Meeja: November 2007 Archives

I love the analysis at Bubblegeneration. But not in a good way. It's because the prophets of the microchunked hypersocial mediaconomy are laugh-out-loud wrong so often.

Take Umair Haque's "research note" trying to deflate the fansumer bubble. Yes, fansumer is an awful term. The approach, as described by Jeremiah Owyang and his acolytes, makes me want to scratch my palms until they bleed. But along comes Haque and you start to wonder whether Owyang is on to something. That really, really scares me.

Haque makes it clear:

"There are no fansumers. There are people who love products. But very rarely will they want to be pimped out and put to work on Facebook's (or anyone else's) digital streetcorner.

Are there really no fansumers?

They exist. And they are all around us. You work with these people. You might live with them (well, maybe you don't). You might even be one. But one thing is clear. They have no problem talking about their favourite brands. You might say they're almost obsessed with it. Of course, they almost certainly don't think of their favourite things in terms of being brands. And they certainly don't regard themselves as fansumers. But they are fans and they eagerly eat up the output of their chosen obsessions. That makes them consumers in my book.

Don't tell me companies don't want a piece of that. Only some of them can manage it - it's hard to envisage people 'connecting' with Mr Muscle Bathroom & Toilet Cleaner with Anti-Bacterial Action. But I have seen with my own eyes people with Nike tattoos. So, it is possible no matter how odd or even distasteful it seems to the rest of us who only go as far as watching the film, wearing the shoes or buying the CD.

Haque gives a stern lecture to the people talking about fansumers: "What we really need are better foundations, concepts which reflect economic reality. And building those takes much more critical thinking."

Damn straight.