Comic-Con International has been a firm adopter of social media, from its incredibly popular Twitter feed which proved invaluable in providing up-to-the-second info on what was happening during the Con in July, to Facebook, on which the organisation interacts regularly with fans and detractors alike, providing a public forum on which to communicate directly with the CCI fan base.
This dedicated interaction has paid off, specifically on Facebook, where, incredibly, the organisation has recently passed the ONE MILLION LIKES target of its public profile! This is important stuff to be aware of, as it highlights the continuing growth of dedicated fans for this incredible event… as well as reminding many that regularly take to the Main Wall of the Facebook page of the decreasing odds of attending the con, even if they have been long-time attendees.
Think about it: one million likes – and that’s just on the Facebook platform alone. It’s remarkable. While no official number has ever been released for the attending level of San Diego Comic-Con, conservative estimates put the attending level at 140,000 people. Fourteen percent of the fan base that have put down their digital mark on the record. Slowly but surely, we approach a ratio of one in 10 people, desperately trying to land badges, all within the Facebook membership.
The speed which Comic-Con International has achieved the One Million milestone is quite impressive. It was only two years ago, just prior to the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, that the page was looking at just under 400,000 likes – back then, Facebook still had thread-based features which allowed strong relationships to form within the fan base, alongside useful forum and communication tools. The Discussion Page was a home for many of the original CCI fan bloggers and many faces that helped answer questions for newcomers are still in place today (the vast majority of them now reside on the website that started up when the Facebook features were removed, the now essential Friends Of CCI Forum, created by Alyssa Franks).
All of these features, of course, have been moved to the wayside as Facebook has streamlined itself into a more ad revenue friendly, directory-based social media. This doesn’t mean that passionate ‘discussion’ doesn’t still take place on the main wall, especially when a controversial announcement is made, such as the example of the 2014 wristbands. While CCI isn’t able to respond to every criticism posted, the organisation moderators will step in from time to time, especially in cases where separating fact from hearsay is required.
While the news of the crossing of the 1m milestone may not seem like incredibly important news, it serves as a potent reminder of the rabid interest in comic con culture, especially in the US. Applying for badges becomes more fraught, city facilities get stretched, space to actually hold San Diego Comic-Con becomes a premium… CCI continues to work with its partners to attempt to hold back the tide. But, with odds of landing getting slimmer and slimmer, and with the Convention Centre expansion now looking dead in the water, it is now perhaps time to realistically appraise the situation in San Diego and recognise that we have now reached a tipping point in terms of sheer numbers, regarding space for the event itself, housing attendees and physically putting on the event in the city – and radical plans must be put into effect, soon, if the con as the event we know and love is going to continue and thrive.