The problem with MySpace and FaceBook for fan groups is that people join their fan related communities and that’s it. There isn’t much interaction beyond that. (It is also a problem that plagues bebo and orkut.) One of the best general social networks for fans is LiveJournal, where you’ve got a population of at least 200,000 fans who have a higher than normal activity level when engaging on those communities compared to some of the other networks.
I’d like to see them do well because I like seeing fans succeed. I haven’t joined because I’m not in fandom for the competition. (But I’m not a normal case.) The competition aspect with other fans almost makes it sound memeish like Mafia Wars on FaceBook. Cool, but not for everyone. I prefer the competition aspects and community aspects on BuddyTV.com. I love the community aspects on LiveJournal. I love the informational aspects in the wiki community. I love the promotional chances and finding vids aspect of FanPop.
So we’ll see what happens and what sort of niche they can carve out. I just think the comparison to MySpace and FaceBook is not the best one. Maybe the model would have been better compared to gaiaonline.com?
The second comment was:
The problem with competition is that it can have a limited shelf life. It can bring certain types of people in. For fandom, community can really seal the deal and keep people involved, long after their interest in a particular media product has waned.
(Of course, there is also the aspect where community can intentionally keep people away because they don’t want to deal with certain types of people who they see as impeding on their fun. I can think of a large number of examples where this has happened on a micro and macro level.)
Most of the focus for self expression that I’ve seen that the fan community values highly is fan fiction, fan art (with icons and macros), fan vidding, fan related meta, role playing (cosplaying and LARPing) and costuming. Then there are various forms of community support and ingrained competition surrounding and supporting those. (With a lot of the infrastructure providing that not viewed as creative or important. Fans do an amazing job at adapting things not intended to support their activities to work for their needs.)
I’d love to know more about how SuperFan defines self expression. The tech crunch article doesn’t really doesn’t get in to it.
End comments. If you haven’t, you might want to check out SuperFan.