Digging the (Anime/Manga) Twitter Scene

August 2nd, 2009

If you look on the right-hand sidebar of this blog, you will see a number of links that lead you to social media spaces of varying kinds. Yuricon on Facebook, my profile on Mixi, the Yuricon Mailing List and a number of other spaces. Today I want to talk about Twitter.

Yuricon on Twitter is a bit of a mixed fruit crepe. In the AM, I tend to focus on Business, and in the evening I switch over to my jaunty Yuri anime and manga cap. In between I sprinkle a helping of LGBT issues for flavor. So far, no one has complained about the multi-tweeting. In fact, it has worked nicely to get Yuri into the hands of Twittering Lesbians, and LGBT issues on the plates of Anime/Manga fans.

And then there’s the Social Media piece. It fills my every tweet, really. I explain the hows and whys of social media, the whos and where and like so many others, the don’ts.

As you may remember, last December I opened Yurikon LLC, the promotion company behind Yuricon & ALC Publishing, for business as a social media promotion company to any and all niche businesses. I spend as much time on Twitter as I can, sharing expertise as a social media specialist, a Yuri anime expert and as a Publisher. And today, I wanted to write a bit about the anime/manga scene on Twitter. Because you may not yet be part of it – and you should.

First of all, many of the manga and anime companies are on Twitter:
Right Stuf
Yen Press
Yaoi Press
ALC Publishing

Thanks to Isaac Alexander for these additions:
Bandai Enterntaiment
Urban Vision Entertainment
and a host of other small, niche and indie comics and manga companies.

The best part of following these companies is not just that they announce specials, releases, sales, etc, or things going on at their event booths, but that they will respond to questions directly. So far, all of the anime/manga companies on Twitter have been very open to discussion and responsive to questions from both press and fans. It’s really a wonderful feeling to know that your question is not lost in the depths of nowhere and that you have a very good chance of getting a response reasonably quickly.

Seven Seas, ADV and Media Blasters are not on Twitter. Their absence is becoming more noticeable every day. I cheerfully hold out a hand of social media savvy to them – if they want help setting something up and maintaining it, drop me a line. They *need* to be there, since everyone else is.

When I say everyone, I don’t just mean the companies. One of the things that makes the Twitter space really stand out for anime/manga fans is that the space itself was essentially defined by the people who got there first – the journalist/reviewers:
Deb Aoki
Brigid Alverson
Kate Dacey
David Welsh
Melinda Beasi
Robin Brenner
Ed Sizemore
Johanna Draper Carlson
Scott Green
Scott VonSchilling
Gia Manry
Kai-Ming Cha
and so many more that I cannot even begin to mention them all.

The point is that, the level of conversation was so intelligent, so educational that when the companies and fans started to discover the anime/manga scene on Twitter, it was already past the usual kinds of “zOMG!” and well into smart, critical discussion of issues. It was here, in this environment, that the “Women Make Comics” T-shirt project was developed. It is collegiate, without the sophomorics – but not without humor. These people are all really funny. Smart funny. Snarky, smart funny. Just the way I like ’em.

And what happened was, when fan bloggers started to join the Twitter crowd, they found themselves being held to a level of critical thinking and journalistic integrity that was much higher than what they were used to. These bloggers are thinking harder, deeper and better about the stuff they watch and read right now – and it shows in their blogs.

I came up with an idea – #mangamonday. Deb Aoki, who probably does not realize that she’s a kind of godmother to the anime/manga Twitter crowd, but is, suggested that #mangamonday be used to recommend manga we like to one another. it’s not a place to suggest scanlations, but manga in either Japanese or English that really are worth your (and others’) time and money. I know I’ve certainly read a pile of stuff I never would have otherwise – and so has my wife. It’s true that most of the other companies recommend one of their own books (ALC does not) but still, sometimes that gets conversation going and is worth the eye-rollingness of it.

Some of the folks who read this are already on Twitter. Some of you will not think this is worth the chat-room madness of Twitter. But I can absolutely guarantee that, if you like your conversations about anime and manga to range broadly, deeply and weirdly, you will dig the Twitter Anime/manga scene. It’s one of the best online cocktail parties I have ever attended. ;-)

I’m not saying Twitter is a superior communications platform, by the way. I *am* saying that the people listed here are superior people and we’re damn lucky that they like anime and manga. :-)

See you on Twitter – and don’t forget to say hi to me @Yuricon!

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8 Responses

  1. GregC says:

    I had missed a few of those publishers. Thanks for the list!

  2. Snowball says:

    Hi Erica, I am so sorry for digging up this post after such a long time, but the thought came to me just this morning (sorry for being slow).

    From your blog, I am under the impression/understanding that Twitter is being used as a form of communication between fans of anime with one another as well as with a few major production companies in Japan. If this is the case, then do you know whether companies like JC Staff for example is on Twitter? If possible I would really like to make a case for the continuation of Aoi Hana, and just help in any way with the Yuri genre in general.

  3. @Snowball – This post concerns itself entirely with the American anime and manga industry. I do not know if any of the Japanese companies are on Twitter. This does not mean that they are not – just that I do not know whether they are or not. I suggest you go to their website (http://www.jcstaff.co.jp/), go to their contact form (http://www.jcstaff.co.jp/top/readme.htm#otoiawase) and write them that way.

    In reality, the only thing that will truly affect their decision is probably whether it was financially successful.

  4. Snowball says:

    Thanks for your response Erica. Hopefully the Japanese site for JC Staff isn’t too confusing since I can’t read Japanese.

  5. @Snowball – If you use the second link, it goes directly to the form. the form looks like every form on the internet, with boxes for your name and email and content. it’s very standard.

    Even if they are on Twitter, they would be communicating in Japanese, you know. They are a Japanese company….

  6. Great post Erica. Exactly what I was looking for. Here’s a few more to add.

    Toei Animation http://twitter.com/ToeiAnimation
    Bandai Entertainment http://twitter.com/bandaient
    Urban Vision entertainment

  7. @Isaac Alexander – Thanks for the additions!

  8. Anonymous says:

    “In fact, it has worked nicely to get Yuri into the hands of Twittering Lesbians, and LGBT issues on the plates of Anime/Manga fans.”

    Awesome. :)

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