Archive for November, 2008

Liz Henry is part of a contest by HP…

November 29th, 2008

Liz Henry is running a contest on her blog in conjunction with HP. I commented on the post itself over here and in reply to her post about RecentChangesCamp.

I’d love to win because I’d love to be able to reward Fan History admins and give back to a school that taught me so much about myself. And that could really use a few extra tech goodies as they have so few. :(

Potential for SAG strike update

November 29th, 2008

SAG national executive director Doug Allen told Back Stage that even if the guild secures strike authorization, a walkout is not imminent. “We had a strike authorization in cable negotiations a little over two years ago,” he said. “There was a substantial majority vote to authorize the board to call a strike, but an agreement was reached without that strike being called.”

Source

I just want to say that the news relieves me. I really want both sides to reach an agreement where they are both happy (or both unhappy) and television, movies and theater continue on. The talk of a strike scares me because of how much damage the WGA one wrecked on a number of shows.

Fan History and radio fandom

November 29th, 2008

Over on Fan History’s Main Page Talk Page, Rauterkus asked that Fan History cover radio fandom. This is easy enough to do. So yay! We have a radio category! We seeded it with 33 articles about radio fandoms. These were pulled from a list of old time radio shows. The articles, with the exception of Gunsmoke and Buck Rogers, are all stubs. If you’re a radio fan, we would love it if you could help improve those articles.

If you are interested in creating an article for a fandom we haven’t created yet, copy, paste and customize this template on an article with the name of your fandom. If you’re a member of the radio fandom, run a radio fansite, published a radio related fanzine, know of a radio related LiveJournal or MySpace group, check out our list of templates for new pages. These can help you when you create a new article.

We’d also really appreciate it if you run a fandom radio related site or blog if you could plug the category and ask people to help contribute to our project!

Gifts for the fangirl/fanboy in your life…

November 29th, 2008

The holidays are just around the corner. People are writing for ficathons, creating fandom Advent calendars, sending out holiday cards, doing Holiday feedbacking, writing holiday themed stories, creating holiday themed fan art and vids, and gift shopping for the fans in their life… That shopping one is the one I’m going to focus on. :) If you’re a fangirl/fanboy, what should you be asking for or what should you be buying for the fangirls/fanboys in your life?

* A Netbook. I have this particular model but there are a number of other models and companies out there making them including this one on Tiger Direct. If you’re going to a convention and want a place to dump your pictures, this works. It is portable enough that it can be shoved in a large purse or messenger bag and light enough not to way you down. If you’re waiting to meet up with another fan at a coffee shop before a movie, small and functional enough to take out and surf the Internet for five minutes. It is great for viewing fan vids and reading fan fiction in bed. You can hop on it and blog about the meet up you went to while taking the train home, not having to wait until you get home. It won’t replace your regular desktop or laptop but great for that person who wants to be able to continue their fanac on the road.

* Paid time on a favorite service like LiveJournal, InsaneJournal, Salon.Com, RockFic, IMVU, NetFlix, DreamHost, etc. Paying for them means you frequently don’t have to view ads and/or gain access to features not available to non-paid members. If you’re really devoted to a service, like I am to LiveJournal, this can be a great gift that a person can use all year.

* Gift certificates to a favorite bookstore, comics store, music store or electronics store. Yeah, they can seem lame an impersonal but one of the advantages is that you won’t accidentally buy them season 2 of CSI when they really just needed season 3 of CSI to complete their DVD collection. Or that you buy your favorite manga fan a volume of manga that they’ve read already or they hate because you totally misread their taste. If you’re doing this, you can be really creative, show your fangirl/fanboy something new by introducing them to some place new and support local businesses. If you’re in the Elgin, Illinois area, skip Borders and Barnes N Noble. Instead, get a gift certificate for Books at Sunset.

* Homemade coupons for things you might not be willing to do otherwise. The coupons can be for things like attending a convention so your fangirl/fanboy doesn’t have to go by themselves, attending a movie with them, sitting through their favorite television with them and not complaining about how bad the show is, letting them use your printer so they can read their favorite stories in print, going to a comics or manga store with them, offering to let them TiVo their favorite show on your machine and letting them watch it on your television, etc. This is about doing what makes them happy and it can be greatly appreciated, especially for the more introverted geeks who aren’t comfortable attending social functions on their own.

* Printing the fangirl/fanboy’s creations. If they are a fan fiction writer, compile all their work in a Word file, format it and then print and bind it using a service like Lulu or Kinkos. Consider printing up 5 total copies so that they can share that present with their fandom friends. If they are a fan artists, find their favorite piece and do a large print of it and frame it. For some fans who hope to go pro, this can be a glimpse into what could be for them: Seeing their work in print, seeing their work on display.

* Event tickets. I’m a huge sports fan. I have a friend who is a fan of musicals. I have another friend who loves seeing bands play live. And I have yet another friend who loves actors and attending conventions. If you got me tickets for the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox, Rush, Sky, Bandits, Fire, I’d be ecstatic because I love seeing these events live. I’d be even happier if you got a pair and went with me. I know the same would be true for my music, actor and musical loving friends.

