Posts Tagged ‘insanejournal’

Top referrers for the first week of June: Fan History Wiki

June 8th, 2009

It’s been a while since we looked at our referrers so here is a list of our top referrers for the period between June 1, 2009 and June 6, 2009. There are a few more referrers not on this list that provided less traffic. These are just our major ones.

Referrer Visits
livejournal.com

302

animenewsnetwork.com

213

chickipedia.com

211

bing

125

journalfen

121

twitter

73

fanfiction.net

67

tvtropes.org

54

deviantart

51

wikipedia

45

fanpop

38

wikia

30

inuyasha-fanfiction.com

28

jumptags.com

25

answers.yahoo.com

18

boards.endoftheinter.net

16

hogwartsnet.ru

15

imdb.com

11

therethere.net

10

wiki.fandomwank.com

10

dearauthor.com

9

savekp.proboards.com

9

cassandraclaire.com

8

encyclopediadramatica.com

8

i-newswire.com

8

identi.ca

8

russet-noon.com

7

wishluv.blogspot.com

7

insanejournal

2

answers.com

1

cwanswers.com

1

There are sites that don’t appear there where we’ve done a fair amount of link building including Mahalo. If you’re looking at them for link building and getting referrers? It probably isn’t worth the time. orkut, bebo, Quizilla, MySpace, Facebook aren’t on there.  We haven’t really done any link building on those sites.  We do have a fair amount of links on FriendFeed but as we are not actively engaged on there, we just don’t get traffic as a result.  Our Yahoo!Answers traffic are from past questions we’ve answered: We’re still getting traffic from them months later.  DeviantART links are all organic and weren’t us engaged in link building activities.

From the keyword vault…

May 6th, 2009

Sometimes, we get some interesting keyword searches on out blog that look like people need answers that we haven’t answered.  In that spirit, I’m going to address some of those.

what rating did the fans give the twilight movie and why

Ratings can best be found on Yahoo!Movies and on IMDB. Yahoo!Movies fans really liked the movie more than IMDB users. If there was a large amount of wank about the movie being awful, it never hit the radar of the people contributing to our Twilight article.

nicole p. and bonnaroo / nicole p. 104.5 / 104.5 bonnaroo contest

Looking for info on Nicole P?  And why she’s been getting votes in that contest?  That’s because we’ve been heavily plugging it in several places, including Fan History’s main page.   Go vote please.  We would really love for her to be able to go so she could report on music fandom for Fan History. :D

star trek fan total members

How many members are there  in the Star Trek fandom?  I can’t really answer that easily.   There are at least 5,500 fans on LiveJournal.  We can guess that there are over 3,000 on FanFiction.Net for Star Trek in its various forms.  We know there are at least 45 on InsaneJournal.  We also know there at least 43 on JournalFen.   There are probably other places to get numbers but those are the ones we have on the wiki.

the most obscure fandom ever

What is the most obscure fandom ever?  That’s almost impossible to answer.  There are a huge number of small fandoms with very few fan communities.  Some of them could be really old, with very little that got translated online.  A good example probably includes Road to Morocco.  You also can have local sports team for sports that don’t have big international audiences.  An example of that includes the Storhamar Dragons based out of Norway.  Most people probably haven’t heard of them.   So in this case, we really need the term obscure better defined.

fanfiction net – meme’s stargate

I don’t have a clue.   It might appear in our Stargate article, but skimming it?  I’m not seeing an answer.  Some one please educate me!

trace the ip address who visited my community on orkut

I’ve got nothing.  If you can put images in your profile or community, I highly suggest getting a paid account and using LJToys.  I just don’t know orkut well enough to provide better information.

anime fan art history

A history of fanart can be found on Fan History’s fanart article.  It really needs more work, and only generally touches on anime so the anime article might be a better source.

can wanking be beneficial to growth

We talked about this a lot in this blog entry about generating positive metrics.  Wanking can help provide short term traffic spikes but don’t provide long term traffic stability unless you can do that again and again and again on a consistent basis.  Depending on your content?  That may not be desirable.

So ends this edition of “From the keyword vault…”  I kind of liked writing this so I may do another edition soon.

It’s the next big thing! Or, maybe not.

April 14th, 2009

Last night I remembered to actually check in on my InsaneJournal account, for the first time in quite a few months.

I remember when, in the panic and frenzy of Strikethrough and Boldthrough, it seemed as though everyone was talking about how they’d be “leaving LiveJournal for good!”–yet very few, at least from my personal friends list, actually really followed through on that threat. One or two moved completely to JournalFen, which was cool, as I always check my JF friendslist daily because of certain communities and groups there like Fandom Wank and lol_meme that are highly active and have no equivalent elsewhere. A couple others moved to InsaneJournal, though, where at least in my corner of fandom no communities really took off that “required” my following with any regularity. I found reading repeatedly-mirrored posts from some people annoying, so as long as they were still copying all their posts between InsaneJournal and LiveJournal, why keep both on my friendlist? It was easier to just keep following them on LiveJournal. Though I thought about random different uses for my InsaneJournal, I never found the time or real push/need to use it. The #rss feeds I tried to set up on LiveJournal to read the two or three journals of people who’d moved elsewhere didn’t seem to work all that well and were an awkward solution at best. So in the end, I just lost touch with the people who moved entirely to InsaneJournal (though at least in one or two cases, they ended up coming back to LiveJournal after all…) As a separate website/social network, it had nothing compelling to offer me that I didn’t already get primarily on LiveJournal already, where all my non-fandom and wider-ranging-than-media fandom friends had remained.

So now, here it is some time (almost a year) later, and it seems that everyone is all abuzz about a new journaling site about to start selling accounts, Dreamwidth Studios. At least, everyone in certain corners of media fandom and the metafandom crowd, many of whom are praising the site up to be the best thing since perhaps the beginnings of the internet! And it’s where all the cool kids will be at! No, more than that, it means nothing less than the “parting of ways” of “LJ and fandom”! (Making that assumption, as some often seem to do, that LiveJournal media fandom is the be-all-and-end-all and only part of what constitutes “fandom” that matters.)

