Some might say I’m a social media darling. Others would say addict (especially if you ask my family). I’d say I’m in a steady relationship with Twitter, Facebook and the like.
I grew up in a time when online activities started to become part of our daily lives and jumped on most new sites or technologies as they evolved. It meant I never got left behind but it also meant the Internet, with all its pleasures and foibles, came along with it. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a healthy social life outside my house, it’s just that I met a lot of cool new people via the internet and I get to see them both on and off the computer.
With the advent of social networking today things got even more exciting. Facebook, while allowing everyone and their mother (sometimes literally) to poke me, was a fun way to connect with old friends and deny requests from old enemies. Twitter, while allowing others to tell me when they went to the bathroom today, allows me to share my personality with thousands upon thousands of people. Not everyone is into it but I have a lot of fun with both.
But looking past the fun I have creating my own Hogwarts House at 2 a.m. on my Twitter, the website, and others, are a fantastic tool to socially network. I remember when I was in school hearing people say how important it was to “network” in order to find jobs when we graduated. It sounded awfully boring to me. Pretending to be interested in something someone had to say in order to get on their contacts list for future opportunities? That wasn’t me. But social networking, while founded on the same general principles is so much more than that. I’ve gotten several job offers via Twitter and it was because people had gotten to know me, and my writing, from my sometimes silly, sometimes thoughtful posts on the website. [Newsarama Note: It’s a big part of why you’re reading this column on this website right now, in fact!]
So, why am I going on about social networking in a comic book column? I read an excellent piece on Wired recently by Corrina Lawson titled, “Open Letter to DC Comics, Part 3: Marketing Fail, Or Why Not Go After Truly New Readers?” In it, Lawson mentions DC’s current initiative to go after males, 18-34 for readership of their relaunched line. She makes some great points about the large number of females already into fantasy in other mediums or those that read GeekMom.com etc. and that DC has huge potential for new readership they are ignoring. She states the very basic incentive to get female readers, scale back the over-sexualized art, but her main gripe is with DC’s marketing itself, especially through social networking or lack thereof. And I have to say, I agree.
I’ve been shouting to anyone who will listen for a few years now that DC badly needs its own Agent M and that I’d gladly volunteer for the job. Frankly, sometimes I feel like I already do that job for free with how much I talk about DC on my Twitter account. While Marvel’s official Twitter has just over 156,000 followers, Ryan Penagos (Agent M) has over 1.4 million. As Editorial Director of Marvel.com, Penagos writes about more than just Marvel comics and movies making him a well-rounded individual who isn’t just there to shove marketing schemes down your throat. That is what every good, professional social networker should be. In fact, Marvel has recently taken things one step further by hiring a good friend of mine, Janna O’Shea as their Social Media Coordinator. Another excellent move by Marvel considering O’Shea was already a huge supporter of the brand. These are not just employees, these are fans and having fans to talk to other fans is the best advertising you could ask for.
Now, as Lawson points out in her piece, DC is way behind Marvel and many other comic companies, in this regard. DC has a DC Comics Twitter account that they don’t use. It has just over a thousand followers but their DC Nation account has just over 53,000. Way behind Marvel. It’s a similar situation on facebook, where their fans are split in two, while Marvel’s facebook account just hit 2 million. Why is that? The simplest explanation is DC does next to nothing to engage their fans on Twitter. If you simply use the website as a tool to post links about press releases, articles or interviews, it’s going to get boring after a while. This is the digital age, people want interactivity.
I am boggled that a specific Social Media job was not created with the inception of DC Entertainment back in 2009. With all the moves the company was making, it seemed a rather obvious omission. DC says they want to hear what fans have to say about their books and the decisions they’ve made but they don’t make any public response of it on their forums or Source Blog and, even more puzzling, DC went backwards in time to bring back their letter pages. It’s great to see letters from fans printed in the actual comics and I know there’s a nostalgia factor in there too but DC encouraged actual writing of letters. Now, I’m not a technology snob (and you can submit letters via their website of course) but shouldn’t they be looking ahead? Shouldn’t they be encouraging all forms of digital feedback and give some sort of response in like? I know Dan DiDio has fun with fans at conventions, his Facebook page, etc. but he shouldn’t be the only one speaking to them. DiDio, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns all have other jobs that keep them very busy.
So, why not hire me? There. I said it. I want to be DC Entertainment’s Social Media Darling.
I live and breathe social networking and it’s helped me grow my own brand exponentially in a few years. I’m not naive enough to think everyone knows my name but I have a pretty wide reach. Just the other day my brother told me a friend of his from England asked if The Nerdy Bird was his sister. It was one of those surreal moments. I do what I do, every day, and can sometimes forget how many people are listening to me but it was pretty neat to hear. Ask any of my friends or 10,000 followers, I was made for this job, DC. I’m already hopelessly devoted to your brand, I know how to write and I look and sound good on video. Social networking/media is a lot more than just talking to people on Twitter but you have to start somewhere.