* Other electronics. These can be expensive but can really help enhance a fangirl/fanboy’s fannish experience. A DVR means they can catch things that the might not be able to watch otherwise. An iPhone means they can listen to music, find events, catch up with fan related news when they are far away from the computer, and be super hip. A flat screen television can save them space in their apartment and be a step up from their tube set. It can also help increase their screen resolution so that they can swoon, giggle, sigh and flail over Johnny Depp that much better. A GPS device can get your fangirl/fanboy to conventions, movies, meetups with out getting lost all the time and calling you for directions. A wii can help your fangirl/fanboy continue with their latest gaming obsession or get fit so they can look good for that meetup. Guitar Hero means your favorite music fan can jam like and with their favorite bands.

Besides these ideas, what else would you recommend for your favorite fangirl/fanboy? Or as a fangirl/fanboy, what do you want to get this holiday season?

RickRolling goes maintstream

November 28th, 2008

There’s something both scary and epic when an internet meme like RickRolling goes so mainstream that it’s featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Reading the comments posted about it on YouTube is quite interesting as well, as an observer of fandom and internet culture: while some saw yesterday’s RickRoll as the pinnacle of the meme’s success, others say it is a clear sign that the meme has “jumped the shark” and is officially dead. I am personally still finding it just incredibly surreal.

I hope everyone who celebrated had a good Thanksgiving yesterday and will enjoy the rest of the holiday season! Does your fandom do anything special to celebrate or mark this time of year? Now is a good time to make the time to record any such information in the Fan History Wiki.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving American visitors to Fan History!  On this day, Fan History and has a lot to give thanks for.  Our list of things and people we’re thankful for:

  • Sidewinder.  She does a fair amount of organizing, editing and helps to handle administrative issues.  She also helps to promote the project on-line and at conventions. She’s been involved for over a year.  With out her, we wouldn’t be half of what we are today.
  • Tikatu.  She handles a lot of the administrative duties, such as article deletion requests, that I no longer handle.  She gets them done in a timely and professional manner that is free of wank.  She also advises on policy and helps prevent me from doing stupid things.
  • Emufarmers.  He is our tech guy.  He does a fabulous job making sure that Fan History and FanworksFinder stay up running.  He deals well with my requests, handles things in a timely manner, and all around does well, a great job.  Fan History wouldn’t be around today if not for him.
  • Francesco. He’s our bot developer.  He did a fantastic job with those and has done a good job at support when we have issues.
  • Randomsome1, Lennox MacBeth, EntKayJay and Kethylia.  All get nagged a lot via AIM, text messages, e-mail and occasionally on the phone regarding things I’m thinking of implementing in regarding to policy, to edits, to promotions.  They’ve kept me from doing some really stupid things.
  • Fan History’s contributors.  Your edits have really helped to improve the wiki!  We really wouldn’t be where we are today with out you!
  • My FList.  They’ve listened and given advice on a number of things over time.  I really appreciate their viewpoint.
  • SliceHost. We moved to them after we left SiteGround.  They have been great.  We’ve been able to do more, have greater customization ability, more freedom with our coding and increased uptime.

Thanks to everyone who helps make us great! And have a Happy Thanksgiving! :-D

Police-fandom after the reunion tour.

November 25th, 2008

With the release earlier this month of “Certifiable”, the official tour documentary and concert video, it fully feels that this most recent chapter in the history and fandom of The Police has come to a conclusion. Between February of 2007 and August of 2008, the band enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with many fans both new and old coming together at concerts, gatherings, and on the internet. Many of these fans had either not been involved in organized fandom activities before, or came back to it after a long absence, perhaps having only been active in the band’s offline fandom through the original fanclub Outlandos.

So it is interesting to me to look at what’s been going on in the fandom in the months that have followed: which messageboards and communities are still active and thriving? Which communities have grown quiet? What new communities are being formed?

The “new” official fanclub launched in February 2007, ThePolice.com (wiki), is still active, but primarily in promoting “Certifiable” and a few other projects coming up related to the band members. The messageboard, however, has grown much quieter since the end of the tour, and it is uncertain what the site’s future will be come next year when membership renewals will be up again. Will there still be a fanclub after next February, or will it be reabsorbed back into Sting’s official fanclub? Only time will tell, and given ThePolice.com was one of the primary sites used by those who claimed to be new to organized fandom, one wonders how many will look for new homes for certain or will disappear again from active fandom entirely.

policefans.org (wiki), which was largely created as a fan-driven response to the corporate-sponsored official site, has seen a definite pick-up in contributions to the PoliceWiki, but the messageboard activity has been very low and primarily focused on concert-trading and off-topic chat.

Speaking of off-topic chatter, that appears to be what the bulk of fans are engaging in after many established either (or both) Facebook and LiveJournal accounts to stay in touch. Because of the friendships formed during the year and a half of the tour, many fans have found these blogging and social networking sites provide a good avenue for staying in contact beyond fannish activities and concert get-togethers.

The forums on Stewart Copeland’s Official Site(wiki) have remained quite active since the end of the tour, even if at reduced posting levels (although many long-time members of the site felt the board had become too active during the peak of tour activity and are glad to see it return to a more manageable posting volume per day). The current active members include those who have been members of the site for years as well as those who were new to it during the tour.

