McFLY 2015 has an official site

I’m a little late in reporting this. Ok, way late, but those of you yearning for the futuristic sneakers worn by Marty McFly in Back To The Future 2 will be pleased to hear that there’s an official website to help you get your wish.

mcfly site

As you may recall, this project previously included an official petition (which has been shut down) and an ad for the petition on YouTube. Now you can ‘preorder’ the size you want in anticipation of its release. A more concrete way to get word to Nike that these are potential real consumers they’re talking about.

Update: I’ve been pointed to the brand new official McFly 2015 Video.

When I first covered this story I naïvely thought I was touching on an obscure little corner of fandom, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from looking at what search terms and referring sites lead people to this one since I wrote about this project, it’s that sneaker fandom is HUGE.

Check out the ISS Forums to see what I mean:

Our users have posted a total of 1639342 articles
We have 73129 registered users

And in related news… Joy Division sneakers: Myth or Reality?

joy div sneakers

Really now, WHITE? What are they thinking?

Jericho Fans Win

stan herd crop art

You’ve surely heard about the protest. The peanuts. The venom. And now… the victory!

June 6, 2007

To the Fans of Jericho:


Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of “Jericho” for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more “Jericho,” we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that “Jericho” will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting “Jericho” on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of “Jericho” in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.


Nina Tassler

President, CBS Entertainment

Great to see fans organize and get what they want. And good to see that even when he blocks their emails, ultimately Les Moonves, CBS CEO, knows he serves the fans rather than the other way around (let’s hope this proves true for users as well!).

Of course, these fans have done CBS a tremendous service in publicizing and raising interest in Jericho, and I think Tassler is absolutely fair in asking them to keep on doing that.

Here’s Stan Herd’s original sketch for the crop art seen above and used as the opening shot:

stan herd sketch

Why Ought to Love its Fans

As long as I’ve been paying attention to, I’ve been fascinated by what a loyal fanbase they have. Not userbase. FANbase. People who will bend over backwards to defend the site’s developers against disgruntled users. And now, people who will pick up the slack when they miss important boats.

As everyone knows, last week Facebook opened its doors to outside developers, letting them develop applications that can be integrated into Facebook profiles. competitors iLike and MOG were on the scene immediately. In no time, iLike catapulted to the top with over 500,000 users (seems to me they’re picking up on the order of 100,000 iLike Application users a day on Facebook) making it by far the most popular application. MOG’s application does not seem to be having as much success.

And where is, the most popular music networking site of them all? MIA. Says Russ, one of’s top devs:

We are working on it, however Facebook gave our competitors several weeks’ head start over this, which they perplexingly didn’t give us.

But not to fear, because in the meantime, fans have wasted no time in buiding their own applications to integrate data into Facebook profiles. Among them: Charts which is very sweet as it lets people stream your most recent listens (well, at least 30 seconds of some of them anyway)


xat’s plugin which I’d like more if it would refresh.

Fortunately, did know to say thank you:

Thanks for the interest guys — we’re doing our best and will have something pretty cool for you soon.

Then we’ll be relying on you all to spread the word. May the best music revolution win! ;)

On a related note, I’ve been using Facebook for a little over a year, ever since David Silver said something to the effect that people who teach college students about the internet are negligent if they aren’t on Facebook, leading to one of those hard cold moments of shameful recognition of the truth that sent me scurrying to create an account ASAP. But until recently, there’d been nothing for me there. Sure I can see pictures of my students (too often with alcohol in hand) and I like being able to follow my favorite students after they graduate through the site, but the few peers I had on there weren’t really using it to communicate with each other, if they were using it at all.

But in the last 2 months something really changed. Maybe it was Richard Smith creating a group for the Association of Internet Researchers’ fall meeting in Vancouver. Maybe it was just critical mass. But suddenly the joint is hopping with so many of my honest-to-goodness friends that it’s become the Must Visit spot on my daily internet rounds.

Meanwhile, on yet another related note, I’ve started a group for scrobblers who study the internet. If you’re one of them, please join us here.

But if what they say is true, what’s with Facebook leaving out of the loop? That’s not right.