Admittedly, Dreamwidth Studios are making a lot of promises and talking about/implementing features that do give it strong appeal–not just to fandom but to most people who use any of the journaling clone sites. Changing the “friends” feature to differentiate between those you wish to follow and those you wish to grant access to reading your own posts, for one. A promise to operate completely without advertising support. The ability to follow, without needing to use rss, friends on other journaling sites. These are all great ideas and features that make getting an account there very tempting, and I no doubt will purchase the cheapest level account I can to give it a try (and reserve my username, of course.) And yet, the issue remains: if they build it, will people really come? Enough people to create real, active communities? Communities not found or still more active elsewhere?

A portion of media fandom may begin–and have already have begun–to migrate. But the apparent assumption by some of those moving that all will follow (or at least, all who matter) seems disingenuous, and quite a bit premature. Some people have already been put off by the overwhelming hype being put forth vocally and repeatedly by the site’s most ardent supporters: just like over-”pimping” a specific fandom to the point that some have grown sick of hearing about it before even seeing it or checking it out for themselves. And there is, albeit apparently mistaken, an assumption by some as well that Dreamwidth is part of or associated with the Organization for Transformative Works–which may not be the case, but the fact that some of the most vocal supporters of both groups are the same people has lead to this misconception and turned off some because of their already established negative-or-cautious feelings about OTW. There are those who have wondered if Dreamwidth will suffer from a smalltown mentality, and who worry because the site is apparently run by former members of the LJ Abuse team.

For me, personally, it just comes down to an issue of where my friends are, and where are the communities I want to participate in. Most of my friends are on LJ, at least my closest friends and the people I share the most interests with currently. I’m not really active in media fandom any longer; my main fandom is music and it took long enough to get some of my music-fandom friends to set up on LJ and find each other there. I can’t see trying to relocate my small communities like xmas_rocks, pinkfloydslash, hungry_4_you–nor having any real urge to do so–when they are just taking root on LiveJournal, and when I’ve seen little indication from members of those communities that they are planning on migrating to DW.

People who are moving are trying to assure everyone that it’ll still be easy as pie to communicate with them, whatever journaling site you remain based on. But like it or not, whenever you add any new step or barrier to communications–whether it’s having to sign-in via OpenID, or getting a new account, and oh yeah gotta remember that new password too and am I signed in or not and–oh, who cares!–people are going to be lazy and a lot are not going to bother. I’M horribly lazy, and I consider myself reasonably tech savy. But I’m LAZY. So any time you add another step in making me follow you to engage in feedback/conversation/etc, I’m less likely to do so. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. This applies especially to those who are turning off commenting on their x-posts except to go to DW. I can understand the reasons for doing that, in wanting to keep a conversation in one place, but…it has a slightly exclusionary feel to it that I don’t care for, and again, it’s that extra step that makes me less likely to engage. I’ve heard from others who find it offensive and a turn-off to engaging in a discussion they otherwise would have taken part in.

So…I suspect, what’ll happen is, just like I stopped regularly keeping up with some folks who moved off LiveJournal to InsaneJournal, I’ll probably lose some more folks if they move off to Dreamwidth. But I see the bulk of my friends-list staying right where they are for now–heck, no one outside of media fandom circles on my LJ friends-list is even mentioning DW, let alone talking about moving there–so I’m gonna stay right where the bulk of my real-life/music/rockfic/Philly/etc people are. If for no other reasons than a) being cheap and b) yeah, that laziness again.

I wish the folks at Dreamwidth well and, certainly, if the site takes off and ends up offering communities that interest me that I can’t find elsewhere, I just might start using the service as a regular part of my on-line time. But there are only so many social networks a person can spend their time on in each day, and each one, for me, has to offer something unique I can’t get elsewhere in actual content. Otherwise it’s nothing but a shiny new toy that may appeal to some, but should be assumed to appeal to all “just because”.

Fandom privacy: Your journal entries are not private

April 12th, 2009

Some parts of fandom treat LiveJournal, InsaneJournal and other public postings on journaling sites as private content. The rational is that this public content is published online for a small select audience, for a group of friends, intended only to stay inside a specific fannish community. When that public information gets shared in public, people can sometimes get really huffy. Witness the most recent case involving coffeeandink during Race Fail 2009.

Sometimes, we need a really good reminder that what you put out there in public, even if it is shared in the context of the fan community, is public. Today’s reminder comes from a court ruling involving MySpace. WebProNews summarizes it as follows:

A California court has ruled that a high school principal who sent a copy of a MySpace journal posting to a local newspaper is not liable for invasion of privacy.

The court ruled that Moreno gave up any claims of privacy when she posted the writing on MySpace. “Cynthia’s affirmative act made her article available to any person with a computer and thus opened it to the public eye,” the court said. “Under these circumstances, no reasonable person would have had an expectation of privacy regarding the published material.”

So when you’re posting online, in fandom or not, always remember that content posted publicly is not a violation of privacy and take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

The problems FanLore faces are not unique: Learning from Fan History’s experience

April 10th, 2009

At Fan History, we are always looking for ways to improve our content, increase contributions, and improve outreach to the greater community. As such, it is often useful to reflect inward on our own practices and to look outward, to look at other wikis, to see how they tackle these issues, as well as how they are perceived by the public.