The Police section of the StingUS (wiki) forums has fallen very quiet, but the Sting section has picked up activity now that Sting has resumed solo projects. As many members of that forum had expressed preference for Sting-solo over Sting with The Police, this trend makes sense, and the site should continue to remain a fairly vibrant community for Sting-related discussion along with the official website Sting.com.

What all of this means for the production of creative fanworks in the fandom remains to be seen. A fan-produced documentary of the tour and the fandom is set to be screened early in 2009, and a fanzine collecting stories from the tour is also set to be produced around the same time period. There has been no noticeable increase in activity as far as the production of fan-fiction and fan-art in this fandom, even as there has been more discussion of slash and subtext between the band members in such new communities as hungry_4_you (wiki).

It will be interesting to re-examine the fandom in another year’s time, and see where activity has continued, grown weaker, or perhaps even grown stronger as all the band members return to their solo activities.

Great blog post: The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Competition Means Collaboration

November 25th, 2008

I wanted to recommend The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Competition Means Collaboration, a blog entry by DB Ferguson. Great read. Knowing your fandom is pretty spot on in terms of developing a fansite. Knowing the politics of your fandom is also important.

Did Twilight get a post movie fan fiction total bounce?

November 25th, 2008

I have a love affair with numbers and what they say about fandom. I was thus curious if the release of the Twilight movie meant an uptick in the number of stories published. I checked the data (November 19, data not gathered. November 20 data derived by dividing total by two) and it looks like it may have.

Twilight story totals in days after the movie's release

The daily average is about 123. 185 stories is a new record for the fandom. The fandom also consistently outpaced Naruto and Harry Potter which the fandom hadn’t done done for that length of time previously. It will be interesting to see if this increase in total stories posted levels off or if the numbers drop back down to pre-movie levels in another week or two.

Twitter, fandom and me

November 25th, 2008

Before I begin this, I need to define what I mean by fandom because fandom and entertainment fans (consumers of popular culture) can often look alike but they frequently don’t act the same.

Fandom, Members of fandom:

  • Group that shares a common interest in a media product such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Pokemon, Starcraft, etc.
  • Are actively engaged with the product and other fans by having discussions, creating and commenting on other people’s fan fiction (art, vids, icons, costumes, etc.), attending/organizing conventions, organizing campaigns to save/improve the media product, etc.
  • Form relationships based on shared interest where the relationships with other fans are central to their activities.

Entertainment fans, consumers of popular culture:

  • Do not have a group identity as fans of a show.
  • Are passively engaged with the product by having conversations, commenting on blogs, blogging about the show, consuming the product.
  • Relationships are not at the heart of and purpose of their interactions with others who share their enjoyment of a media product.

Put simpler: Fandom is about relationships.  Entertainment fans, not so much.

Which brings me to Twitter and my sometimes confusing relationship with it as a fan.  And after a number of conversations with other fans, this is a problem that a number of other fandom people on the outside looking in suffer with.  What use is twitter for fans?  What use is Twitter for me as a fan?

I come from fandom out of mailing lists and LiveJournal where relationships are key.  If there is an author I love, I would try to form a relationship of sorts with them.  I might ask to be there beta reader.  I might e-mail or IM them with questions about their stories or what else they are working on.  If they were writing to slowly, I might leave lots and lots of feedback or beg them to WR1T3 M0R3!  I might friend them on LiveJournal to keep up with what is going on with them.  If I get to have a relationship with them, then my enjoyment of the thing for which we share an interest is enhanced.  I have another person to squee with over new episodes, and insure that stories I love will be continued, have some one to unite with against other people in the community I don’t like.  I might also have some one who could attend a convention with me or share a hotel at a convention with me which could make attending that convention cheaper.  I’ve got a friend.  Well.  Sort of.  Once our interests change or if I do something which upsets the person’s ability to enjoy the community or the material, I don’t have a friend any more.  But while we’re both in that relationship, we’re great and we communicate a lot.

If I want to get “ahead” in fandom, if I want to have greater influence, I form relationships with people who are in the position to help me.  I can make friends with fan fiction archivists, with authors who have huge amounts of readers, with content producers, etc.  And if I want to be able to leverage these relationships for my own benefit, I’ve got to actively work on maintain those relationships in order to maintain my status because they key to staying on top, well, the phrase is “What have you done for me lately?”

So along comes Twitter.   Twitter is great.  Twitter is love.  For the social media lover in me, I can’t get enough of Twitter.  It means I can follow people I met at BarCamps, keep up with what is going on in the wiki community, possibly get some traffic for the site I run, can network with people who might have leads for work for me, can interact with news organizations in a way that I haven’t before.

Except, well, for all the great things Twitter does for that, it doesn’t do much for me as a member of fandom.  Fandom is all about relationships remember.  It is one thing to follow a person and comment, but that’s not enough in fandom.  You need to have more focus and extended conversations.  The Twitter format just doesn’t allow for that.  It is too short to adequately share love of the source with or to hold conversations with others.  If you do try to have extended conversations on Twitter, if you’re not providing value to others who follow you, you could lose followers.  Ick.

