A while ago, right after I got back from an anime con, I saw a flood of new Facebook cosplay pages pop up. Many of them spammed local FB groups, posting things like “Like my page!”, “If I get X likes, I’ll do a Q&A” or “I’ll do a giveaway if I reach X likes”.
Why were people doing this all of a sudden? To increase their like count..?
Facebook pages, including cosplay ones, are meant to connect brands and businesses to people who are interested in them, by posting quality content for their audiences to like or share. Many of those new cosplay pages I mentioned didn’t seem to post much on their cosplays, nor much of anything about themselves as a cosplayer. Some of these pages reshared other content from elsewhere, but I did not see much original content from them.
Perhaps the most detrimental of all was seeing people stress over Like counts by posting in so many groups.
I started reading up on facebook pages and asking other cosplayers about them: whether they have one or not, and why. So, to help, here’s my collected list of good reasons, kinda good reasons, and bad reasons to start a cosplay FB page. (I’m just talking about Facebook, not setting up a site, a tumblr, or anything else.)
- Separating your cosplays from your personal facebook profile.
This is one of the biggest reasons I see people do this, including myself. Whether it’s that you have idiot co-workers, in a tough field to break into, or you just want to keep FB friends to be at least people you’ve met in real life, putting that buffer is a good thing to do. If someone is acting creepy, mean or stalker-y on your cosplay page, no worries! It’s just your pseudonym page.
Cosplay is not always looked upon positively–sometimes it can even hurt your professional life. Putting up a cosplay page is a safe place for your work, acting as a shield for your personal profile.
More practically, if photographers want to showcase your costumes and attribute you, it’s easier for them to just tag a FB page than a personal profile. Do you really want to add a stranger as a FB friend just for them to tag you? Maybe, or maybe you don’t care. But, that’s up to you to decide.
Really, you don’t need a FB page to network and be known for your work. But, having one gives an easy way for others to connect with your work, and for you to reach other people’s work. Photographers can be tagged together with the models and costumers easily.
Facebook is the most popular social network in the world, so it’s easier for someone to subscribe to your work than on a less popular social network.
Networking is very different from fame, because while fame is a one-way adoration, networking is a two-way street. By knowing people, you can help connect others with a wide variety of people. For example, if you wanted to do a cosplay that one of my friends did, I would be happy to introduce you to my friend through their FB page.
- Offering something unique or helpful to people.
A Facebook page is nothing more than a way for someone to subscribe to your work. You can spam someone else’s newsfeed now! Have something worthwhile. It isn’t about you. It’s about the people who hit that “Like” page.
Remember, the market is incredibly saturated with cosplayers’ pages. What will make yours stand out? Check out other cosplayers’ pages and see what makes them different. Do you have something unique to offer?
Finally, do you have something unique you’re aspiring to be? Imagine that you were the first one to combine cosplay and music videos. Do you have an idea like that? Go for it! Even if you only aspire to do something that’s already been done, but with your own unique artistic style, go for it!
- Planning to have a career in photography/art/costume designer/costuming/modeling/relevant field.
If that’s the case, think thoroughly of what you want to name the page. Remember your first email address, and how embarrassing of a user name it was? (Example: xxxBooBooHydekiLuvr1998xxx.) Put some thought into it and see what the pros in your field do.
- Doing this just for fun?
We can’t take ourselves too seriously. 🙂 Just don’t care about that like count and have fun with it!
Not the greatest reasons, but still potentially worthwhile:
- Showcasing your work.
There are many, many other ways to establish and showcase your hard work though. A nice website for example on WordPress, would do nicely. DeviantArt is an established social media site for artists. Even Tumblr is becoming a place to highlight art. (though, Tumblr isn’t a dedicated art site alone.)
Facebook pages isn’t the most ideal medium for writing. Facebook is meant for shorter, simpler posts. I have read a ton of great, well-thought out FB posts, but it’s certainly not as easy to read, search for. It’s somewhat a shame for great writing, but marketing research says to keep Facebook posts short.
So, in summary, I’m not sure whether Facebook Pages are a great way to showcase your work. Yes, I get traffic on my page, but I better establish and organize my work on my own site. Some people may say “yes”, others may say “nah, you don’t need it”. It’s up to you. I do encourage you to at least document and organize your work, online or not.
Not so good reasons
- Wanting fame (dat like count.)
Fame alone is not a good reason to even get into this hobby. From a practical standpoint, Facebook is so saturated with cosplay pages that it may be difficult to make yourself stand out.
First, you may get unwanted attention that will stress you out. Whether it’s creepy, negative feedback, or harassment, it will test what you can tolerate. If you’re older and more experienced, you know what you can tolerate and this is no big deal. But, if you’re less experienced, this may stress you out.
Looking for fans? Number of likes should not be thought as “fans”. It sounds pretty patronizing. Again, it isn’t about you. It is about those people who hit your “Like” button and what you can do for them.
Don’t base your identity on a number. It is absolutely unhealthy to base your self-esteem, your self-worth as an artist/craftsman/cosplayer/whatever on a “Like” number.
- Jumping the bandwagon because your facebook friends have cosplay pages too.
Like my example earlier of the “Like mah page and I’ll do something"s, if there’s a giant influx of new pages popping up, how are you going to make yours stand out from the rest?
Again, the FB page is to serve good content to the people liking it. It’s not necessarily about you. Are you ready to serve quality content? Having a FB page is a way for you to put whatever you want on other people’s newsfeeds. Do good with that power and spam with awesome work.
If you’re not ready to do that, no big deal. You’re not any less of a cosplayer if you don’t have a FB page. You’re only not a cosplayer if you’re not cosplaying. 🙂
Again, I encourage you to still document all of your work. But, if you want to keep it casual and you’re okay with connecting with people you meet at a con with your real name, then there’s no need to put up a page. Many of my friends don’t have an FB page. The page is in some ways, a shield from people, so it’s less personal than a real name.
While a Facebook page costs $0 (though you may be tempted to pay for advertising), it could give you unnecessary stress that nobody needs. I don’t want you to go through that. I want you to keep putting out great work. You don’t need an FB page to do that.
The main reason I wrote this is to be sure you don’t get pressured to get one for the wrong reason. Just do it for a good reason or just have fun with it. 🙂
Do you have different reasons to get one or not get one? Have stories to share? Share them! I love studying how technology affects people, and this topic is definitely in that realm!