Related to this continual practice of self-reflection and outward examination, Sidewinder recently brought a portion of this LiveJournal post regarding FanLore to our attention. It was instructive to go through and compare the problems that the two wikis have in common, and to enumerate the ways Fan History has been trying to deal with those problems ourselves. In some cases, the challenges are quite similar indeed, though our approaches to dealing with them differ. In other cases, the issues were ones we had confronted before and have worked hard in the past two years to improve upon.

http://nextian.livejournal.com/263577.html?format=light

To quote:

“On the one hand, Fanlore has a number of excellent, well-researched articles that are resources for discussions, fanworks, and historical projects. It is easy to edit, comes in multiple decent-looking skins, and has gardeners who are fantastically on the ball. On the other hand…

These are some of the things that FanLore has in common with Fan History. Both are excellent resources for the history of fandom, with some fandoms better represented than others on both. Fan History and FanLore have a number of different skins; Fan History has them available to registered members. Both wikis are easy to edit; Fan History’s templates are designed to give new editors a boost on organizing their materials. And both have “gardeners” or administrators who are involved and easy to contact.

My chief issue with Fanlore is that it is not, as it stands, a community project. There’s very little crosstalk,

Crosstalk takes effort and a commitment from those who are editing. It is why Fan History uses talk pages. It is why we ask people if they need help. It is why we create active talk pages to converse on how things are organized. These things need to be done openly, so that users can have input. We’ll admit that we aren’t always excellent at it… but we do try, and this is one area we have worked hard on improving. We know this is important to the success of a wiki.

Sometimes, crosstalk can be hindered on a wiki. We’ve found this to be a problem at times as some members of the fan community have had limited exposure to wikis. They don’t understand how wikis work. They might not understand the purpose – or even the existence – of a talk page. They might be used to a certain wiki or another project which doesn’t have the same idea of constantly sharing, constantly asking questions, constantly editing, constantly revising. There is a learning curve. As wiki administrators, we need remove those barriers to create crosstalk, to make the users aware of crosstalk. On Fan History, we’re still working on that.  Both FanLore and Fan History need to improve by using methods such as welcoming members, following up with one time contributors, and even changing the text on our talk tab – easy, since we’re using MediaWiki.

no central LJ comm,

We don’t have an LiveJournal community, either. We do have one on InsaneJournal that we use mostly for information sharing. The content, though, tends to be mirrored from our blog. Our recent changes are shown on our Twitter and identi.ca accounts. Our admins are also found on Twitter and they sometimes discuss organizational efforts with a wider community there. But neither our microblogging presence, nor our InsaneJournal presence are in any way really comparable to an off-wiki version of wikiHow’s New Article Boost.

We also have this blog on a subdomain of our wiki. You don’t have to be a member to read it. If you want to comment, you can, just by filling out the form with your name and website address. You can carry over your disqus presence when you comment. It’s our way of bringing our work to a greater fandom audience than the one found on LiveJournal.

We feel it is important that major news, discussions and policy matters are discussed on Fan History itself instead of on an off-site community such as LiveJournal. We try to keep those conversations on the wiki, announcing discussions and events on our main page, and then posting about them on the blog to make finding the conversation easier. Wikis need fewer barriers to help fans get involved.

Other wikis have different means of discussing their organizational and content objectives. wikiHow does their organizing with the wikiHow Herald . On it, they talk about projects they are working on. They highlight featured contributors. They encourage the general community through that and through wikiHow’s forums . A few other wikis on Wikia also have forums where they discuss policy issues, plan article and category improvements, and build a community for their wiki. AboutUs doesn’t really have forums, but they have a GetSatisfaction account where you can ask about policy issues, for article help, and find out how you can get involved in an off-wiki manner.

the chat has been empty every time I’ve gone in,


Fan History recently changed its chat server to
chat.freenode.net in #fanhistory. Unfortunately, it seems that the chat at Fan History is nearly empty, too. But chat can really help with community development. AboutUs, Wikia, wikiHow and EncyclopediaDramatica use it extensively. ED has their own server where people occasionally break out of the main room to work on side projects. wikiHow folks use their chatroom on chat.freenode.net to coordinate patrolling Recent Changes, for writing parts of the Herald, and for discussing improving projects like wikiArt. AboutUs has staff members and community members in their chatroom, ready to help people out who have questions or who are looking for information on how to contribute. It just takes a few dedicated regulars to make it workable.

and the Issues page is a masterpiece of passive-aggressive “well you
may be correct but I feel that possibly your face is stupid.”

Fortunately for Fan History, we seem to have fewer of those issues. We have certainly had articles and sections of the site which have been subject to edit wars and bias concerns, but we have tried to work with the parties involved to create as unbiased a history as possible in these cases. And when a administrator feels personally too close to a subject, that administrator will ask that others with a more neutral stance get involved.

Among other things, this means that there’s no clear outline of what needs work;

Well, they are wikis. If you understand wikis, you can’t really outline what needs to be done as this constantly evolves as a wiki grows. You can begin to outline what needs to be done on talk pages, or on how to lists, etc. The trick is less outline, more “How do you communicate with contributors outside the core to understand what their goals and intentions are for contributing to the project? How do you foster them and work them into your existing wiki work?” If someone comes in and makes an edit, you welcome them and ask how you can help them. Or say something like “Hi! Thanks for your edit on Lord of the Rings. We’ve been wanting to see it improved for a while. If you’re planning on sticking around for a while, we’d love for you to help the category structure there. It could benefit from some one who knows the fandom really well making it more fandom specific. [How does your fandom organize ships and what are the standard ship names? We've not touched those articles because we're not sure.]“

there’s no reward system for putting up a good page,

This is hard. Most bigger wikis like Wikipedia and wikiHow do BarnStars. But when there are just a few regular contributors, doing that becomes difficult. Depending on who is doing the editing, BarnStars can end up looking like a lot of self-congratulatory work.