One of my friends has other issues which put her off Twitter as a member of fandom. Twitter is very immediate.  You can’t hold conversations over an extended period of time because the format doesn’t lend itself to that.  If I am out on Thursday and miss the new episode of CSI and my friend watched it, we can catch up on AIM or blog about it a couple of days later, when we have the time.  Twitter doesn’t allow that.  And when your relationship is dependent on that shared material, the inability to slow the flow of conversation on your own terms?  It can be bad news.

Another friend has issues with some of the comments on Twitter being so banal and unrelated to why they care about the person.  They don’t care that you just woke up, that you’re eating breakfast, that you landed at Heathrow, etc.  They don’t care that you are having a conversation with SEO with some one on Twitter that teaches you a lot. (I get this a lot from my fandom friends on Twitter.  Especially when I start having conversations with people they don’t follow.  They’ve considered unfollowing me because I do that so often.)  What are they getting out of their relationship with me when I do that?

Another issue that comes up is content.  Why follow me on Twitter for news about what I am doing fannishly when you can keep up with that on Fan History’s blog, my LiveJournal or on Fan History’s InsaneJournal asylum?  The information is better, more detailed and easier to follow.  It is easier to keep up to date because the content is much more focused.  The blog is going to be about fandom.  The posts will be once a day.  You’re not going to have to filter around my other random content.  If content is king, then Twitter, unless carefully focused, mostly includes links and doesn’t involve loads of engagement that is off putting, then well, Twitter fails.  Content on Twitter isn’t king when it comes to relationship maintenance.

So relationships that are dependent on Twitter end up feeling shallow, where they feel hard to leverage for your relationships to faciliate your enjoyment of canon and accomplish your goals in fandom.  Things feel even more confusing when Twitter appears to require a large follow list to be viewed as important on or influential on Twitter (and in fandom).  How can you have relationships with people that are meaningful, that give you something back, when you can’t actively engage people because the “content” disappears so quickly and could easily be missed?  In terms of my fandom relationships, I find I can’t maintain them like I can in other places.  I end up having to play catch up with Twitter by reading their Tweets when daily summaries are posted to their LiveJournals.

In the end, what this means for me is I, and a number of my fannish acquaintances, haven’t figured out how to use Twitter for our fannish enjoyment. Yes, I know how to use it to promote my projects. Yes, I love it for networking professionally. I understand how to use it to monitor reputations and get celebrity and entertainment news. I’ve found some great Chicago related social media events. Fandom though… still a problem and I can’t see it changing.

My fandom’s fan fiction community is dying…

November 24th, 2008

My fandom’s fan fiction community is dying. Or at least, it appears that way. I’ve chatted with a friend as to why it appears like the Grissom/Sara, other Sara and other Grissom related parts seem to having much less activity. I feel like I half know but I just also feel the need to whine about it because I miss waking up every morning to one, two, possibly three stories (or chapters) by authors that I love. It was kind of like my morning cup of coffee.

Anyway, the conclusion appears to be that the strike, coupled with cast changes, were the primary culprits. The long wait between new episodes, not liking the uncertainty of what was happening, rumors that were unpleasant and then that actual cast change? It just makes keeping up interests hard. This was coupled with a number of the bigger and better writers having off-line issues. They got married, had long term illnesses, had family changes because of foster children entering their lives, moved across the country, etc. They haven’t recovered from those situations yet or, if they have, they aren’t as interested in them as they were before.

I’d like to see it recover for totally selfish reasons. I love some authors and I miss reading their stories. I love the sense of community. I’m better able to participate in it when it is active. I have a good reason to keep up with people. But even given that, I can’t see myself caring that much if they suddenly all the authors I loved became really active again just because I don’t care about the show like I used to… Cast changes, you know?

SAG Seeks Strike Authorization

November 22nd, 2008

“LOS ANGELES — The Screen Actors Guild said Saturday it will ask its members to authorize a strike after its first contract talks in four months with Hollywood studios failed despite the help of a federal mediator.”

That quote comes from an AP article. It makes me nervous. Pushing Daisies post WGA strike? Didn’t seem as good and I stopped watching. WGA strike also seemed to kill off Bionic Woman, another new show I loved. It prolonged the agony of the question of what Jorja Fox‘s status on CSI would be. I’m not looking forward to this. I’m not looking forward to this at all.

And I can sympathize with both sides. (Though I get the feeling most of my fellow fans will default side with the actors.) I just am selfishly more concerned with having my favorite shows staying on the air and not having to wait because of another strike.

Fan History traffic

November 22nd, 2008

I haven’t looked at our traffic sources for the main wiki in a while so I thought I would do that today. The following are traffic sources for Fan History on wikis, on social networking and bookmarking sites and other links where the links were added most likely by Fan History admins. (I attempted to remove some of the organic linking.) It doesn’t include all sources. (DMOZ, Yahoo!Groups, etc. were left off but didn’t give much traffic.)

Fan History Wiki traffic sources

LiveJournal continues to be a major traffic driver for us. I chatted with another wiki maintainer about this. We’re both LiveJournal users and have been for years. We tend to get trapped into the idea that LiveJournal is the be all, end all of getting traffic. It is a nasty little problem. I think we’re both trying to break it. Still, if you’re on LiveJournal, it isn’t a bad way to generate traffic and improve your SEO.