Update: Official App is now out and fine as the user-generated ones were, it’s way way better than them.

Fans Organize to Buy Teams! Boundaries Melt!

The lines between fans and professionals have never been as clear as one might think. After all, is there anyone who grows up to be a movie director who wasn’t a movie fan? Or a sports coach who didn’t care much about the sport? Not long ago I got into a discussion with someone who’d been reading a lot of critical media approaches and argued (crude oversimplification follows) that the culture industry holds the power while the fans are their oppressed dupes. I asked what happens when fans get hired into the culture industry. Does the fact that they were fans suddenly become irrelevant? Do they turn magically from duped to duper? Or is it all a lot fuzzier that that?

Fuzzy as that boundary’s been, the net is making it fuzzier than ever what with mp3 bloggers getting paid radio gigs and fansite creators getting hired by record companies to run their technology. But here’s a great example of just how darn fuzzy it could get. The BBC reports on a website, MyFootballClub, that has the goal of getting 50,000 fans to register, at which point they’ll be asked to pay £35 each (£1.4m total) so that they can buy their own football team. Members, says the site, “will attempt to guide the club up the leagues, sharing equal ownership and control. Just like a football management game – but for real.” The site’s creator, Will Brooks describes it to the BBC as “a vehicle that will pool fans’ opinions, passion and wealth and turn fantasy football into reality.” He describes watching a team go broke in the 1980s:

“I looked around at the 3,000 fans who had turned up and was left thinking that if everyone chipped in we could buy the club – but then there was no way of mobilising that feeling. The internet changes all that.”

The effort is not spurred only by the chance to play with real people instead of fantasy leagues, it’s also an effort to restore love to a game that the professionals view only in terms of profit:

“I’ve always had the notion of a group of fans putting money into a club and not taking it out – it is a potent force for good as most owners look at clubs as a way of making money.”

“I think some supporters of some big Premiership clubs feel as though they are a little out of touch with football these days.

Apparently the site’s doing pretty well, at least among journalists:

Only a couple of days after being launched with minimal publicity, the scheme has already generated enormous interest on the Internet and Brooks has been fielding calls from journalists as far afield as Spain.

The website has a list of 15 clubs – including Manchester City and Arsenal – which supporters want to buy, though Brooks says it is more likely the money raised will be used to buy a lower league club.

One of the things that makes fandom work so well as a social activity is that for every shared passion, there are also things about which fans disagree. That gives them plenty to discuss. So it’s mighty hard to imagine 50,000 fans actually succeeding in being organized, cooperative, and agreeable enough to make the kinds of decisions that running a team requires without falling into bitter power struggles amongst themselves.

This is a little reminiscent of this effort to involve fans in running a baseball team while making a reality tv show, but far more radical. For all the coverage of the baseball experiment when it launched, there’s been deafening silence on looking at how it went (imagine that), but the relative paucity of posts and comments on the official site here make me wonder if it really succeeded in increasing interest amongst fans as well as media. But then, if they’d OWNED the team…

Potter fan sites go mainstream

Harry Potter fan sites got some wide spread news coverage this weekend in an article that traces the development and breadth of the sites. It (rightly) frames the fan sites as an integral part of the Harry Potter phenomenon, with quotes like this one from a publisher:

“The Potter sites set the standard,” says Anthony Ziccardi, vice president and deputy publisher for rival Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that releases “Star Trek” paperbacks.

“The thing about the Potter phenomenon is that it has a huge, active fan base, both young and old, with a lot of teenagers. The ’Star Trek’ fan sites are a little bit older – most of the fans are 25 and older. The Potter sites really stand out – they’re like a marketing machine in and of themselves.”

and this one from Warner Brothers:

“When we have brought representatives from some of the key fan sites and showed them the details for the film sets, even if some of them were disappointed that we had left out certain elements from the books, they respected what we were trying to do,” says Diane Nelson, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president for global brand management.”We’re not naive enough to think we’re going to avoid criticism, but bringing the fan sites into the process is what we feel is really important.”

The article also touches on the challenges of running a fan website. Very nice to see an article that recognizes online fans as important participants in the production and promotion processes rather than lifeless losers in parental basements.