What Fan History tries to do is to thank really great contributors on our main page and on the blog. We’ve also considered doing an extended featured article on the main page as a reward for the editors who do a lot of work on their own People article. There are other ways of giving those who create good articles and make good edits the feedback that keeps them coming back and continuing.

especially since (as yet) no one is using it as a resource;

This is a battle Fan History faces all the time: demonstrating our relevance. Something like wikiHow, AboutUs, Wikipedia, PoliceWiki even wikiFur and EncyclopediaDramatica have built-in audiences. Or the wikis have done a great job of demonstrating their relevance. wikiFur pretty much made themselves into THE furry portal through content selection and organization. They’ve worked with the community and created standards for writing articles about members. This has made it easier for the the wiki to serve their community peacefully. AboutUs has developed relationships with sites that provide domain information – to the point where you almost can’t get whois information without stumbling across them. PoliceWiki has done a lot of outreach to photographers and musicians to get permission to use their images and content on the site. Through the years, they have also worked to get those directly involved with the band to contribute material themselves as a way of presenting the most accurate resource for the fandom possible–and building good professional relationships. Getting a wiki recognized as a good resource takes concentrated effort, time and marketing. People need to know you’re there before anything else!

policy remains unclear in a number of important areas,

Making policy clear, and changing it when it becomes necessary is important in a collaborative effort such as a wiki. Fan History has been willing to do this, and has opened up policy changes for public discussion on talk pages, linking those pages to the main portal. It is vital to have clear policy on many issues in a wiki, such as privacy, deletion of articles, content relevancy guidelines, overall organization, and these things are best resolved then made clear to the public sooner rather than later.

such as cross-platform work with Fancyclopedia and the Fandom Wank wiki

In the past, we’ve cited the Fandom Wank wiki, but that in itself caused a lot of wank, so we’ve discontinued using it as a main source for information on new and existing articles. On a plus side, Fan History is “working” with FanLore by ?]" href="http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/FanLore">linking to their articles and citing them as a source in more articles. We have relationships with a few fandom specific wikis such as PoliceWiki and RangersWiki to “mirror” articles relevant to both sites, helping to build cross-community work and traffic to both wikis as a result. We also allow some mirroring of articles with AboutUs. We talk extensively to others in the wiki community, developing positive and beneficial relationships so where we know we can turn for help when needed. This includes having open communications with people who run AboutUs, EncyclopediaDramatica, wikiHow, wikiindex, Richmond Wiki, Wagn, wikiTravel, Kaplak Wiki, Wikimedia Foundation and Wikia. They’ve provided us with assistance on things such as advertising issues, content development, policy creation and letting us use extensions they’ve developed. A lot of this is about becoming a good wiki neighbor, finding areas where projects compliment each other but don’t compete. It fosters the whole idea of the wiki Ohana that is a favorite subject at RecentChangesCamp.

– and, to my deepest dismay, it is not currently a wiki for all of fandom.

This may be an unrealistic goal for any overall wiki on “fandom”–at least if fandom is being defined as covering all aspects and types of fandoms, from sports to television to music to video games. Fan History currently has over 4,000 fandoms represented on our 595,000 plus articles. We don’t even begin touch all of fandom. Truthfully, we don’t think that it’s possible to reach and represent every little corner, every tiny fandom. But we’re trying, oh, we’re trying, and trying to make it easier for people to add those fandoms that aren’t there yet. We’re doing a lot of aggressive outreach, building a lot of stub content and getting people invested. The outreach part is critical but frequently, for many good projects outreach doesn’t get done. It takes a huge amount of time away from content development, and from working on the core goals of the wiki. It can be loads of no fun and requires the kind of commitment that people invested in only a small subcomponent of the wiki might not want to do.

Fanlore is, as it stands, a chronicle of the fannish experience of an extremely small subset of media fans. Have you seen the current incarnation of the Who page? The Harry Potter page? Compare that to the Due South page or the Sentinel page. Though the fandom sizes of Doctor Who and Harry Potter remain enormous, no one is working on them.

Fan History faced much of the same criticism early on, and still does. Some of our fandom pages and categories are great, and have received a tremendous amount of work–often from one or two very dedicated people. But our own Doctor Who and Harry Potter articles could use some work, too. Still, they are a nice representation of what is possible. It is also why we have “Move; don’t remove” as our mantra because as you develop a history, you learn that things must be placed into context, especially when you have large amounts of data.

Some of our administrators and regular contributors spend time building up stub articles and categories in fandoms that we know are popular, to try to make it easier for new users to add their knowledge and experience. But it all takes time and effort and only so much can be done in each day.

And I think that is self-perpetuating. I’ve stubbed out a number
of pages in large fandoms, including the Who version I linked
you to above, but it is not rewarding to do some work on a
collaborative project and receive no … collaboration.

Fan History, wikiHow, RichmondWiki and AboutUs all have a structure that makes it easy for people to come in and figure out how to add content. We try to have a structure on Fan History where people can easily slot things in with out having to worry about writing and editing large tracks of prose. As a result, creating article stubs that can be filled in more fully later isn’t as big of a problem as it could be.

As for collaboration, it’s definitely something that smaller wikis have problems with, but when it happens, it can be fantastic to see. We loved watching this happen with articles such as the Rescue Rangers article, the Shota article, the Draco/Hermione article, the Race Fail article and others. And if one or two people are creating content, they end up learning a lot about fandoms outside their own, which is always a plus. Because in the case of Fan History? A lot of what we are about is sharing knowledge with others.

I am not castigating the other editors for this — that would be somewhat absurd — but I do wonder why I have not seen Fanlore more widely linked to other communities, outside of the one that the founders of the OTW are members of.

This is not hard to figure out. People will link to an article organically if they see a need to or think contributing will benefit themselves. Fan History’s Draco/Hermione gets a lot of views because it has become a resource for finding old and influential fics. People also link to articles about themselves because they’re excited to see themselves mentioned in a wiki. It is another way that they can promote themselves and their work. One of the published authors on our wiki has seen twenty visits a month on the article about herself, which is an incentive to keep it updated and to contribute to our community. Other people contribute in order to control how outsiders view them. That can be seen on Fan History most clearly with the case of AdultFanFiction.Net and Rescue Rangers. Still others contribute to Fan History in order to promote conventions they are involved with, to try to up the standing of those authors and artists they love, or just for the LULZ. That latter one, we think, ends up indicating a certain amount of success if they think that Fan History is worth trying to get LULZ from.

