SuperFan: CULTURAL ADD OVERLOAD or how to claim Lil Wayne as your own

December 31, 2009

This site is perfect for our ever rising ADD threshold.  The concept is genius, but let me warn you: Based on the nature of SuperFan,  one can make virtual enemies preetttyyy easily.

SuperFan has taken the idea of a social network and incorporated a virtual economy around claiming cultural icons.  You collect rewards in exchange for filling out information about celebrities, bands, websites….You name it, you can become the Superfan of it.  Since joining the site, I’ve laid claim as SuperFan to Rjd2, Deadmau5, and Justice.  I was SuperFan of Lil Wayne, but was quickly displaced and notified via E-mail:

As you can imagine, I was pissed

I can only imagine the pain of getting my Superfan status revoked via E-mail  as comparable to a text message breakup.  Clearly, I had to react:

Superfan interests me for two reasons.  First off, It’s taken the idea of a social network and turned it into a game where points can be won and ultimately sold for status among the Superfan community (if that’s not a statement of our current consumer culture, I don’t know what is).  And second, because of the nature of Superfan, it’s difficult to interact with members of the community.  The underlying concept is so overwhelming that it hardly gives a person time to interact with those who share similar interests…because they are competing for them.

We could liken SuperFan to a great social experiment, with Simler being the control group.  What happens when social networks add social currency (or whuffie) into the environment?  Does it make a service more addicting and noteworthy?  Or does currency bring with it resentment over the control of quasi-material possessions?

While we ponder these questions, questions  every web entrepreneur must consider when building their online community…I’ll be reclaiming my Lil Wayne SuperFan status.  Because I deserve it, and KC DeForge needs to learn a lesson.

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