Wednesday, October 4, 2006

BrickJournal's Grand Plan

I've been part of the AFOL community since 2002 - that's when I actually made the jump from the online community to going to an event: BrickFest.

Since then, I have been doing what I can to be a positive part of the community, either by building or by working on events. And I have been able to watch growth happen - and it's been positive and negative.

There is a major dynamic that I have noticed:

Generational - this is most obvious in the American AFOL community. While overall the community is not that old, the US community really bloomed around 2000. It's now 2006, and what that means is that there is a generation's worth of time that has passed.

A brief aside - I worked at the Disney Store in the late 90's, and I learned a lot there beyond simply working. Much of how I do things I learned from there, and not from where I worked for my profession. One of the things I learned was that back then, videos were released every 7 years for a reason - a new generation of kids would be available to see them (and parents to buy them).

How does this affect us? Well, the most obvious effect is that the leadership of community (or aspects thereof) has gotten older...and not adapted. I feel that there really hasn't been any thought devoted to what lies ahead for the community. There are immediate actions done for the next convention or event, but long-range goals are simply not made.

So the big question is: where does the community want to go?

I have been thinking on this for some time. And I have been working to make things happen...

My thoughts have been toward organizing community resources - I have mentioned this to people at LEGO and at BrickFest when I do my roundtable (okay, it's not a roundtable, it's more like I take questions about BrickJournal's Grand Plan®), but my thoughts are not that well-known (and probably not taken that seriously, either).

So here is what I am working on:

BrickJournal: The magazine. Yes, it will be printed. Hopefully by next summer (hey, I was dared, so I have to do it), and the groundwork is being established now. The magazine is planned to be the AFOL counterpart to the LEGO magazines - so there will be an active partnership with the LEGO Group on this. This partnership will maintain the independence of the Journal, so it's a win-win for everyone.

Multimedia - Event DVDs? It's a strong possibility in the next year to have DVDs with footage from events everywhere. I'd also like to see DVD's spotlighting builders - can you imagine a DVD that shows how a builder does a model by showing the builder working on a design and building it - and then having instructions on the DVD? This could be a bonus for subscribers.

Online - BrickJournal needs a true website, and one that has content to enhance stories in the magazine. Also, this would be great to post the quick news that happens between issues. The site would be a great central point for people to learn about the community and hobby.

Offline - The community needs a "Memory Alpha" to keep artifacts and information from the community. Like LEGO keeps the Vault, the community needs to keep an archive. LUGNET has become an archive, but a real archive would be real nice. This would be something for people to gather research to create new projects and events.

Events - Yep, heading there too.

Simply put, if the community wants to go forward, it needs to look ahead and also know where it's been.

and if anyone is interested, drop me a line!

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