I’d like to open this blog by saying two things, first is that I see high value in social media. I think it’s fantastic (if used for good) that people can GENUINELY connect after just a few key strokes in ways never considered possible, even if it’s just in 140 characters. The second thing I want to say upfront is, I’m a con attendee… and by that I mean once a year I’m one of those people that heads out to San Diego (potentially with cosplayin a suitcase) to spend 4 nights and 4 days surrounded by fellow nerds. Not everybody “gets” Comic-Con, or why people go (130,000 people, in case you were wondering), and that’s fine, this blog isn’t to explain the joys of SDCC, but I’ll provide one of the main reasons that people go, whether it’s for the comics, the panels for movies or TV, people watching, or the chance to see your favorite scifi celebrity, or writer, or artist. Whatever it’s for, it’s an opportunity for an AUTHENTIC in-person experience, that you just can’t get at home.
Either way, SDCC is a huge marketing opportunity for film and TV studios, struggling comic book writers and artists, and for companies everywhere that try and capitalize on all that SDCC brings together. And social media has become a powerful tool for connecting a lot of these components. But with great power, comes… I’m not sure I can finish that line without some kind of infringement… but I hope by the end of this blog you’ll see what I’m talking about
Now, if I didn’t lose you I’ll come to the topic of this blog, someone running marketing and social media for Reedpop, the con organizers for New York Comic-Con (like SDCC… but in New York, and not run by the fine people at www.comi-con.org) has made a huge mistake. According to mashable.com and other online nerdy news outlets, NYCC decided to tweet from attendees accounts “entirely without their permission or knowledge”. Chelsea Stark, who wrote the article (and had an NYCC tweet go out from her account) goes on to state that attendees had the option to connect their badge to their social media account, “although it wasn’t explicitly stated that NYCC could post to Facebook or Twitter on their behalf”. The tweets were like the pictures above (all from mashable.com). Once this was discovered the response was not pleasant.
Now I’ve no problem with the combination of social media and a place like Comic-Con (where ever one is being hosted). It’s an incredibly social environment. What I have a huge problem with is the poor decision to tweet from users accounts. While there could have been more clarity about what the app connected to the badge would do, and while people should always read terms and conditions before allowing access to anything, it still defeats the purpose of the con, or social media.
Did you happen to notice the words I capitalized and bolded up there? GENUINELY AUTHENTIC, that’s what conventions and social media should have in common. Instead NYCC tried to make it’s attendees salespeople for something that they may or may not have wanted to sell. If a con is fun (and most of them are) then people will tweet about it, if it’s not, then people will tweet about it. It’s as simple as that, but when you have something so invasive and false it’s bound to have a negative impact, and who ever thought that they could manufacture a positive buzz for NYCC has ended up doing the opposite.
So NYCC should apologize, and any other marketers out there should learn from this mistake, and make sure they don’t repeat it.