Fans create the world around us. And that’s even more so in the digital age where creators, athletes, companies – whoever – can communicate directly with their fanbase. It’s got to the point where fans opinions about their favourite things can change what the object of their fervour evolves into. Simon Morton spoke to the co-author of Superfandom, Zoe Fraade-Blanar.
It’s a different story for traditional celebrities, who often all but vanish after massive scandals. Movie star Mel Gibson kept a low profile for nearly a decade after a video surfaced of him in 2006 making anti-Semitic remarks. YouTube fans are more likely to defend their beloved stars because the online personalities are more connected to their audiences, Fraade-Blanar said.
“When you’ve made something a part of yourself, whether it’s a Yankees shirt or subscribing to a certain YouTube celebrity, you have a huge incentive to make that thing look good,” she said. “Because when they look bad, you look like a fool for following them.”
Hard-core fans can help determine how YouTube’s performers will fare after a controversy. Logan Paul’s legion of subscribers apparently don’t have an issue with his suicide forest video, and for now they’re keeping him afloat.
Speaking of history, two books cross genre lines to examine social and cultural concepts through music: Ann Powers’ Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music looks at the ways in which we use music to communicate such fraught issues as race and sex; Superfandom by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer explores fandom itself — its history, stigma, psychology, and, of course, its effects on our economy.
The entire book is stellar, and the storytelling is marvelous throughout. It is more of a ride through fandom-try than anything else. Not only does this book state why fandoms are important and why they will continue to be, but it also backtracks to history. Where fandom started and where they are headed with the new digital age.
An entire episode of popular television series The Big Bang Theory centres on the main character, Sheldon, obsessing over a vintage 1975 Mego Star Trek Transporter toy. With 50 years and just under 550 combined hours of television and film, Star Trek practically created the template for fandom and the nerd culture of today. All the four male heroes in Big Bang are science geniuses, as well as Trekkies, as Star Trek fans are called, fluent in Klingon and often play Boggle in the language. They are also major superhero fans, and their usual idea of weekend fun is an evening at the local comic bookstore—their big getaways are always Star Trek conventions and Comic Cons. Fandom has swelled with the rise of modern consumerism, technological advances and the spread of infotainment. Fans today go well beyond geeks. Some 40,000 people attended Berkshire Hathway’s (Warren Buffet’s company) annual general meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2014. Look at the top 10 movies worldwide any year—most of them, if not all, are based on sci-fi/fantasy/children classics that are evergreen, with huge franchises and fan bases. This year’s surprise top hits were women-centric—Wonder Woman and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And then there are the fans of football or baseball clubs and musicians.
I consumatori alfa della nostra società. Così vengono definiti i fan, o meglio i ‘super fan’, persone talmente appassionate da un prodotto, o da un film, un musicista, una serie tv da diventare più esperti degli stessi creatori. Per analizzare questa crescente ossessione, Zoe Fraade-Blanar e Aaron M. Glazer hanno pubblicato il volume “Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are” (Superfandom: come le nostre ossessioni stanno cambiando i nostri acquisti e chi siamo).
Are you a superfan? Is there a particular service, product, company, or activity in which you are unreasonably obsessed? If so, you may want to consider investing the time to read Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are. The reason that I read Superfandom is also the way I read Superfandom – as an audiobook from Audible. (8 hours, 27 minutes). My obsession is listening to books, which in the world of audiobooks that places me as a superfan of Audible.com. The status of being a superfan is, as Superfandom unpacks, complicated.
Engagement in the participation age has evolved. Over the past few years, new online tools and platforms have emerged which have enabled communicators to more directly convey their stories, listen to their audience, and interact in more authentic ways.
In 2015, when Netflix debuted Bloodline, I didn’t think I was taking much of a risk by investing my time. Here was a moody crime drama set amid the lush visuals of the Florida Keys, starring Sissy Spacek, Friday Night Lights’ Kyle Chandler, Broadway legends Sam Shepard and Norbert Leo Butz, and ‘90s cult icons Linda Cardellini and Chloë Sevigny. What about this show doesn’t sound like a winning formula? Everyone, of course, would watch this show with me, I thought. It would be A Thing to watch Bloodline.
A book looks at how brands go about perpetuating their existence in admiring hearts and minds
Engaging customers is one of the biggest concerns in marketing practice today. How can a brand become a part of consumers’ lives without being an intrusion is a question marketers grapple with. All the more so at a time when various surveys reveal that brand loyalty is dying. The one constant — well, almost, may be a community of diehard fans, and this is a situation marketers would do well to cultivate.