AnimeNewsNetwork is our next biggest traffic source. We have a lot of anime and manga related material so this makes sense for us. This source has converted visits to edits a couple of times so happy about that.

Wikipedia is great if you can get links added. Just don’t get yourself banned for linkspam.

Wikia has a lot of specific topic wikis which can be a great way to get traffic if your content relates to those wikis. I’ve found if you ask, that can help get those folks to be involved with adding links to your site on those wiki.

FanPop is great but the traffic that we get from them? It involves about 400 links on their site and it doesn’t necessarily help with SEO. It can be great for you if you’re trying to generate traffic but at the same time, it feels like a lot of work for very little reward.

FanFiction.Net links are not our additions. Fan History is working on becoming a sort of phone book/directory of everyone in fandom. Given that, people will link to the articles about themselves. I’ve found this to happen the most on LiveJournal, smaller fandom specific message boards and on FanFiction.Net. So if you can get links like those, fantastic. :)

Twitter links frequently come about from links on our twitter accounts, and on my primary Twitter account. We get the occasional visit from others who link on twitter but not that often. I tend to think that is because we have some content issues. Our content isn’t as comprehensive as it could be… which is a major problem for wikis.

Yahoo!Answers can be great. It doesn’t take much time and the hits are good. This source, outside of Fan History and Google, tends to be the biggest source of traffic for FanworksFinder. The exposure here tends to be better than FanPop, even though you get fewer hits from it because the potential audience feels a lot bigger.

IMDB feels like FanPop at times. We have probably 30 links over on IMDB but they don’t get us much traffic. Still, great site to be linked on considering their credibility and the SEO value.

StumbleUpon is just not something that I’ve ever figured out how to do well. Woe. So we’re just not getting much traffic from it.

We’re still trying to figure things out in terms of generating traffic with a limited budget and limited time. It is really educational and there are things which I know we could do better. (Get more twitter followers, working on improving our interactions on services like LiveJournal, MySpace, FaceBook by being more interactive. Following up on comments, etc.)

I’ll close this little summary of our traffic with the following:

Despite its opponents’ claims that people used the software to post lewd or libelous comments, Third Voice didn’t go down in a lawsuit. The company’s conundrum was much more banal: Third Voice couldn’t generate enough advertising revenue to raise consumers’ awareness of its free service, and it couldn’t generate enough consumer awareness to raise the advertising revenue it needed to stay in business. Third Voice Trails Off…

Do as I say, not as I do…

November 20th, 2008

I’m having one of those I’m a great big fat hypocrite moments. As it nominally affects Fan History, I thought I’d let you know. be-a-magpie is an adserver for Twitter. You let them put ads in your twitter feed and, based on the frequency of these tweet ads and how many followers you have, you get paid money! Yay! It is a great way to pick up some extra cash from $15 a month to $400 a month.

I haven’t done it for my primary twitter account because I don’t want to see ads on my twitter stream. I’ve unfollowed about a dozen people who have used be-a-magpie for similar reasons. I just… don’t want to be advertised at that way and I don’t want to do it myself. … even though be-a-magpie suggests I could make as much as $140 a month.

But fanhistorywiki’s twitter account, which is largely used to share things that appear on RecentChanges, is a different matter. It has about 20 followers. The account wasn’t intended to be interactive but rather to act as an off-site way to monitor changes on the wiki using a forum that a lot of people like. So I’m testing out be-a-magpie on that account because I would really love the extra $17.00 a month that it could earn for the site.

So I won’t subject you to ads where I have to view them and will reward you if an unfollow if you do it to me. But I’m doing it elsewhere. (And if you’re a fandom person/fansite thinking of doing something similar, remember that your followers probably will have similar ideas about not wanting to have their twitter stream polluted with ads.) Do as I say, not as I do…

Talking about my friend and encouraging her to use social media

November 19th, 2008

I love to chat with Angelia Sparrow (wiki). She’s a professional author who writes male/male romance novels and short stories. Her genre isn’t something I would read but our conversations teach me a lot about the publishing industry and the writing process.

Because I’m a friend (and occasionally a pushy and selfish one at that), I want to help her do well. The best way that I know how I can help her to succeed is to suggest ways to harness social media. She doesn’t always follow my advice because she’s got a family, another job, is trying to write and doesn’t necessarily have the time nor skills to play the social media game effectively in order to do it successfully. She’s also writing for a niche audience that isn’t ever likely to make it possible for her to become the next megahit author. (If she does, I’d be the first to congratulate her.)

But even with out that, there are a few small things you can do which don’t require much time and effort that can help increase your visibility and she’s done some of them. First, she has a website. It is angelsparrow.com. The site has contests involving her work. These help increase her audience of people who might want free stuff and rewards her fans. She also has a blog which she updates pretty regularly. It includes announcements, reviews, etc. It also has rss feeds. (Hard to believe but some blogs don’t have rss feeds even now.) This means that her new posts show up on rss search engines, on Google’s blog search and Google will regularly check her blog for updates.

