This is intelligent and precise thinking on what the growth of social media has done to the relationship betwen artists and their fans. The positive and the negative.

It’s from Nancy Baym, an online fandom expert, and is full of insights that every artist ought to be attuned to.

There’s a two part interview from the Bandzoogle blog and a follow up video from NMS.

Here’s a snippet:

Fans and friends are not the same thing. Individual fans may become friends (as they always have), but real friendships are mutual – friends choose to be connected to each other, they do things for each other, their relationships are based on equality, they spend time together. It’s not a kind of relationship that scales to a large fan base. Artists can’t be expected to take the kind of interest in each individual fan that the fans take in them. That said, the boundary is often not clear (if it ever was), and each artist has to figure out the boundaries that work for her or him, because it’s not the same for everyone and there’s no right or wrong way to draw those lines. Some people feel fiercely private and want a strong difference between friends and fans, others are totally happy to treat fans as friends and to meet them and see where it goes. Just like some of us are gregarious socializers and love to go out and meet new people and others of us are homebodies who are happy with the small social circles we’ve got.

For the full text, click the links and watch the video.

Interview – Part 1

Interview – Part 2

Here’s the video.


Making Friends with Fans from Nancy Baym on Vimeo.