We’ve also developed a large amount of links by linking them ourselves. AboutUs?  bebo? Chickipedia? Delicious? Facebook? FanPop? identi.ca? InsaneJournal? Last.fm? LinkedIn? LiveJournal? MySpace? Orkut? Plurk? Twitter?  Wikia? wikiidex? All of these are linked at Fan History. We also developed content that people would want to link to. Articles about the ordinary fan and fleshed out content on topics or relevant content that can’t be found elsewhere. And it is why our desire to get a few interns (are you interested in interning with us? Contact Laura!) is less for the wiki itself than the community outreach because we know doing that will lead to edits.

Fanlore should have extensive entries on “slan” and “Victoria Bitter,”
not just Laura and Bodie from
The Professionals.

Interesting that FanLore’s most edited article, the last time one of our admins bothered to check, was about Fan History and/or its owner. Here are our top ten most edited articles that didn’t have bot contributions:

  1. Harry Potter

  2. Draco/Hermione

  3. Bandfic

  4. Beauty and the Beast

  5. Supernatural

  6. Digimon

  7. CSI

  8. Rescue Rangers

  9. Doctor Who

  10. X-Files

We’ve been working to make certain our most edited articles are not our personal loves or the people we dislike. Why? It’s not conducive to building a community. We’ve learned this the hard way, admittedly, so it is not surprising to see that another wiki may be encountering the same issues. That said, being seen as a personal “grudge” site with too narrow a focus is not good for building positive public relations. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to rebuild trust after working the bias out of your more problematic articles.

I know the only answer to this is “edit it yourself,” but I feel that a stronger sense of community among Fanlore editors would make new editors more comfortable and allow a broader range of articles to arise.”

That’s a problem every wiki faces. But you have to learn from both your own mistakes and the mistakes of others. Learn what makes other wikis successful and adapt them for your own purpose.

We wish FanLore nothing but the best of luck in their endeavor. It is a long a bumpy road but one that be filled with tremendous personal satisfaction in creating a great tool for the greater fan community.

March 2009: Most popular fandoms

April 1st, 2009

March has ended and I’m feeling in the mood to blog. So in celebration of March ending and spring coming, a list of the most popular fandom articles on Fan History for the month of March and a break down of the most popular articles on Fan History for the first quarter of the year.

March 2009: Most popular fandoms

  1. Cassandra Claire – her new book came out this month
  2. Naruto – lots of traffic from search
  3. Digimon
  4. Twilight – fandom is really popular
  5. Harry Potter – Fan History has lots of content
  6. Dragon Ball Z – lots of traffic from search, lots of content
  7. Mortal Instruments – last book in trilogy came out
  8. Gundam Wing
  9. Supernatural – fandom has been wanking a lot
  10. Bleach – lots of traffic from search

January to March 2009: Most popular fandoms

  1. Cassandra Claire
  2. Naruto
  3. Digimon
  4. Twilight
  5. Gundam Wing
  6. Harry Potter
  7. Mortal Instruments
  8. Dragon Ball z
  9. Supernatural
  10. Pride and Prejudice

January to March 2009: Most popular ships

  1. Draco/Hermione
  2. Snape/Hermione
  3. Michael/Maria
  4. Taito
  5. Draco/Ginny
  6. Takari
  7. Harry/Draco
  8. Sesshoumaru/Kagome
  9. Max/Liz
  10. Harry/Ginny

January to March 2009: Most popular fans

  1. Msscribe
  2. Cori Falls
  3. Ithilien22
  4. Laura
  5. Heidi8
  6. Minisinoo
  7. Black-Beri
  8. FictionLyn
  9. Capnnerefir
  10. Maygra

January to March 2009: Most popular fansites/fan fiction archives

  1. Sakura Lemon Fan-Fiction Archive
  2. FanFiction.Net
  3. AdultFanFiction.Net
  4. GreatestJournal
  5. LiveJournal
  6. FanWorks.Org
  7. Galbadia Hotel
  8. FanDominaton.Net
  9. FanLib
  10. InsaneJournal

Twilight fandom… so big! so active!

January 6th, 2009

I love data which helps paint a picture of fandom: How big is it? How active are the communities in it? So I was interested when I finally got some data from LiveJournal regarding the size of fandom on LiveJournal. We know it isn’t totally comprehensive but we have a list of 59 LiveJournal communities dedicated to the Twilight fandom.

Kicking off this year, between January 2 and January 4, these communities had 246 new posts. They had 7,425 additional comments. 278 new members joined these communities and 175 started watching them. That seems really, really high.   The average post is getting 30 comments.  That’s pretty big all things considered.  (Naruto for the sake of comparison is averaging around 6.9. D’espairs Ray is averaging 15.35 comments a post.) The communities are getting a whole lot of new members and are generating a whole lot of conversations, especially when compared to some other services like FanPop, FanFiction.Net and InsaneJournal. The size of Twilight fandom, at its current stage is thus just mind blowing. If there is any doubt that this is the new big fandom, all you need to do is compare it to Harry Potter, where the community list is has 73 total communities that it monitors.

I can’t wait to get more data to see what is going on in the Twilight fandom!

