Trolling for Fans on Facebook?

I know a very clever Londoner named Nick, who’s kept me laughing ever since Facebook introduced Brand Pages that allow us to become “fans” of things. Nick, who like me writes for Its A Trap, and who co-runs London’s Swedish live club Tack!Tack!Tack!, has a wicked sense of humor/critical insight about brands, fans and media and has been on a subtle campaign to become a Facebook fan of every corporation he can find.

I’m sure there are a few things he really likes snuck in there, but almost every day when I log into Facebook, in my newsfeed I find something like (today) “Nick is a fan of Coca-Cola (1 fan).” He’s a fan of 100 things, including several varieties of Coke (is anyone really a fan of Coke Zero?!?!?), a few of Pepsi, and most major corporations you can name. I love it because it subverts the whole concept so completely. Also, the repetition (how many Coke pages can there be) demonstrates that plenty of those pages are not run by the companies they supposedly represent.

But when he went and created a brand page for his own new blog, I was inspired to do the same for Online Fandom. Mostly I am just curious, and I have to admit, it’s been kind of fun to observe. When I created the page, I “shared” it as an item on FB, shamelessly begging my friends to be my fans (did I say shameless? Yes, shameless).

First thing I will say is that it is weird to have friends show up under something that says “fans.” Seems silly and wrong.

Second thing I’ll say is that since putting it up, Facebook has been the primary referrer that people click to get to this blog.

Third thing I’ll say is that Online Fandom’s first fan was … (you know what’s coming don’t you?) … Nick.

But what has really surprised me is that somehow a few people I don’t know and did not shamelessly beg have become Online Fandom fans. How did they find it? Are they really readers or are they, like Nick, on some “let’s subvert the process by being a fan of all we can find” mission? Does this lark actually have potential to bring me in touch with readers who haven’t outed themselves here?

Now granted, we’re talking about tiny numbers, Online Fandom doesn’t exactly have a mass audience (it’s not how many, it’s who, right?). But still, I’m looking forward to seeing whether it dies a languishing death or generates something worth having over the long haul.

If any of you are running fan pages for your own stuff on FB, I’d love to hear your take on it.

p.s. I forgot to complain about the very strange set of choices FB offers for defining what kind of “business” you’re running — you’d think they’d be hip to the idea that bloggers might want to use it, but there is no “blog” or even “web site” option. So, like TechCrunch, Online Fandom is a “store.” A store that sells nothing.

Comments (3) to “Trolling for Fans on Facebook?”

  1. i’m building local community around my girlfriend with the facebook page (she’s a musician). i completely “get” the issues with pointing “fans” to a page within a walled garden such as fb, but the ability to reach local fans of molly’s genre of music while exposing her as a local artist, well, it’s just too compelling to pass on. it’s a great indie artist promo & community tool.

  2. Nice write-up! I’m actually also a fan—in the real sense!—of It’s A Trap. I can’t see myself becoming FB fans of either for two reasons: I think FB has jumped the shark and I don’t like to give them traffic (although I still do retain a profile); and I can’t imagine that fan page providing any meaningful content.

    That said, I freaking love the blog!

  3. I just started a fan page on FB after y100 played a band on the radio because they had over 10,000 FB fans. Who knows maybe there is something to this!