She’s also engaged in social media elsewhere, including on LiveJournal, a blogging community which has a large and active fan fiction community. She’s been there forever. This presence means that she can leverage her fan fiction audience for her non-fan fiction writing. The audience she built through years and years of involvement can be used to help her sell books and her short stories. LiveJournal (wiki) loves to celebrate its fan writers gone professional. Or even its professional authors who just happen to use the service. Plugging your work, asking for help or advice for your work, all of these fit into the culture of LiveJournal’s communities. No one is going to question her doing that. In fact, they are more likely to celebrate it.

I’m totally in love with twitter so I’ve spent a lot of time badgering my friends to use the service, even as I tell them it isn’t for everyone. Thus, last night I was happy to find out that Angelia Sparrow is on twitter. If you’re a professional author (or even a fan fiction author), twitter can be a great way to connect with your audience, to maintain relationships, to reward fans, to let them know what is going on. Her twitter follow list is small and she could probably do with having a few more replies at people she follows so she utilizes twitter for its strengths more… but that she’s on there? Great. It is another way to connect with her fans. Still, if you’re not looking to spend much time on twitter, what she’s doing is probably the right way to go about it until she has a better reason and more time to engage.

Another thing she’s doing right (but could probably do better at) is she has a FaceBook page, is planning to create (or has created) a fan page for her work and created an event on FaceBook for her book release. These don’t require much time and effort to maintain if you’re talking about only a small potential pool of interested people. FaceBook has a lot of people on it and you can connect with your personal network of alumni, professional acquaintances, former classmates, friends and fans. Those people are just there. The site might not be intended as a way to create or utilize your fan base but FaceBook gives you the tools to do just that. So use them to do that and connect. And Angelia Sparrow does.

The one thing that I like when I give advice to Angelia Sparrow is that for her, she’s selling a product: A book or a short story in an anthology. This means that she doesn’t necessarily have to obsess over where her traffic is, how many visitors she gets a day, taking traffic from FaceBook or Twitter and trying to convert those visitors into visitors to her site. And then having to make that sell in terms of clicking on ads or buying services on her site. Analytics aren’t the be all and end all. The end game is using the right social media strategy to help her writing and sell her books. (Which can be bought from a couple of places like her publisher or Amazon.)

She does what she needs to do. She engages in a way that allows her to make good use of her limited time in her busy life. She connects to her core audience. So while she isn’t a major player in social media, isn’t cutting edge with how to utilize social media to generate sales, she’s still taking the right steps, steps that anyone who is in a similar position should be taking. I don’t think she probably is aware that she’s doing that because I think she’s just doing what feels right for her. Awesome.

What day is the most popular day to publish Death Note fan fiction?

November 15th, 2008

I was looking at the Death Note fan fiction community size article which tracks the number of new stories posted to five different archives. I was curious as to what date of the week was the most popular for posting stories because conventional wisdom is that one of the best days to post fan fiction is Monday or Tuesday because Saturday and Sunday are slow days for getting feedback.

Average number of stories uploaded by weekday

In the case of the Death Note fandom, Sunday is the most popular day of the week to upload.  Monday is the next most popular date.  Thursday is the slowest.  … With almost half the average amount of stories that are uploaded on Sunday.  So if you want your story to stand out, it might be best to publish it on Thursday so that the eyes that are there can find your stories amongst the other new stuff.

Google Ads, your fansite and click fraud

November 15th, 2008

I was poking around various fan fiction archives last night, looking for archives to contact about FanworksFinder. One of these archives was encouraging its members to click on Google Ads as a way of helping to cover costs. This had worked. When they stopped encouraging people, their Google Ads revenue dropped a lot. In the end, they were busted for click fraud as a result. (Because Google accused them of clicking on their own ads to make money.)

If you’re a fansite and you want to cover your costs, Google ads are one way to go. If they aren’t working on their own to raise revenue, DO NOT ENCOURAGE USERS TO CLICK ON ADS! DO NOT CLICK ON ADS YOURSELF! THAT IS CLICK FRAUD! You get caught at it and you all the revenue you’ve earned goes poof! You won’t get that check. I’ve seen a number of fansites get busted for click fraud where they encouraged their users to click on ads to cover costs. I’ve heard of several fan people who got busted for click fraud because they were accused of clicking on ads themselves. No check. And if you’re announcing the “Click to pay our bills!” effort on your site? Then anyone with a grudge against you can report you to Google Ads for click ad. You’re opening yourself up to lots of trouble. Don’t engage in click fraud!

If you need the money that badly to pay for costs for your fansite, there are ways that are much less risky than click fraud. There are three ways I recommend to help raise funds. First, ask your users to donate money to help cover costs. If your site is that important to them, they’ll contribute. Second, consider an advertising network like ProjectWonderful which pays out at $10 and is paid based on the amount of views to your site. Also fantastic about ProjectWonderful? You can encourage your users to buy ads for their sites and projects on your site. It isn’t just begging for donations then. Third, find a better hosting solution. You can move to a free host. (Transfer your wiki to say Wikia.) You can move to a cheaper host. (Fan History went from SiteGround to SliceHost and saved about $100 a month.) This could make your hosting more affordable for you. If you need more ideas, contact me on AIM at h2oequalswater or some other way. I’m more than willing to help you.

