You’ve discovered Steampunk. You’ve marveled at the incredible aesthetics offered by the movement and are dying to get involved with it. You’ve pored over the internet looking at beautiful outfits, fantastic props and mind blowing artwork. You’ve created an idea in your head of what you want your own outfit to look like, worked up an idea for a possible persona and even found an awesome pair of goggles on etsy.com that’s in your price range. After all this you stop for a moment and ask yourself: How do I get involved?
Being a social activity, Steampunk is best done with others. Joining with a group of Steampunkers gives you people to do things with and work with on ideas and designs. People with experience, knowledge and suggestions on how to create that amazing concept you have are everywhere. Most are more than willing to help out and share in the process. The people you meet might even have access to tools and practice skills necessary to complete a project. It’s rare to find a Steampunker unwilling to help out when they can.
Early on the internet is the best source of finding Steampunk groups in your area. Meetup.com, The Steampunk Empire, Twitter and Facebook are all great places to start looking. Searches of these websites will yield airship crews, tea societies and chrononaut clubs in cities all over the place. Even searches of DeviantArt yields pages dedicated to Steampunk groups around the world. Everyone’s pal Google can also usually turn up some options in your area with a few quick searches.
Many Steampunk groups have also been interviewed by local news outlets trying to get in on the trend and usually provide contact information for those who want to find out more. Searching local newspaper and news channel websites can sometimes be the first step in finding other Steampunks as well as give you an idea of what they’re like and how their structure works.
Most groups are easy to get a hold of and more than willing to field questions you might have. Don’t be afraid to send out e-mails or register for forums to introduce yourself. Unless they’re private, most Steampunk groups want more members and love to get as many people involved as possible.
One very important thing to keep in mind is don’t be afraid to just go to an event posted on a website. Take the first step and talk to the people there. Making new friends is a two way street. Also, most Steampunks won’t hold it against you if you show up in the early stages of an outfit or no outfit at all. Groups are very friendly and more than willing to help you get your start even if it’s just to make contact
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find any groups in your immediate area. Look for regional groups that might have events going on nearby. It’s usually worth it to travel a couple hours to make contact with other Steampunkers and make some new friends. You might be able to arrange an event closer to where you live after you’ve been involved a while.
Steampunk is an incredible culture to get into. It surrounds you with creative, amazing and varied individuals who are almost universally friendly, good people. So before worrying about getting just the right bustle or bowler hat make sure to take some time to get to know the Steampunkers in your area. It’ll make the experience of the culture all the more rich and rewarding.