I’m tweeting this: Twitter is this year’s hot marketing tool at San Diego Comicon

Based on media coverage alone, Twitter would appear to be mainstreaming to the tune of a MySpace or Facebook. In reality, the Twitterati remains a small but vocal segment of the Internet, identify trends and riding them for brief cycles.

This week represents the motherload of all Twitter cycles, as the Twitterati descend upon San Diego Comicon (SDCC). There is a long and glorious cross-over between technophiles and comics/sci-fi/fantasy fans–and SDCC is their harmonic convergence. (It’s so much more than a “nerd prom.”)

The obligatory marketing tool for this year’s SDCC is Twitter itself. Every major media outlet has set up either a general Twitter account for “reporting” or individual accounts for reporters… in many cases, both. Through cross-promotion through traditional media (house ads in magazines), online (“follow us on Twitter” announcements on Websites and stories) and Twitter itself, everyone is attempting to get your attention.

I follow several of them normally, and this week, I’m getting spammed with SDCC coverage. I appreciate the effort, but a vague tweet and link will not get my attention. (The Ausiello Files actually tweeted “I just had a really interesting interview with…” and a link. You had to click to find out who it was.) While this may seem cute and intriguing, I found it cloying. I’m already reading hundreds of tweets. Give me a reason why I should click yours.

What I find far more interesting is the artists themselves. Actors, comic artists, writers, and others all can be found on Twitter, discussing their experiences and providing tips on where to find them. (Heroes alum Brea Grant mentioned she was going to return to a booth unannounced for additional signings after numerous Twitter followers failed to see her during a scheduled signing.) Many artists also share goofy personal photos from the floor that won’t show up in People.

HBO, Showtime, SyFy, and other SDCC-friendly networks are trying out a similiar approach this year, setting up show-specific Twitter accounts for shows represented at the con, including True Blood and Dexter. The accounts focus purely on giving fans insider info about the shows. Show-related panels are announced early enough that fans have a shot at getting to the right hall and scoring a seat. Personal appearances, including some “surprise” appearances at partner booths, are also slip-streamed. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot to fans. And for those who couldn’t get there, videos and other tidbits are posted and linked in a timely fashion.

This fan focus shows an awareness of what comicon truly is and isn’t. Yes, it’s a major promotion opportunity for the production companies, comic artists, actors, and so on. But it is also the world’s largest celebration of all things geek, which certainly includes Twitter.

Well, this year, anyway.

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