The following is a list of LiveJournal communities in our sample of 59 communities:

http://community.livejournal.com/crepusculito/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/crepusculoes/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/early_evening/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/edward_dazzles/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/edwardrosalie/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/emmett_rosalie/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/esmecarlisle/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/forks_high/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/forks_posse/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/jasperalice/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/just_cullen/

http://community.livejournal.com/lasirius/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/jacobleah/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/ily_taycob/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/latuacantate/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/lion_lamb/

http://community.livejournal.com/lionwolf/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/loveattwilight/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/modattack/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/musasenelclaro/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/read_twilight/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/sortofbeautiful/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/staytwilight/

http://community.livejournal.com/tm_switzerland/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twiconawards/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilicons/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_addict/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_adult/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_book/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_fics/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_film/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_italy/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_macros/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_santa/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_series/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_stamp/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_videos/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_t00bs/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight100/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightcien/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilighters_it/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightfan/

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightlims/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightmanips/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightxchange/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twi_ficrequest/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilightersanon/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/packnumbertwo/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/ecullendotorg/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/operationplaid/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/her_muse/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/newtonoutfitter/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twilight_fin/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twifin_mods/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/twstoryseek/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/vampires_et_cie/profile

http://community.livejournal.com/hpvamp/

http://community.livejournal.com/pattinson_daily/

http://community.livejournal.com/pattinsonlims/

49 of these communities are English language based. 2 are Finnish. 1 is French. 2 are Italian. 5 are Spanish. If you know of any communities not on this list which you think should be included, please let me know.

Keyword peaks for fandoms and fansites on Fan History in 2008

December 31st, 2008

The following are when interest, based on keyword (not keyphrase), spiked in 2008 on Fan History according to Google Analytics…

January 5

January 11

January 13

January 14

January 27

February 22

February 27

March 2

March 8

March 13

March 18

April 17

April 29

May 22

May 27

June 10

June 13

July 6

July 20

July 24

July 29

August 3

August 11

August 12

August 13

August 21

August 22

August 23

September 12

September 27

September 29

October 6

October 15

October 16

October 17

October 20

October 21

October 31

November 6

November 9

November 9

November 11

November 22

November 23

November 28

December 1

December 6

December 9

December 11

December 28

December 29

Fandom sized samples… how big?

December 6th, 2008

I’ve been bouncing off the walls for a bit now as we’re supposed to be getting a new bot for Fan History that is similar to Fan Fiction Stat Bot.  (It won’t probably be ready for another three weeks to a month.  I’m not in that much of a hurry and I’d rather the developer do it right.) The major difference is that this one will look at LiveJournal, its clones and the growth/size of fandom on them by monitoring the number of new posts and total comments to a selection of communities, which will then sorted by fandom so as to be able to compare the sizes of different fandom groups.

The sample community list is about 2,500 different communities.  It represents probably about 750 different fandoms.  The list isn’t 100% comprehensive because you can’t find every LiveJournal community based on a fandom and you can’t list every fandom.  And that’s what leaves me flummoxed.  How much time should be spent building a more comprehensive list of LiveJournal communities?  And InsaneJournal communities?

The thing with the sample is that I know going in that it won’t cover everything.  It isn’t possible.  It isn’t feasible.  The communities need to be manually vetted to make sure that while they might actually say list Twilight as a fandom, the community is actually about Twilight.  (And not say a community of pictures of sunsets.)   This list takes a lot of time to compile.  I’ve probably spent in the neighborhood of 24 hours compiling the list that was used for LiveJournal bot.  The updated list which will be used for this bot I’ve probably spent an equal amount of time compiling as I’ve needed to develop lists for InsaneJournal, JournalFen, Inksome, Scribbled, Blurty, DeadJournal and ivanovo.ru.  I could easily spend another week adding to the list beyond that, bringing the LiveJournal list to 5,000 communities and the InsaneJournal list to 1,000.  The other services have much less activity and fandom communities are much harder to find.  To a degree, it takes much more time to find those fandom communities for a much smaller list.  Two or three of those services are lucky to have five communities on them.

There are other issues. A lot of communities are long abandoned, not having been updated in years in some cases.  (This feels like it the case for smaller fandoms.)  They are never going to appear on any list of active fandoms as a result.  Including them feels necessary but also counterproductive because of the sparse amount of activity related to them.  Still, if we don’t have them in our list, how good of a sample do we really have?  And what is the cut off point?  I know for Fan History, we’ve posted to communities which haven’t had activity in more than a year… so new posts, new members, new comments are always possible.  Except probably in the case of role playing communities.  Those pretty much feel dead once the players have quit the game.

Another issue is sample size. How many communities is enough?  When do you stop the list?  Is it better to have fewer fandoms represented but to get a more communities represented for that fandom?  Or should we find one or two communities which we can have represent the whole of the fandom?  More fandoms or more communities per fandom?  I look at the Harry Potter and Twilight fandom lists and go ZOMG! Those huge fandoms only have about 20 communities in that sample!  They are HUGE! They should have at least 100!  Naruto, Inuyasha! Same deal! But we are still missing a whole slew of actors and television shows and anime and manga!

The dataset we are going to develop is going to be really, really interesting, and really, really useful.  It will help provide some data which can give a quantitative picture to exactly what is happening in parts of LiveJournal fandom.  It will help give a picture as to the size, comparitive size of various fandoms on LiveJournal.  You’ll also be able to examine the effect of certain events in the fandom to the size and amount of activity in fandom.  For instance, does a community being features on Fandom Wank lead to posting and membership spikes or a membership drop?  Does the release of canon cause an increase in posting volume, create a membership spike or both?  I’m really excited about getting this bot developed and up and operating.

In the meantime, you’ll see me over there busy working on adding to that list…

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?

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.

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…

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.

Fan History: August 2008: Traffic sources in the world of social networking

September 1st, 2008

It’s September 1. It feels like a good time to talk about traffic again and issues in getting traffic. Once again, I’m looking at Fan History’s traffic. This time, it is for August 2008.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love twitter. I love the community. I love reading about the business end of running a startup, running a blog, running a website. Lots of time is spent talking about the whole traffic issue, linking to people’s blog posts about getting traffic. They tend to emphasis breaking traffic down into several areas and then talk up promoting your project in various areas. I’ve broken these categories down into the three following areas: Microblogging, social networking and social bookmarking. You’re supposed to interact on these spaces to help build up an audience who will be interested in what you have to say. I’ll explain how Fan History does that below each chart.

