Monday, July 27, 2009

How The WB used Twitter at Comic Con and won a permanent fan...

Twittering was all the rage on the floor of Comic Con with fans and booths using the application to entice and to squee over Con awesome-ness. However, no one used Twitter's feed to it's maximum capacity like The WB.

First disclaimer: The WB was my least favorite booth in the Con. Obviously stressed-out employees handing out doo-dads to demando fans filled the booth. Gone was the fun from last year and, in its place, a crowd that forgot they were dealing with non-famous human beings who were trying to fairly hand out "stuff" that everyone knew would end up on e-Bay. My claustrophobia went insane just thinking of that booth.

Second disclaimer: I'm still bitter over not getting two of those nifty Chuck posters. I wanted one for a friend who couldn't make the Con and one for my wall -- that wall over there.

Now, on for my critique:

Like almost all other savvy vendors, the WB Tweeted panel announcements. However, during the announcements, the WB became a victim of the infamous "Left Turn Con Maneuver" where Elite Security changed how line-ups would occur at the WB booth. In years past, this caused chaos among fans to the nth degree. This year, though, the WB Tweet person immediately twittered this change and offered an incentive (free t-shirt) to the first 200 hundred who RT'd it. While I would love that free T, I knew what might occur if that info didn't get out (people - no drama here, that booth was that insane) so I immediately RT'd it as well as lots of others. I personally received that information six times from people I followed.

Info out, was disaster diverted as a result? No scientific evidence exists, but from the tweets went word-of-mouth so when I peeked over during that time, the line was still orderly with minimal of crankiness. I have no idea if I'll ever get that T-shirt, but just helping by RT-ing gave me a sense of "one-ness" with The WB.

On top of that, the WB tried an experiment where, instead of handing out doo-dads at the booth, they asked Twitter peeps to text their badge number to The WB's Twitter account and a t-shirt will be mailed. The WB experienced their first failure when the mailing part wasn't obvious from the initial tweet and people showed up at the booth for their t-shirt, but they quickly corrected that by tweeting their correction several times.

By the end of the Con, I was following TheWBdotcom Twitter feed and I was won over by their obvious fan-friendliness. Will it make me watch their channel in the fall? Yes, it will. I've plans now to add Supernatural to my Netflix cue and get caught up. Will it entice me to buy? Yes, I've ordered my Chuck DVDs this morning.


Because of that feeling of "one-ness" that came from the Tweets. When I RT'd the emergency call, I truly felt apart of a community. Shallow, I know, but I use Twitter as a way of making friends and connections. That RT-ing answered that need in me to help my fellow man. As a longtime customer service person, I knew the chaos that would ensue if fans showed up and found that plans had changed. I empathized immediately with The WB and those underpaid and underloved (by fans) employees: what would the fans do to them? That strong empathy (which is worth gold, but cannot be bought) brought The WB into my "emotional" family and I want to support my "family" in any way that I can.

By the way, hello WB, my new brother/sister? My birthday is December 16 and I live only 15 minutes from Burbank...I expect a party with lots of presents.

Mysterious Musings: Why Twilight didn't "ruin" Comic Con

And why most missed the Twilight boat...

On Sunday, at the Con, people were walking around holding signs saying "scream if you think Twilight ruined the Con". How clueless and what a waste of an opportunity.

First of all, Comic Con may have started out as a fan convention - and it still is to a point - but it's become an all-important marketing opportunity. Science Fiction/Fantasy fans descend upon one center for 4 1/2 days to get their Geek on. They want to see what's coming out at the theater, coming to TV, what books and comics are trending high and what new ones are just around the corner. Smart marketers take advantage of this to create buzz for their product. Fans who do not realize this are just clueless.

The Twilight fans began their camping out on Tuesday for the Thursday panel. A smart marketer would have been there on Wednesday to offer book samples, snacks courtesy of their brand, etc. On Thursday, an even smarter marketer would have passed out water bottles with their brand, samples of their product to entertain, and chatted up the attendees. Did anyone take this opportunity? No. No one took advantage of this marketing opportunity to embrace this wave of fandom or even attempted to woo them to their booths post-panel.

Instead, fans of Bella and Edward (and I'm not one of them), were greeted with hoots and negativity. Many I spoke with felt unwelcomed and unwanted.

Not true.

Today's Bella & Edward fans could easily convert to other fantasy and science fiction experiences if only someone took the time to woo them. Publishers should have prepared "if you like Twilight, try this" materials. TV shows (hello "Eastwick"?) should have courted the mamas of the group with materials. Did they?


There's room at the Con for all fan groups and if we don't become more welcoming to these newcomers, then we're turning off tomorrow's fantasy leadership.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mysterious Musings: The Joy of the Printed Word aka Confessions of a Kindle Reader

I picked up an old Aunt Dimity mystery the other day. I opened up the book and took a deep whiff: it's the smell of old books that make me happy. The feel of the paper between my fingers - the idea that I'm rubbing dried and pressed wood pulp. I flipped back and forth as I reacquainted myself with my favorite parts...found easily due to the worn spine of the book. I sighed quite happily as I once again found myself traveling from Boston to England and rediscovered my love of the ghost we all wish would haunt us...

And yet, not an hour before I downloaded from Amazon new books for my Kindle DX.

I love my Kindle. I love having a library of 50-odd books at my fingertips that ways less than a pound. I love flipping through the "pages" and tracking my process with the meter at the bottom (and hate that part, too as I'm only 8% into the book that I must read for book club...which meets on Saturday).

However, it lacks the smell...that touch...that ability that with those two important pieces of tactile experiences it cannot draw me back into happy feelings. My discovery of Aunt Dimity came as a result of a visit to a used bookstore where a fellow customer pressed it into my hands with a "you must read this" sense of urgency. I still recall the experience of inhaling that book while sitting in the Starbucks down from the bookstore...and I go back to that "happy happy joy joy" time just be touching and smelling the pages.

MMmmmmm...old book smell...bookstore smell...why can't they bottle that?

I love my Kindle DX and while I can most certainly bookmark my favorite places, there's nothing more joyous than having an old favorite flop open to a beloved passage. Kindle's don't have book spines: no spines to break or bend to favorite sections. While Kindles allow for note-taking, it's not the same as discovering long-forgotten thoughts in the margins of old books. I treasure the comments in a cookbook recently gifted to me...just small thoughts like "a favorite" or "ick". I'm not writing in some of my cookbooks as a result.

I don't see my Kindle ever replacing my love of paper books. I'll always treasure my old favorites in paper or hardback. Certain authors, such as Steve Hockensmith or Tasha Alexander, will always be purchased in hardback.