Any major convention like this week’s New York Comic Con will generate a significant volume of social media traffic, but who and where traffic from this year’s show is coming from is drawing ire from attendees.
As fans received their newly RFID (Radio Frequency ID) chip-enabled badges for admittance to the event on Thursday’s opening day, NYCC’s organizer ReedPOP gained access to attendees’ social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and posted complimentary messages about the convention under the attendees’ own user accounts. Attendees in all categories were hit with this surprise, from casual fans to comics’ creators and even the press.
Friday morning ReedPOP’s organizers released a statement on this, saying:
“As you may have seen yesterday, there were some posts to Twitter and Facebook issued by New York Comic Con on behalf of attendees after RFID badges were registered. This was an opt-in function after signing in, but we were probably too enthusiastic in our messaging and eagerness to spread the good word about NYCC. We have since shut down this service completely and apologize for any perceived overstep. Please accept our apologies and have an absolutely excellent time this weekend. - Your friends at NYCC"
As mentioned in their statement, attendees are asked at registration about giving NYCC access to their social media accounts on an “opt-in” basis. Newsarama site editor Lucas Siegel, who is attending the convention, confirmed that attendees are asked on two occasions about the convention posting to social media on the attendees’ behalf.
In a special report posted Wednesday on Newsarama, industry veteran Jim McLauchlin anticipated the implications of ReedPOP’s technological advancements with convention badges. This year’s NYCC badges contain an RFID chip, which gives attendees’ access to the exterior doors of the building and helps prevent counterfeit badges, which the organizers told Newsarama was a problem in previous years. It can also be used to track attendees’ movements in or out of the building.
NYCC is the first American comic convention to use this technology, but it has been employed previously at events such as the music festival Coachella.
Jim McLauchlin contributed to this report.