Corporate social media in 2019 is an odd beast. It’s either boring press release information with room for a few fan retweets, a public realations firm trying their best to be cool, or it’s meme central 24/7 to the point of absurdity. For offical TV series accounts it’s pretty much the same. But not for The Dragon Prince.
The Dragon Prince’s social media accounts are a delight without feeling like that infamous screenshot of Steve Buscemi from 30 Rock where he says, “how do you do, fellow kids?” It’s filled not so much with memes but playfully jokey content. It doesn’t feel like a corporate entity spitting out news but almost like an actual fan of the show is running the account. Bad jokes, mashups, and sharing great fan content are all part of an average day.
From the start The Dragon Prince creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond didn’t want to try and own the fandom. They weren’t going to try and steer the community, they were just going to be part of it. They couldn’t tell the fans what parts of the show to gravitate towards; they’d just roll with what they love and how they acted. The fans own the fandom and The Dragon Prince team would just help it build itself.
“We knew we wanted to go in it in a way that would be authentic,” remembers Ehasz. “The ownership was outside of us but we wanted it to be hopefully positive and kind.”
The team wanted to empower the fandom and both Ehasz and Richmond give a lot of credit to the people who original helped build The Dragon Prince community. They wouldn’t send out passive pieces of content, like many official accounts do, but instead rely on humor that was, as Ehasz describes, “goofy, weird, or bad. We know we’re in on it and the fans are in on it. It’s something we don’t take for granted. It’s something that we want to work on and always be self-aware about.”
(One of the many satirical images posted by The Dragon Prince Instagram account. This was captioned, “moonshadow no jutsu” in reference to Naruto.)
Ehasz singles out their original lead social media person, Danica, “who I think really helped shape a very authentic, very positive community.” While Danica has moved on that doesn’t mean the social media has been handed off to the kind of public relations firm that often handles these kinds of accounts.
“There’s no PR firm running any of our social media accounts,” explains Richmond. “It’s me, Aaron, our community manager, and our writing team. I’m going to post the Facebook post after this interview.”
The creators are grateful to have a community that, unlike some pockets of fandom, are “so nice and giving” as Richmond puts it. “It’s hard to make that happen and we’re super grateful that people treat each other well and are funny.” Richmond loves to talk with fans back and forth and the positive atmosphere of The Dragon Prince fandom makes that possible.
While having fun with the fandom is important to Ehasz and Richmond, it does serve a purpose of being able to show off just how passionately people love the series to outside companies. Other accounts are focused on getting their follower counts up as a measure of success but The Dragon Prince takes a different approach.
“It might sound like dark magic but we care about hearts, not eyeballs,” says Ehasz. He elaborates that being able to show off art, cosplay, and the in-depth discussion is what helps differentiate The Dragon Prince to companies like Netflix. By being able to demonstrate not just the positive experience but also the ongoing engagement and connection they hope that’ll prove how loyal the fans are.
Since so many shows aren’t guaranteed to finish their stories before being canceled, this unique approach to demonstrating the fan’s commitment may just prove the secret ingredient in keeping The Dragon Prince alive.
Special thanks to Hazel for her help with the interview for this article.
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