Paying Comic Creators to Tweet?


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On top of comic books, I’m a fan of mixed martial arts (notice the Bloody Elbow link to the side?).  In many ways the two industries share a lot of similarities.  Both were in relative obscurity just a decade ago, relegated to being nothing more than something overgrown adolescents were fans of.  Both were considered a “low form” of entertainment, comics appealing to those barely literate and the stereotypes of the MMA fan were rampant as well.  Over that time period, MMA has grown into one of the premier forms of sports today, surpassing boxing as the go to event to watch people pummel each other.  During that same time period that MMA exploded into a billion dollar industry, comics had a minor uptick and renaissance, but still struggles to gain  the mass acceptance or audience that MMA has.

And that’s why I found an article on Mashable about MMA and social networking so interesting.  Unlike the comic industry, MMA, especially the premier brand UFC, has embraced social networking to spread the word about the sport, interacting with fans on a level unlike any other.  According to Mashable, the UFC will be taking it a step further, by paying it’s fighters to tweet and build an audience.  From the article:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship, the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, is going to award fighters with monetary bonuses for using Twitter, the head of UFC announced at the UFC Fighter Summit in Las Vegas.

UFC and Strikeforce (another MMA promotion company, owned by the UFC) have a unique plan on how to do that. Starting June 1, they will divide their fighters into four categories based on their Twitter follower count. Then, after every three months, three fighters from each category will get a $5,000 bonus based on how many followers they’ve gained, the biggest percentage of new followers gained and the most creative tweets, judged by UFC head Dana White.

That’s an impressive way to build even more buzz and get fighters to engage fans and build that important base.  That also got me thinking, what if the comic industry embraced this type of thinking as well?

On our Twitter account you can see in various lists, the artists, writers and industry personalities that already use the social networking tool.  So why not dive in and embrace it more?  There is only so much the press team for publishers can do (and many of those teams have a ways to go to begin with), so why not have these creators go directly to their fans to promote future releases or current projects?

What I currently see on Twitter with this UFC project is fighters begging for new fans.  That’ll only go so far and only work so much.  Instead, fighters will begin to give a reason why they should be followed.  This will also be how it’d shake out if the same sort of program were extended to comic book creators.  They’d need to start teasing new projects by posting teaser art or have discussions and Q&As on Twitter.  The “making of” will be as important as the final project and most importantly build hype which will hopefully generate into sales.

Fans often factor in writers or artists when they decide to pick up a series, so why not embrace that?  Give those creators a monetary incentive to do the job that can no longer only be done by a press team.