Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are

Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are

by Zoe Fraade-Blanar, Aaron M. Glazer


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An in-depth look at the influence of fans—society’s alpha consumers—on our lives and culture.

As fandom sheds its longtime stigmas of geekiness and hysteria, fans are demanding more from the celebrities and brands they love. Digital tools have given organizations—from traditional businesses to tech startups—direct, real-time access to their most devoted consumers, and it’s easy to forget that this access flows both ways. This is the new “fandom-based economy”: a convergence of brand owner and brand consumer. Fan pressures hold more clout than ever before as audiences demand a say in shaping the future of the things they love.

In Superfandom, Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer explain this new era of symbiosis. For producers, it can mean a golden opportunity: brands such as Polaroid and Surge, preserved by the passion of a handful of nostalgic fans, can now count on an articulate, creative, and, above all, loyal audience. Yet, the new economy has its own risks—it’s also easier than ever for companies to lose their audience’s trust, as Valve did when it tried to introduce a paid mod system for its Skyrim video game.

Examining key cases that span a wide range of consumer markets, Fraade-Blanar and Glazer explain why some kinds of engagement with fans succeed and some backfire. Throughout, the authors probe fandom’s history, sociology, and psychology. From the nineteenth-century American Alice Drake, who bribed her way into the houses of her favorite European composers, to Hatsune Miku, the Japanese virtual celebrity whose songs are composed entirely by fans, the dynamics of fandom—the activities we perform to show we belong to a group of people with common interests—may be as old as culture itself.

For groupies of financier Warren Buffet and enthusiasts of Cards Against Humanity alike, the consumer relationship has been transformed. Superfandom is an essential guide for those who care about, contribute to, and live in our rapidly expanding fan-driven economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393249958
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/21/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,132,421
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Zoe Fraade-Blanar is a faculty member of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and NYU Journalism. She is a cofounder and the CCO of the crowdsourced toy company Squishable.

Aaron M. Glazer is a cofounder and the CEO of Squishable. Previously, he worked as a consultant and journalist.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction: Welcome to the Fandom Singularity 1

1 Fandom is a Verb 21

2 The Rise of Commercial Fandom 49

3 From Convention to Conventional 81

4 Wearing Our Fandoms on Our Sleeves 109

5 Membership and Status in the Happiest Place on Earth 139

6 Fans, What are they Good for? 167

7 Authenticity 195

8 When Fandom Goes Wrong 221

Afterword 249

Acknowledgments 253

Notes 257

Index 309

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Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know I'm biased because I'm a huge Squishable fan to start with, but I freaking loved this book. Some people might not think it's academic enough, but I thought it delved deeply enough into overall theories and concepts that I felt like I was learning a lot while still being entertained. I loved all of the descriptions of different real-life fandoms, especially since they felt like shout-outs when they were ones I belong to. Basically, I thought it was the perfect balance of entertaining and informative. I really need to get other people to read this book so I can discuss it with them!