Think about how many times you use your smart phone or a similar mobile device every day. You check social media. You communicate with loved ones. You take photos. You pay bills. You... get the idea--we use our devices to stay connected. So, what if we used them to have constant access to the fandom experience we get at conventions? That's what the app Cosmunity, available from Google Play and the App Store, is about. It's a platform to connect with your fellow geeks, share pictures, get convention tickets, and more. They have over 15,000 users and they're growing. And they've recently brought on über fan Orlando Jones as their Chief Strategy Officer.
"I've been in fandom for a really long time," Jones told Nerdist, "Back in the day, you had to go to a con to engage in fandom and that was really the only way. So, it's even more bizarre now that you go to a con, or at least the way I do, and you've got this app and you're totally connected then, 32 hours later the app is gone. Suddenly everything goes back to zero."
Cosmunity doesn't go away after the exhibit hall is cleared. The emphasis is on connecting fans through the stories they're passionate about and giving them a place to unabashedly geek out. The app makes convention life easier too, because it allows fans go to a single place to get tickets, snag a hotel room, and even to sell their wares and fan art with no transaction fees. The convenience factor is a plus, but perhaps more importantly, Cosmunity is about giving fans a platform where their voices can be heard and where their interests are central to progression--those are aspects of the app Jones is particularly excited about.
Speaking about his role with Cosmunity, Jones discussed keeping the app a safe space of sorts for fans. "I think more than anything for me, it's about trying to make sure this platform remains authentic and that it is consistently reminded that, while commerce is often the things that drive of lot of these things, Cosmunity is not about that. Because I’m in fandom as a fan, I’m very much looking to protect that in just about every way possible. Cosmunity just seems like the most obvious extension of something I've been doing with my life for a very, very long time."
So, yes, Cosmunity will partner with other companies--they're already working with ShowFlix, Disney, and ThinkGeek--but Jones is keeping the priorities on the fandom in the community and their voices. He's balancing what the app and their partners need with what the fans are doing and doesn't want the companies to diminish the voices of the people using the platform.
Jones brings the perspective of a fan and actor to the table, so he's also working with Cosmunity founders Cole Egger and Zac Cooner on the other side of the coin. "I really am actively involved, along with Zac and Cole, the co-founders, in trying to make sure that the platform is really global and that actors and celebrities feel like they have a home there too, and creating ways that they can be more connected with their fans, that doesn't have an immediary," Jones said, "I very much want to make sure that fans can connect with the people that they're excited about, but also that those people are excited and comfortable in the connection."
The way Jones enthuses about Cosmunity makes it clear why he's working with them. "Cosmunity is... it's a place to come and engage. Let's tailor your conversation to your understanding about why people love this show, love these properties, love these actors, love these characters. Let's understand that there's a difference between the actors and those characters, and let's understand that the voice of the powers that be, don't get to encroach upon the voice of the fan."