Comics Social Media

By | Tuesday, November 01, 2022 Leave a Comment
So there's been a lot of chatter in recent days about leaving Twitter now that Elon Musk has purchased it outright. I've seen some of my friends deactivate their accounts already. I won't judge anyone who leaves, but for now at least I still get enough out of it to find it more useful than not.

But where do they leave to? If anywhere? I've had friends drop social media entirely and if I want to contact them, I have to email. Some folks already have accounts across Instagram and Tik Tok and whatever else, but those have had their issues as well. As with any such platform, it's all fun and games until money starts getting involved, right?

A number of people have mentioned Mastodon. Primarily, I think, because it's the platform whose functionality is closest to Twitter. Plus, it was around when the last potential Twitter mass exodus was considered in late 2017 when Twitter was pretty actively not cracking down on hate speech. I think with the sharp rise in the same again with Musk's purchase, people are recalling they had set up an account some years back which has been laying dormant.

The reason, though, that it was dormant was because Mastodon hasn't really reached that critical mass yet. Where you can log in at any time and can confidently expect some new activity to have popped up in your feed. There weren't enough people using it for that to happen. Or, with the way Mastodon is set up, there weren't enough people in each of their nodes for that to happen. They had split things up basically into interest groups, so your feed wasn't really everybody talking about everything, it was a small group of folks talking about webcomics (or whatever). A lot of those nodes seem to have shut down since then, however, and users have been shunted over into a more broad "social" node. We'll see how that does.

Interestingly, Ted Dawson recently started a social media platform expressly centered around comics. Called Kablooey, it's a little more akin to Facebook than Twitter but the discussions are decidedly more focused. I've had an account there for a few weeks now, but I've honestly not really had a chance to explore everything yet.

This isn't the first time someone's tried to make a social media platform that was comics' focused (ComicSpace) but it's WAAAAY too early to tell what's going to happen with Kablooey. A lot of it boils down to the community it attracts, but that is influenced by the UX and moderation policies and everything else. I know Dawson is eager to see it do well and, in the wake of Musk's Twitter takeover, he might be well-positioned for exactyly that.

I think that frequently these types of things are successful or not -- and attract that critical mass of users or not -- based on a handful of key influencers. Comixology really took off not because they had the best selection of digital comics, but because Steve Jobs put it on the first gen iPads. I seem to recall a number of comics people flocking to MySpace when Brian Michael Bendis set up an account there. Fans will go where the people they're most interested in are; those might be friends and relatives or those might be professional contacts or they might be celebrities of some sort. If Mastodon or Kablooey or something else catches the eye of the right person, or the right handful of people, that will be the next platform to do well. And right now, I have no idea what that will be.

In the meantime, I'm @SKleefeld on Twitter, Mastodon, and Kablooey. Pick a platform and come say 'hi.'
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