Have I mentioned I love Twitter? I do love Twitter. (And you can find me on Twitter at purplepopple.) I’ve set up various accounts on Twitter to aggregate Fan History’s recent changes page for the English version, and the Spanish version. I get some traffic from Twitter because I mention Fan History once a day. It would probably be more if I had more followers or if our recentchanges twitter account was promoted more. Unlike a number of other services, I am an active participant on twitter because I love the community and I learn a lot from it.

pownce is a newer service. I post to pownce from ping.fm but I’m not checking it or following it much. Not much of a surprise then that I’ve gotten one hit from them. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a service I want to invest my time in with the goal of generating traffic.

friendfeed is about community to a degree. I have my friendfeed set up with pretty much every service I use. I have probably five friends on it. If you follow me, I follow you. I check it once a day. If you’re following my friendfeed, you inevitably get slammed with links on some days when I’m busy promoting Fan History. I’m just not involved with it the community that much. I get more hits from there than I do from Pownce though.

I used to be a big fan of identi.ca. There appeared to be a great wiki community that looked like they were going to use it because the creator was a big name in the wiki community. People’s usage of identi.ca seems to have trailed off, with folks going back to twitter or trying out different services. I post there because of ping.fm and check it once a day. My followers list is pretty small. I’m not surprised at the lack of traffic from the service.

Social bookmarking is something I don’t really do. I’m kind of locked into the whole traditional bookmarking thing. I love mine. And I love sage, a Firefox plugin.

Still, it seems to be everyone’s goal to hit it big on digg as a way of generating a traffic spike, pushing down less then desirable mentions on search engines and making people more familiar with your site. So I and others affiliated with Fan History use digg to promote Fan History. We don’t really advertise digg submissions, don’t ask that people digg our submissions. Rather, we tend to go for bulk quantity submissions as we have over 475,000 articles on Fan History. When we’re actively doing bulk submissions on Digg for fandom oriented articles, we can get some digg traffic but those 10 to 20 hits take a lot of work. It sometimes doesn’t feel worth it.

FanPop is almost a social networking site for fandom. I used to promote Fan History on it a lot. I didn’t do that much in August because in July, digg traffic made it not seem worth the effort of doing that. Unlike digg, we couldn’t submit everything and the kitchen sink. We had to submit in very specific categories after finding the right spot. Still, it was a pleasant surpise of sorts to find that FanPop seemed to consistently give us three to eight hits a day. It is something worth looking at and going back to and adding more links to our content there.

delicious is a popular personal social bookmarking tool. It is a really popular social bookmarking tool inside fandom, where Fan History operates. There are probably over a thousand links to Fan History content on the site. It just doesn’t generate much traffic for us. A lot of times, it feels there really isn’t much of a community behind the site and bookmarks are trapped behind locked doors of people’s own links. We seem to get the occasional hit if we add a hundred or so links but on the whole, it really isn’t worth our time to use as a way to generate traffic.

stumbleupon. One day in August, we got 68 visits as a result of stumbleupon. A friend e-mailed me to tell me we made it after he stumbled across Fan History on stumble. We submit there but the stumble bump had very little connection to our attempts to use stumble to promote our content.

LiveJournal is one of the major homes to fandom on-line where people frequently refer to other content located elsewhere. As such, Fan History spends a lot of time using LiveJournal to promote our content. We’ve also found that using LiveJournal helps with our SEO and, unlike digg, we can get traffic from LiveJournal months after the initial plug. It’s fabulous. When I get together with other people, I tend to plug LiveJournal as an awesome source for traffic because of that. Our traffic looks pretty consistently high as a result of LiveJournal referrers. That happened with us plugging Fan History on LiveJournal a total of maybe only eight days out of the thirty-one. LiveJournal is also a place where, unlike many of the services mentioned in this post, I’m actively involved. I use LiveJournal. I post regularly on LiveJournal for my own private use. I engage others on the service. It’s like twitter for me. … Only as opposed to discussing the business end of what I do, I discuss the fan end.

InsaneJournal and JournalFen are LiveJournal clones. JournalFen has an established community of fan fiction and fandom people over 18. I’m not really involved there these days. It just isn’t my community. When we get traffic from JournalFen, it tends to be connected to Fandom Wank. As Fandom Wank can be a major reputation hurter, we’re not generally aiming to be mentioned there.

We use InsaneJournal like we use LiveJournal. It just isn’t used that much because it doesn’t have the depth of communities that LiveJournal has, doesn’t have the audience that LiveJournal has and doesn’t generate comparable traffic. Those things limit the usefulness of InsaneJournal.

MySpace generates a few hits for us here and there. Fan History mostly gets plugged on MySpace groups and in my profile. We’re not expecting it to be a major traffic source. It would be nice to get a bigger audience there but just not sure how to do it. And I’m not that interested in slogging through the service to become involved.

FaceBook is similar to MySpace. I promote it on my profile. It gets fed my comments from ping.fm that also go to twitter. The lack of a good search tool probably hurts our potential to get more traffic as a result. I use FaceBook to keep track of my friends, for occasional wiki things, for event finding. I’m not involved in the fan community located there.

We occasionally promote Fan History on bebo and orkut. Neither has been a particularly useful traffic driver and the fan community tends to fall outside my comfort level. So while that community is large, I don’t know it well enough to try to capitalize off of it.

LinkedIn gives us a few hits. Most of these are off my profile page. LinkedIn is another one of those sites I don’t always understand so trying to leverage it for more traffic can be a bit confusing. I’m not really involved in the community there either.

blogspot links are not ones that we create. We tend to get them after we plug Fan History on LiveJournal or after we e-mail a blogger and ask for a plug. blogspot doesn’t offer an easy way to contact people. That makes it hard to ask for plugs for Fan History. If it was, we’d probably spend a lot more time making such requests.