Just don’t engage in click fraud with Google Ads. You’ll get caught. It will cost you legit funds you earned. It is unethical. Just don’t do it! Find another solution!

Smaller fandoms, more writing conscious authors?

November 13th, 2008

I love looking at how many stories get added or subtracted from major archives. One of the things I’ve noticed is that for smaller fandoms, it seems like there are a lot more people removing stories than there are adding stories. At times, it feels like a ratio of for every three stories added, one gets removed. Or that some fandoms just look like they are losing stories. Example fandoms? Animaniacs, Angelic Layer, American Dragon, Battlestar Galactica, Bad Boy, Baby-sitter’s Club, Captain America.

I have no idea why these fandoms would have these patterns.  Most of the fan fiction authors I know don’t delete their stories.  And they keep them on FanFiction.Net because FanFiction.Net is probably the single best archive for smaller fandoms in terms of getting readers.  (Reviews is a different matter. I’ve heard lots of complaints that people don’t get the reviews there that they get elsewhere… but they do get the readers.)  So why remove stories?

So I badgered a few friends, nagged at them to get their opinions.  What they thought was that authors in smaller fandoms were more likely to be writing for more noble reasons.  They wanted to write a good story.  They wanted to improve their writing.  And authors who write for that reason are, according to their point of view,  more likely to delete/remove their stories if they don’t think that the stories are written well.  They don’t want to have stories they aren’t proud of hanging around.  They don’t want to subject their readers to those stories that don’t meet their quality standards.

So what do you think?  Are those writers deleting stories because they are more self aware when it comes to their writing?  Less focused on reviews and more focused on quality?  Or is there another reason at play for why authors are deleting their works?

Don’t do that! TPTB might find out!

November 13th, 2008

I used to read a lot of posts about how certain actions should not be taken lest the powers that be crack down on that fan, and as a consequence, all fans. (And these types of posts still exist.) There was frequently a Chicken Little “The sky is falling!” type pile on when some people were perceived as crossing lines that others felt that would bring down the wrath of others. CousinJean, the Star Wars self published novel, FanLib are three of the more visible examples to parts of the meta community over on LiveJournal.

And guess what Chicken Littles? The sky never fell. TPTB never unleashed that backlash. That whole exercise appeared to be more about social cohesion in a narrow community of fandom than it was ever about a real potential backlash. None ever happened. For all the talk of OTW creating a legal group because FanLib‘s existence was going to lead to a crack down and fans would need protection? No crackdown. TPTB weren’t going to do it. There was too much of a risk that they would lose in court.

When I see that argument these days, I really just roll my eyes. “Don’t do that! The Powers That Be MIGHT FIND OUT AND BRING PERIL TO OUR HOBBY!” Yeah. Right. These days, companies and individuals either actively seek to find out what is going on in fandom or hire out to have some one monitor what is going on for them. Your Harry Potter is 10 and doing Snape who is in his 30s fan art that you’ve posted publicly on a social networking site like DeviantART or LiveJournal or InsaneJournal? They know about it. That people are selling their works at conventions, on eBay, auctioning them off for donations to their favorite charities, that people are raising funds and making money in some form off those works? They know all about that too. And they haven’t done anything major about it in a long time.

So go screaming about how that’s the way things are, that by selling your fanart, the person is going to bring down the wrath of the intellectual property holders down on innocent, non-profiting fans. All you’re doing with that is demonstrating that you’re not cognizant of the existing business climate and its models, of what businesses are doing and affording yourself more privacy than you actually have: TPTB already know.

Camp Fandom 2.0

November 12th, 2008

I’m a big, big fan of barcamps and unconforences. They’re great fun, awesome learning experiences and a neat way to network. Since I attended RecentChangesCamp back in May 2008, I wanted to run a fandom specific one that dealt with the back end up of fandom. Some of the issues that fansite maintainers, community maintainers, wiki helpers, convention runners, gamers have are unique. Some of them are not so much. They can just feel that way when you’re busy struggling to figure out how to deal with problems. Getting the chance to network with people dealing with similar issues can be a challenge.

So we’re happy to announce Camp Fandom 2.0. It is being held on Friday, March 21 and Saturday March 22, 2009 at Illinois Institute of Technology, McCormick Tribune Campus Center. Camp Fandom 2.0 is free to attend and is geared toward the back end of fandom: Businesses operating in fandom, fansite maintaining, running conventions, being a dealer at a convention, people who are computer and web programming in the fan community, people producing vids, art and fan fiction, etc. If you’re a company involved with entertainment or fansite who want to demo your newest site or product, this camp is for you. If you’re looking to recruit people to help you or some one who wants to get more involved and looking for a project, attend! If you’re looking for people in the fan community familiar with issues of being involved in fandom and how to deal with those challenges, Camp Fandom 2.0 is also for you.

As we get closer to the event, we’ll post more details. If you have any questions, let me know. We’re also looking for volunteers to help run Camp Fandom 2.0.

Additional details are available on the BarCamp website.

