If you’re curious about mechanical keyboards - the perfect way to dive deep into the community is to join a meetup. Mechanical keyboards are a very tactile product - best experienced in person where you can try typing on one that catches your eye. This past weekend marked the 2018 Bay Area Mechanical Keyboard Meetup - a gathering of enthusiasts, vendors, and newcomers to the vibrant and welcoming mechanical keyboard community. Over 350 people and 20+ vendors and sponsors attended the event - held in downtown San Jose, CA.
These meetups have grown and expanded over the years - in 2015 the Bay Area meetup was about 20 people sitting in a room with a few keyboards and the occasional technical presentations. Today we regularly see hundreds of people, nearly $5,000 in giveaway prizes, and prominent designers flying from around the world to showcase their work. New mechanical keyboard designs are premiered at the event - from mainstream keyboards like the Gemini Dusk by Hexgears to new low profile hybrid prototypes from OLKB / QMK team members.
The community has evolved over the past few years - but some of the best things about it have remained the same. Overall - the mechanical keyboard community is one of the most positive and accepting online communities - with /r/mechanicalkeyboards regularly appearing in the top 25 list of most welcoming reddits (Source: http://opfeels.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/). New keyboard communities like Keebtalk have even popped up during 2018 - to provide a better forum for online discussion that is directly managed by a non-profit community board.
The positivity and huge online activity make sense when you think about it - people that like mechanical keyboards naturally also enjoy the act of typing. Mechanical keyboards at their core are a delightful experience, they help transform the bland and irritating activity of typing on a rubber keyboard into a sensory event for your fingers. Keyboards are the gateway into the internet for many people, and the difference between having a keyboard that you actually like using everyday can be astounding.
Choosing the right keyboard has always been a difficult undertaking however - people have different tastes, aesthetic ideals, as well as varying physical attributes. The standard keyboard layout is a fairly rigid rectangle - a design decision that fits certain body frames and finger sizes well and others - less so. People with smaller fingers may prefer a lighter switch, professional typists like programmers often gravitate toward ergonomic designs, and some people just like to try new things. Whatever the reason - discovering what you like is made much easier by trying everything out in person.
The future of mechanical keyboards is bright and it is not just because the products are getting better. The number of people who really enjoy mechanical keyboards is growing and the community behind it is the driving force behind everything. It’s amazing to be a part of this all - and thank you to everyone who showed up to make this sort of event possible. Hope to see you next year :)
The team at Kono
Interested in future meetups? Join our interest list for Keyboard Meetups.