| » Interview
SocialCos is a social network for the cosplay, anime and gaming community. This month we talk with Scott Bonner, one of the founders , about the project and what cosplayers can expect from it!
You can check out SocialCos at socialcos.com
» Who are the founders of SocialCos, and how did the idea to start a cosplay, anime and gaming social network start?
SocialCos was founded by Scott Bonner and Nick Fama in 2011.
» How are you, and your co-founder, involved with cosplay or the cosplay community outside of this website?
At Ohayocon 2011 Nick and I were sitting in at the food court and looking around and it seemed we both ended up having the same idea at the same time, create a social network for Cosplayers. It was very evident to us that the audience was very passionate about cosplay, and a lot of people go to cons just to meet people, but what do they do after the convention? How do they stay connected? if you have never been to a con the atmosphere is great and one of sharing. That same day the name socialcos popped in my head and I checked from my ipad to find if the domain was available and snagged it all while sitting at Ohayocon 2011's food court.
Today we see SocialCos as just the starting point in our overall plan, getting people connected is step one. Our future will be in working with conventions to make things smooth easy and more fun for the cosplayers. For instance we saw there were a lot of logistical nightmares in the cons that technology and SocialCos can one day help improve.
My wife, Amanda, and I hit up the conventions in Ohio. I haven't yet cosplayed myself (been eyeing a few characters lately) but I definitely do enjoy seeing how creative everyone is. My wife and I typically run around and take photos and creep on the guests at the cons. We are big anime and gaming fans.
» What is something you feel that SocialCos offers, that other social networks don't?
Nick and his family, their first exposure to Cosplay was Ohayocon 2011 and in 2012 he came back as a faceless from spirited away, his daughter a tree spirit from princess mononoke and his son a creeper from minecraft. They made costume making a family event which I thought was pretty cool. From 2011 on they have been sold on cosplay, and all in with the community.
I feel a lot of the cosplay community ends up hiding on facebook. Some people are too afraid to share that they like to cosplay because they may be judged or ridiculed by their friends or families. For those people a separate social network is important.
» Currently the site is in beta, what are some of the benefits to joining now?
SocialCos is a place where you can be yourself and people will like what you do versuses judge you. While there have been many cosplay oriented web sites out there I felt we could bring something a little different to the community and embody our perspective what the community needs.
I am a technologist by trade and Nick a marketer with experience in starting and running social networks. So this put us in a great position to identify how we could help the cosplay community technologically as well as on a person to person level.
Don't let the beta tag fool you, the site is very functional and in many ways comparable to Facebook and other social networks. We slap the beta tag on it because the members who are with us during this time will see a lot more rapid change throughout the beta period then at any other time following. As we test out new modules, tweak server configurations, and probably break things on occasion.
» SocialCos has a lot of useful features for cosplayers such as a classifieds section, groups, a forum, an events page, and a videos page! As the site grows do you plan to add features for non-cosplayers involved in the cosplay community? Such as photographers, convention organizers or fans of the hobby?
However they will have the ability to shape their own Cosplay Facebook into what they want it to be through their feedback and how they use the site. Those coming to the SocialCos party late will miss out on the opportunity to directly shape its growth like the charter members will have. Though with a party this loud they will surely stop by at some point, or call the cops.
One tangible benefits the beta users will also receive a special badge at the end of beta that will identify them as a charter member and make them standout within the community as an early adopter. There is a good chance that those people will get a little bit of favoritism when we go seeking feedback as they were here since the beginning.
Also during this period we will have a number of great giveaways, special guests stopping by, and more people won't want to miss.
We have a lot of tricks up our sleeves, some we prefer to not discuss until they are already done. However I can say we will be improving the site to make it more functional for all areas of the cosplay, anime, and gaming world.
»Can you share any other hints about future updates? What we can expect to see after Beta?
The cosplayers will always be the number one focus and our patron. So we want to make it better for them first and foremost. Hence the name “SocialCos.”
Its inevitable though that as the cosplay community flocks to the site so will all the photographers, fans, and convention organizers, they go where their market is. This is an open door party, everyone is invited. Well except haters, creepers and spammers, we have some good moderators on the site who keep it safe from that.
There is definitely some great things in our future. I can say there will eventually be socialcos endorsed cons, and a SocialCos Presence at cons.
We also have some great contacts in the anime industry and con world who will be bringing a lot of value to the SocialCos world as we grow. For instance a friend of mine some may know, Jonathan Brands, he was a marketer with ADV and a Brand Manager with Funimation. He has also been instrumental in conventions such as Otakon, Ohayocon and more.
His guidance has been a huge help. As well, his many contacts throughout the anime industry gives us more opportunities other sites might not have, that can make SocialCos a lot of fun for our members. Don't be surprised if around 1000 members we start scheduling Q&A with Voice Actors and other names in the industry.
Our vision is for SocialCos to be the main place for all the con goers to come and connect, and to keep cons atmosphere rolling 24/7. Besides being an online con of sorts we are looking to find better ways for people to connect during and after a con. Everyone should check it out and sign up!
Oh and if Acksonl is reading this, contact me http://socialcos.me/socialcos