The Trouble with Social Media and the New Internet
Submitted by Onezumi on August 25, 2010 - 06:43
Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else that is popular this second are pretty awesome. However, the very thing that makes it awesome can also cause some issues for the modern day webcomic professional. There is now a higher amount of information available to us than before. This means that there are more avenues for us to get our brand recognized. YAY!
Unfortunately, the thing that makes social media such a great tool is also burying many new creators. The noise on the internet is so high that I believe it is harder for a new creator to be heard today than it was 10 years ago. Back when there were only a handful of creators online, it was a no brainer to run into everyone at least once. Now, it is not the case. I have met rabid webcomics fans who have never heard of Penny Arcade.
Today, readers like for information to come to them, rather than checking physical sites every day. We have reached information overload. A high number of people I speak with have told me that they and most of their friends now use RSS aggregators or get their information from Facebook and Twitter. I have fans who read my site every single day that missed the GIANT banner on the top of the page and frequent blog posts about the fact that their favorite creator is running AN ENTIRE WEBCOMICS CONVENTION.
Following this relevation, I conducted an informal experiment where I would post happenings on my Facebook and Twitter. Later that month I would strike up conversation with specific people who were very big fans of my work to see how much they had engaged with the information. I had found that most people would ignore the passive postings and almost all of them would engage, support, and spread the word about things that I spoke to them directly about.
The catch, is, you can't be fake about it. You have to love what you do and care about who you are speaking to. I always ignore automatic and sterile messages. I will always reply to people who are genuinely saying "hello".
The best way is to really believe in what you are doing and to treat everyone like you would want to be treated. This in itself stands out in stark contrast to the firehose of information that is today's internet. As corny as it sounds, it seems that today's best weapon is to love the journey, make some new friends, network with your peers, and never give up. I wish I could give an easier recipe for success. The unfortunate truth is that it is not easy, but it will happen if you don't give up! :D