Geek As Citizen: Boost The Signal – Advanced


Last column I discussed the basic ways we could Boost The Signal on good works – reviewing, telling people, gifting/donating, and talking to the creator(s) of the works. Those are basics most anyone can do.

But if you’ve designated yourself a kind of amateur Ambassador for the work or works in questions, there are ways to take it even farther if you’re so inclined.

These ideas require more commitment, and may not be for the casual fan. These are for the dedicated person who wants to take time and make serious effort – something we aren’t always able to do

Team Up: The creator(s) of the work (who, I mentioned you should contact) may be glad to have someone help them out with promotions. Help update a web page, work a table at a convention, whatever. If you believe (and have the time), lend a hand – you’ll probably make new friends too.

Do A Panel: Conventions need panels and events and you and your fellow fans can band together to talk to folks about whatever it is you’re trying to Boost The Signal for. Run a fan panel and let people know why you fan over what you do. By the way, make sure you have a good handout and list of resources.

Run An Event: Maybe what you like is more an event thing, like an RPG. So, run the game or demonstrate the technology at a convention.

Team Up With Others: Perhaps a local convention, a blog, or what have you is willing to do panels or roundups on obscure or notable work. Take advantage of this to team up with others and promote Ten Comics You Should Read, or Five Great Card Games No One Knows About.

(By the way, based on what I learned from the rest of Crossroads Alpha, lists like that get attention, sometimes for years.)

Review: Do you review and critique work? Do you post at websites on such things? Well, go write a (realistic) review of why you like something at the appropriate website. I can point you to a few if you like – and even if you don’t write critique, why not give it a shot and try?

Advise: Sure you talked to the creator or creators of what you’re trying to promote, but what else can you do to help? Maybe your art skills can help with a website redesign. Your knowledge of marketing may let you give tips. Team up and help out!

Network: Hook a creator up with people – always a favorite past time of myself. Help them out by introducing them to appropriate people. Bring them into your LinkedIn Network. Find some way to connect them with others.

Drop The Hint: If there’s a book, comic, game etc. that you like, suggest your local store carry it. It can’t hurt to suggest it after all – and you might be able to provide more advice on things to carry. If you’ve contacted the creator(s) of the work you’re boosting, you could even arrange appearances.

If you really want to take Ambassadorship all the way, get really active, dig in, and share the wonders you found – and help out. Sure, it may seem like you’re just one person, but you never know what difference you can make until you try.

Who knows, you might have a future in PR . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

Geek As Citizen: Boost The Signal – The Basics

Paper And Stars

So as noted, if you want to Boost The Signal on good works (as opposed to complaining about the bad), you need to take an Ambassador mindset. You have to choose to represent good works or a good work in a human, connecting, conscious way – as opposed to evangelizing or being annoying.

But, what do you do as this newly self-designated ambassador? I’m glad you asked because I’m happy to order people around. Here’s the basics.

Leave A Review. Seriously, we’re often bad at this. Leave a review on a website about the work in question so people can see it. It takes a few minutes and its worth it. I know I could do this more myself.

Leave A Review II. There are sites like Goodreads or Yelp or LinkedIn that let you review, comment, or recommend books, things, and people. Leave a review there. That artist you met who did some work for you could use a LinkedIn reference, that great indie bookstore needs a Yelp review. Also keep in mind there are multiple review sources.

Tell People. Don’t be annoying (remember: Ambassador) but take a moment to tell people about the work when appropriate. You might be worried about overdoing it, so use your common sense. An example for me is that when a co-worker decried bad science fiction, I told him about Flight of the Vajra (and now that you’re reading this, I told you).

Tell People 2. Just found a great anime, bookstore, comic, etc.? Take time to tell people on social media. Again, don’t spam, but go out of the way to mention it and tag things properly. You never know how far a message can spread.

Gift Time. If something is good, and you want to share it, share it with others. That great manga series is a perfect birthday present. That fantastic movie in the Criterion collection is something you can toss to a friend who wants something to read.