Contributor copyright deletion requests

November 10th, 2008

About a month ago we had a situation come up regarding how to handle deletion requests for articles where there was one contributor. Given that, we’ve made a slight modification to our article deletion policy. It now includes the following:

If you are a contributor to Fan History who would like your edits removed/deleted, this can be done in the following situation:

* You are the sole contributor to an article where no one else has edited;
* Your edits are the most recent edits to an article; or
* You have made your edits from an account with a verified e-mail address or using an OpenID account and the request comes from the e-mail address affiliated with your user name.

If your edits qualify, then e-mail support@fanhistory.com with the name of your account and links to all the articles where you would like your edits removed.

What this means is if you’ve made contributions to an article as a logged in user with a verified e-mail address (or using OpenID) and you your edits removed, so long as you are the most recent contributor, we’re willing to do that. You just need to let us know. If some one else has made edits after you, than you’re out of luck. That is one of the possibilities when you contribute to a wiki. If you have any questions about this policy, please let us know.

Writing WoWWiki: Online Collaborative Composition in a Fan Community

November 9th, 2008

Writing WoWWiki: Online Collaborative Composition in a Fan Community is a dissertation written by University of Wisconsin, Madison students that looks at what the title suggests it looks at. If you’re interested in wikis and fan communities, this might be worth giving a read.

Is Obama/Biden/Emanuel slash your cup of tea?

November 8th, 2008

If it is, you might want to check out the LiveJournal community joebama which was created in August 2008 for all your Joe Biden/Barack Obama slash needs.

If you’ve ever wondered if Joe Biden and Barack Obama were having mad gay sex with each other who would be the top, a community member speculates.

As some one who has been in fandom for a long time, that such a community exist doesn’t really surprise me.  There were communities for slashing John Kerry and John Edwards back in 2004.   I’ve seen some Al Gore slash dating back to 2002.  There was Obama/Hillary Clinton het smut from early in the primaries.    But still, even given that, I’m still a bit surprised given the polarization regarding the election in parts of fandom where claiming you were a McCain supporter or that you weren’t planning to vote for Obama could lead to some social problems on some message boards.  (The inverse is likely true.  It just didn’t happen as much in my corner of fandom.)  Barak Obama at some point became kind of sacred as a result, very much a symbol of hope and change.  Given that attitude, slashing Barak Obama just surprises me…  And that there isn’t more backlash against this community because of that level of sacred also surprises me.  But maybe it has managed to avoid that backlash because it just hasn’t drawn the attention of those who would protest loudly about it.

LiveJournal bot update

November 6th, 2008

LiveJournal bot is finally working and has been up and running since yesterday. We’ve just had so many stutter starts with it but emufarmers and the developer finally got everything ironed out. There are a few kinks with spelling errors that I’m not sure where they came from. They are being noted and added to the To do… list for fixing. So far, it has created about 10,000 articles. With out doing a lot of comparisons, so far the biggest addition fandom wise has been Lord of the Rings where over 1,500 articles have been added. Harry Potter in contrast has only added about 500. That is about on par with the Jonas Brothers which added 540 articles. Once the bot finishes and we’ve identified most of the errors in terms of spelling, I’ll post a bigger update and analysis of what’s happening on LiveJournal in terms of fandom size based on our sample.

2nd Annual Open Web Awards: NOMINATIONS OPEN!

November 5th, 2008

2nd Annual Open Web Awards: NOMINATIONS OPEN!

At Fan History, we would really appreciate it if you could nominate FanworksFinder for social bookmarking and Fan History Wiki for wiki? And ask your friends to nominate both of sites too? We’d love your support!

Michael Crichton died :(

November 5th, 2008

According to the Chicago Tribune, Michael Crichton passed away. He was the author of a number of works, several of which were made into movies. They included Jurassic Park and the Andromeda Strain.

I was a huge fan of his Jurassic Park as a teenager. I would visit one of my friends or they’d come to my house and we’d play the video game our Sega Genesis. I remember first watching the movie at a friend’s house and being scared. And I later remember picking up his books and then passing them along to friends. To a degree, it was one of my early off-line fandoms. For that, I won’t forget him.

Michael Crichton on Fan History.

Article Deletion help

November 5th, 2008

Admins have been reporting that some people have had problems with where to place the ADR. If you want to an article about yourself deleted, you should put the ADR on the talk page of the article you want deleted.

More information on article deletion can be found at Help:Article deletion.

AOL is closing their journals. How to save yours.

November 2nd, 2008

If you have a journal on AOL and you want to save it before AOL removes their blogging services, Google wants to help you.

Use the following steps:

1. Sign in with the Google Account you would like associated with your blog. If you don’t have a Google Account, make one.

2. Once you’ve signed in with your Google Account, you’ll be asked to enter your AOL Journal URL. Do so and click “continue.”

3. On the next page you’ll be asked to sign in with your AOL OpenID screen name or email address.

4. The import process will then begin and may take a few minutes to complete.

5. After your blog finishes importing, you’ll be asked to choose a title for your new Blogger blog as well as a new address.

6. Once you’ve chosen a new title and address, you can then select one of their blog templates.

7. Click “view your imported posts” to visit your blog at its new address.

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