Conclusion
The services where I’m most active as a community participant are the ones where we get the most traffic. It is probably why LiveJournal will continue to be our primary tool to promote Fan History.

How not to appear on Fan History

April 28th, 2008

This is copy and pasted from Fan History’s Privacy help page. It is worth repeating in this blog as many people are not aware of the extent to which the information they put out there in fandom is accessible to others.

Fan History’s advice to those in fandom who want privacy, want to avoid the possibility of ever being mentioned on Fan History or want to never have people link to their work outside their control:

1. Always assume that anything you post on the Internet may become public and respond accordingly. Assume some one may screencap it or discuss it elsewhere, even if the message board, fan fiction archive, mailing list is private and requires a password to access the content. Do not assume that any standards in fandom will keep people from revealing what you share. Always assume that your loved ones, friends, employers, potential employers, the media or academics might be linked to any thing you published on the Internet.

2. Never share your real name in anyway that can connect back to your fan name. Do not do it behind locked posts. Do not share it on private communities. Do not allow your real name and fan name to be connected at conventions. Do not assume that people will respect your desire to keep your real name out of fandom.

3. Do not assume that rules regarding Internet privacy do not apply to fandom, or that, because of fandom, you have increased privacy as fans realize the importance of privacy. Cultural expectations for that differ from site to site, archive to archive, community to community, person to person. Do not assume that because it is fandom that web companies will honor what you see as cultural norms regarding fandom privacy. Fandom needs are frequently not the same as business needs. Fandom does not share universal rules regarding privacy. If you make that assumption and behave accordingly, you risk being burned and burned badly.

4. Do not join any social networking services. This includes MySpace, FaceBook, Bebo, Orkut, LiveJournal, InsaneJournal, LiveSpace, etc. Information on social networking is increasingly shared. Making the information on those sites more searchable and more accessible across sites is increasingly part of business plans for new web enterprises. The profiles on those sites also contain a fair amount of historical information about your experience in fandom. This includes groups you belong to, your interests, universities and colleges you attend, your age and other personal information. If the profile is publicly accessible, people can link to it. Any other information that is public on the site can be linked to by anyone, including complete strangers who you know nothing about.

5. Do not join any message boards. Many message boards create profiles. The profiles on many message board contain a fair amount of historical information about your experience in fandom. This includes when you joined, threads you were participated, any contact information you include, etc. If the profile is publicly accessible, people can link to it. You might not like who could link to this information.

6. Do not publish on any fan fiction archives that are publicly accessible. If it is publicly accessible, people can link to it and discuss it outside of your control.

7. Always make sure that you have robots.txt files which deny all robots from indexing the fan fiction archive you belong to, your personal site, blog, index, mailing list archive or any other site which you belong to. Most robots honor robot.txt files and won’t violate them. If they don’t, many robots, like Google and the Internet Archive, consider it okay to copy everything posted to their own servers. The site is the one telling them they can do that and not much you can do about it.

8. Check the robots.txt file of any site you publish on. If you do not like the robot.txt information, do not publish anything on the site. If you do, you could be giving companies like Google and the Internet Archive permission, whether you intend to or not, to copy your work and store it on their servers, way out of your control.

9. Do not allow RSS feeds on sites where you post that might export your content to news aggregators and rss search engines. Some of these aggregtors will, depending on the type of RSS feed you have, post the full content of your submission. This is the case for a site like LiveJournal and for scripts like WordPress. Some sites, such as archives using efiction, have rss feeds which announce new story submissions. You cannot generally control where these RSS feeds show up, nor always follow who is watching them. They might be included in obscure RSS search engines that you’ve never heard of. If you allow them or on a site that uses them in relation to your content, then you’re taking control away from where your information and content is being shared.

10. Keep contact in fandom to a minimum. If you interact with people, it increases the chances that you will share information with people that could be made public. If you interact with people, you risk annoying people who might then hold grudges against you. If you interact with people, you risk people saying nice things about you and wanting to share how nice you are with others. You cannot trust that people will not share anything you shared with others, even if you think that the person is your BFF in fandom. To avoid such sharing, avoid contact.

11. If you are going to be involved in fandom, avoid wank at all costs. Wank will get you attention. Wank will motivate people to share, break FLock and password community expectations. Wank will motivate people to share private e-mails and personal communications with others. Wank will draw increased attention to you and your actions.

12. Find out about who you are interacting with in fandom to determine if they might be some one who might share with others things you have done and avoid people who might share information at all costs. Check Fan History and Fandom Wank. Search on various search engines including Google, message board search engines, Usenet search engines and more. Ask around about people. Find out the history of that individual in fandom and out. Ask their fandom friends about the history of their behavior. Make sure you know who you are dealing with and if you want to risk dealing with them. If you do not want to deal with the, avoid and avoid their social network.

13. Always read privacy statements. Understand what they say. Realize what information that you could be sharing and who could be looking at it.

14. Realize that your every keystroke is likely being tracked. Google keeps records of every search you make. With services like gmail and adsense, a program picks up keywords from your content to give you contextualized ads. Companies like Hitwise get data from ISPs that is used to market to people. Most websites keep logs of every visitor that visits their site based on IP address and can tell which pages you visited and for how long you stayed. There are counters like ljtoys.org.uk, SiteMeter, GoogleAnalytics, Quantcast and StatCounter which allow blog maintainers and web site maintainers to track that information. The best way to avoid being tracked is to not visit any site which concerns you.

15. Regularly check sites like LjSEEK.com and Google to make sure your information is not included and take steps to remove that material as you spot it. Consider subscribing to a service like Trackur or Google Alerts to monitor where you are mentioned. You have to be proactive in protecting your privacy as industry trends, upon which the backbone of some fandom activities are built, are about sharing information and making things more accessible across sites. This can be great for fandom but if you’re genuinely concerned about your privacy and the ability to control where and how people talk about you or the content you create, this is not good. Given that, it is up to you to maintain your privacy and where people link to you.

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