(also notice I just plugged the Criterion collection)

Donate. Donate some of the media you want to promote if possible. Give it to libraries, schools, bookshops, use as prizes, etc. Some people promote themselves this way; you can promote others as well – again, just don’t overdo it.

Tell the Author. Liked a book or series? Tell the author. Write them. Let them know you care. They probably need the feedback and would like the boost, especially if they’re a bit obscure. Always offer to help give them a nudge or a boost.

These are basic things you can do now that you decided to be an Ambassador. But there’s more you can do if you really want take it far, and I’ll cover that next . . .

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

Geek As Citizen: Boost The Signal – Be The Ambassador

So, you want to get people to notice good works out there. Being a Geek Citizen you want to “Boost the Signal” as I’ve unoriginally named this series. You want people to know what’s worth your time – and of course there’s the side effect that if they enjoy the things you found they’ll waste less time on crap.

Or what you deemed crap, but I’m going to trust you.

The first thing you should do is be an Ambassador for the work(s) in question, the things you want to promote.

I say Ambassador for a reason.

Meet Your New Role

Consider what an Ambassador is in the ideal sense – a representative of something who crosses boundaries, engages people, advocates for others, and builds relations. That’s what you need to be to Boost The Signal.

  • Cross Boundaries – For that which you care about, you need to sep outside your confront zone, and meet people on their own ground. This helps you relate to them – and makes the first move.
  • Engages People – If you want to show folks what’s good, Boost The Signal on good tech or good comics, you have to talk to people directly. You engage and connect with them.
  • Advocates For Others – You need to speak for the work(s) in question. You need to be their advocate – to say what is good for them and help them speak. It also helps that when speaking for others, it’s less likely your ego will get (directly) in the way.
  • Builds Relations – You Work to build relations with peoples, groups, etc. Flash-in-the-pan doesn’t cut it for most people, viral marketing be damned. You establish relationships.

So if you want to Boost The Signal for something, this is your new role – Ambassador.

Avoid The Annoying Parts

Notice I specifically chose the word “Ambassador” to describe the mindset you need to take. I did it because of what it represents, what it says – and what it’s not. I’d like to explain the latter subtly, but let me put it this way.

In too many cases people advocating for various works are annoying and do no good work or even cause damage. I can say just for myself that I ignored Harry Potter and Serenity because I was sick of hearing how great they are. The people trying to sell me on them ended up delaying me actually paying attention.

We’ve all been there. It can be a marketing campaign ramming a new round of stupid into public consciousness. It can be the annoying person who keeps telling you about a new novel. It can be anything that turns encountering something new and worthy into a belittling, one-direction experience that won’t end.

We’ve met various people who should have been Ambassadors, but were instead:

  • Would-Be Evangelists – Preaching away in a one-directional way and a slight sense of superiority, never realizing that though they may be preaching, we weren’t the choir. Also they got on our nerves.
  • In-Your-Face Advocates – Who decided good relations were built by constantly bugging us as opposed to you know, actually connecting.
  • Persistent Fans – Their dedication was obvious, only after awhile we kind of got tired of seeing it and hearing about it.
  • Frothing Pundits – People ranting about something on TV and in newspapers for money is bad enough – doing it in private is worse because you’re a non-profit pain-in-the-ass.

Even if you don’t fall into the categories above, your advocacy for something can trigger negative reactions. We’ve all gotten tired of the Next Big Thing, The Must See Movie, and The Song I Really Want You To Hear. Like it or not, promoting a work or a technology means crossing a minefield of bitterness, boredom, and mistrust.

But by deciding to be an Ambassador, to meet people and connect with them, you adopt he mindset that can promote what you care about. When you do that, you Boost The Signal and more people pay attention to the good works important to you.

But What Do I Do?

Well, you’ve deemed yourself ambassador for some book, band, film, show, comic, software, whatever. What’s next?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Because that’s next . . .
– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at