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Idle Thought On Comics And Social Media

Two pieces read back to back.

Matt Webb:

People with 1 million dedicated ‘can contact them at any time’ followers simply weren’t around two years ago, — from this article about Kevin Smith trying a new film distribution technique: he’s taking his movie round just one city at a time, and charging $70 a ticket. This feels like a new kind of money. The pub game used to be imagining what you’d do if you had a million bucks. Now it’s imagine if you had a million people who had decided to pay you attention.

I have to say, right off the bat, that I think Kevin Smith showed incredible balls and style in choosing to self-distribute his new film.  A lot of people didn’t like what he did or how he did it, but I say more power to him.

(And I have all the respect in the world for, but when that site’s Mike Fleming complained that Smith “made (Hollywood business practices) all sound shady,” I laughed like a drain.)

And then also this, from The Province:

While 16-24 year-olds prefer to rip and burn CDs without paying for them, twelve-to-fifteen year-olds are the digital natives of today and tomorrow… Though a mere 15 percent of this young group download peer-to-peer music and just 12 percent buy tracks, 56 percent listen to music on their mobiles and 53 percent watch videos on the Internet.

“Twelve-to-fifteen year olds, who represent the consumers of tomorrow and have grown up with the Internet, want rich immersive music experiences in which they can watch, listen and share…”

Which isn’t news, really — especially not to me, with a 15-year-old daughter downstairs who primarily experiences music through YouTube.  The piece goes on to say:

An increasing number of musicians have tuned in to this shift and are trying a variety of creative approaches to reach out to their fans in order to boost their popularity and their sales of music.

“Knowing how to use social media to connect with fans is key…” But fans want much more than just information about their favourite bands’ upcoming concerts and the release date of a new track or CD…

Obviously, both pieces are pretty much talking about the same thing.  The latter piece goes on to provide some concrete examples, by the way.

The thing that particularly hit me is how none of this has any relation to print comics: that is, these are not things print comics really do.  Nor, to any huge effect I’ve seen, do webcomics.  Comics are generally pretty bad at social media — and yeah, you can generate any number of jokes as to why, but I don’t think they’d hit the actual mark.

Maybe one day I’ll see someone do something as simple as badging and (physically and digitally) rewarding check-ins to local comics stores on Foursquare or Gowalla.

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