time, people come, see there is no one there, figure this whole IRC channel thing is boring, and never come back. Without other conversants, it stays boring. So when the available discussion time too far exceeds the amount of discussion that can be expected, this washout occurs. I think there is more than enough positively fascinating topic matter for an hour a week here, there are so many fascinating and relevant people and issues. Plus the number of interesting network connections goes up as the square as the number of people present goes up. So the designated times are very important, and should be optimized, but to optimize it requires some changing, conflicting a bit with the need to distribute the info.

No one mentioned that the software platform seemed inadequate, so that’s good news.

edit: hm, I was just thinking, there must be a dynamic by which people figure if it is every week it doesn’t matter if they miss it. That could be an issue. Maybe once every 2 weeks or even month would be better. Hm.


Written by gregor

November 4, 2010 at 13:14

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. The advanced notice is the thing that allows me to place this into my calendar to ensure participation. By receiving notice far enough in advance, I can prevent conflicts by allowing this event to be a priority for my calendar.

    Bill Zaspel

    November 4, 2010 at 14:17

  2. How far?


    November 4, 2010 at 16:45

  3. For me, I’d like two to four weeks of notice, coupled with being beat in the face via advertising with the fact that it’s happening a during those weeks. 😉

    But in all seriousity, I think your #1 will be helpful. And I think you need to do more than write about it. You need to give people something to look at, some color or image or typeface to associate with the event. Not only will that help it stick in people’s heads and give them something to associate with it, but it projects a more…what’s the right word here? A bigger following? A more official/together/legitimate/endorsed event? Like there is a lot of energy and effort being put into it (which you obviously have, you just have to help people see that).


    November 5, 2010 at 11:00

    • Aw, if I did that I would have to wait 2 to four week sfor the next con, though. Oh well, I guess I could. However, it occurred to me that most people will probably hear about the con from other bloggers, and it is there prerogative if/when when they chose to post the notice. I.e. I could sent them and email a 3 weeks ahead, but they may chose not to post.

      However, holding it on a regular basis solves the advanced notice problem.


      November 5, 2010 at 13:07

      • Also, it occurred to me to try to make it look more professional. For example, I don’t like paltalk that much because you would have to wade through the other chatrooms and stuff to get to the Con.

        I also sort of decided to try to keep the naming consistent using the camelcase VirtualTinyhouseCon. Most people have not seen CamelCase, but it can be copied and displayed anywhere.

        But the main attraction must always be the people involved anyway. As long as the software is sufficiently smooth running, I wouldn’t want things to get too… hollow. You know, fancy banners, get my own domain name, a “VirtualTinyhouseCon blog”…. but no one there. Even if I got a camfrog server I might still run it through this blog.

        Also, I’m basically a student right now, so no money (which is partly why I decided against the several $100 for-pay options, though I honestly am skeptical they are any better, and given that they do not have realistic trials I can’t check).l


        November 5, 2010 at 13:25

      • I just noticed that you mentioned you’re planning on doing them on a weekly basis. I think that’s a great idea!! Kind of forestalls the problem of having to plan for one specific day if you know that it happens every This-day at this time.
        It also allows you to build up a little momentum into each week – and you’re right on about other bloggers not posting because they had other posts planned or whatever. By having one Con every week, there’s always an option to bring it up on a blog and for it to become a regular thing in a blogger’s life (ie. “So as I was getting ready for the VirtualTinyhouseCon, this afternoon, I was thinking about…”).
        When I said make it more “professional” (a terrible word to use, actually, because I think the Tinyhouse demographic tend to shy away from anything too corporate or polished looking), I wasn’t encouraging you to sink a bunch of cash into the event (that would be against the Tinyhouse spirit anyway, right? 😉 ), but rather to give the eye something to latch onto and associate with the Con. I agree that you wouldn’t want to have a bunch of flashy visuals and branded stuff with very little human presence. Again, I’m thinking very simple things, like a banner or badge that you can use in a blog post when you’re talking about the Con or give to other bloggers for when they mention it. Other than that, I can’t really think of use for anything else visual or specific to the VirtualTinyhouseCon at this point.
        Also, I just wanted to say thanks for all the effort and work you’re putting in, on top of school and whatever other jobs you may have, to support and connect people interested in tiny houses (for example, your post on zoning was awesome! I’m still working through all of the resources in it). I’m coming from a similar situation (minus the school, but plus some other things) and I know that sometimes it’s easy to feel very alone with this vision. But there are others and we’re here! So thanks!


        November 5, 2010 at 15:47

      • Yeah, I guess some simple visual cue would be nice. I have zero drawing skillz, but maybe I can find some copylefted images like a bunch of tinyhouses together, or a gypsy wagons, or a network graph. Maybe a few of the tinyhouses like one the forum sitting on clouds facing each other to allude to the virtual part, shades of Buddhist astral communions like in “the white ninja”…. and some bonhommes around to symbolize those who are interested but don’t have a house. The bonhommes could be doing different things to symbolize action and real progress in our time…


        November 5, 2010 at 16:49

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