Just thinking about fan sites today, and how a lot of the action seems to have moved to Twitter and Facebook. I’m all for new ideas and ways to communicate, and these networking sites seem like a good way of spreading information quickly – but seriously, is anyone today going to read old Twitter posts from, say, September of last year? All of that stuff is pretty much lost after a few weeks, if not days. Which is unfortunate if you’re not that familiar with an artist and want to find some basic information, or a good source for photos, etc. You want some structured information that’s only a few clicks away. You won’t find it amongst all the real-time chat and cluttered posts on Twitter. And yet, that seems to be where everyone’s spending their time at the moment.
I just hope that well-structured, regularly maintained fan sites and message boards don’t completely disappear. You can look back at a forum topic from 2005 today because it’s easy to find and with a bit of luck, links and photos will still be working… but would you know how to find a comment that was posted on Facebook in 2005? It’s like a place without history… it’s all just about the present. If you share your opinion about something on Twitter today, anyone who doesn’t read it at that same moment is unlikely to ever take notice.
All this means that a co-existence can definitely make sense – using social networking to make others aware of something that’s happening right now, getting the word out quickly. But these places just can’t be a collection of useful stuff that will still help people in years to come. We need both, and unfortunately, ‘real’ websites don’t seem to be the big thing at the moment.
With that in mind, please support your favourite fan site or message board today. You’ll be doing your favourite artist a big favour.