From fan letter to site redesign: A tale of online fandom.

Those of you reading the site at its URL rather than through feeds or email will notice it’s got a new look. Appropriately enough, this is a direct (if unintended) consequence of one of my own favorite experiences in online fandom:

A couple of years ago, I downloaded a song called “Last Real People” by a woefully underappreciated Swedish band called Thirdimension from their record label’s website. The song’s got one of the catchiest choruses ever, and who can resist singalong lyrics like Machine guns for the weak and disabled/Alcohol for everyone else? I remember being stopped cold in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store when I heard that chorus on my iPod for the first time.

By the time I got their records for Christmas of 2004, I was completely hooked. So hooked that I did what I rarely do and wrote a fan letter. I was giddy with glee when one of them answered my email. I wrote back. He wrote back. I wrote back. He wrote back. By summer we were planning to meet when I visited Scandinavia. He and his girl hosted me and my sons for a lovely evening of Thai food and conversation and gave us a place to sleep in Malmö. Now, nearly 2 years and literally hundreds of emails later, the giddiness is gone but I’m lucky to count him among my closest friends. I’m also lucky because when he’s not making music, the multitalented Slivka is a graphic designer specializing in album covers and websites (see for instance Thirdimension or eMiL Jensen’s sites) and now I get to count him as the genius behind the looks of my KU website and this blog as well.

If you love catchy pop with great harmonies, check out Thirdimension. If you need some graphic design, Slivka just might be your man.

Comments (6) to “From fan letter to site redesign: A tale of online fandom.”

  1. Nancy: design point: there appears to be no link to the main ONLINE FANDOM page in the header or elsewhere of individual entries. This is important.

  2. also, in random academic-fannishness:
    that new picture of you on your KU site is very fetching, Terri Senft userpic style *giggles*.
    and can I please just get a degree in Nancy’s classes? Seriously, I just mined your syllabi like crazy for my CMC exam list–they’re all fantastic resources.

  3. Also, if you saw today’s issue of FLOW, there’s an article on lonelygirl13. I’m curious what your take on her is. Is she part of a Cloudmakers style game? What does she tell us about fan culture in general?

    (no, I can never get everything in one comment: my attention span’s too short!)

  4. Define irony: get a massive plug for oneself and one´s mad skillz on Online Fandom, and then find in the first comment that someone found an error… :)

    Fixed(?) now, I think. Thanks, museumfreak, for pointing it out. And thank you Nancy, you really know how to make a halfslovakswede blush.

  5. No problem, Slivka! And after I posted the comments, I listened to the song. Your stuff sounds awesome.

  6. Museumfreak — well, yes, you CAN actually get an advanced degree in my classes, though you do have to take a few other things on the side. I’ve got one student who’s taken every single one I offer at KU, first as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student! And she still loves me, go figure.

    I haven’t been following either of the phenomena you mention but want to investigate further — can you tell me more?

    And buy Thirdimensions records! Oh how I love them.