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For celebrities, stars or what have you, social media has been a godsend — a way to connect directly with fans. No gatekeepers, publicists or go-betweens necessary. It has its risks without all the vetting but it’s a way to nurture fans, put out whatever message is desired and grow a community.
As social media has evolved from the major vehicles — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — new environments have emerged, serving fans in more specific ways as long as they paid for the extras. There’s Patreon and Onlyfans which provide a private one-on-one audience with certain artists and influencers, even models who’ll display just about anything to those who pay.
But who are the fans? Witness Steven whose photo is right here as part of this report. As a local barista, he does his best to connect with his coffee-addicted customers. How does he engage them? Each day he comes in he’s wearing sports paraphernalia of the teams he loves. Now, that’s a fan… He shows Commitment.
For those committed souls, the next generation of fan engagement is coming. And Jamel Anderson’s Fanmire — the company he founded where he’s also its CEO -- is an expression of that evolution. It not only offers fans some specialized experiences with the stars, celebs and influencers they love to follow, but it also allows fans to interact with each other — as long as they join and pay a nominal monthly charge.
The key to Fanmire is not the genre — i.e. whether it be Celtic traditional music aficionados or “Babylon 5” stalwarts — but the size of the fan base. The passionate love of a person, subject or object stirs not only a desire to possess but to interact with others who share a similar passion. That’s what turns various fans into a fandom; it’s a fan base.
Born and bred in Harlem, the 46-year-old entrepreneur had worked in sports marketing and concert promotions before he got the idea for Fanmire in 2013. As he noted, “We‘ve had iterations over the past two years. But I feel as though we haven’t had an ‘official’ launch date yet.”
Moving forward in that direction, the company has already signed Loaded Lux the Battle Rapper who has over 150,000 followers. Steadily building a range of diverse celebrities on the platform, it also has Chris King the comedian and 5th Raikage — the anime commentator. There are also some exciting sports teams in negotiation to be part of the site. Plus discussions are underway to sign on several country music stars.
Fanmire has moved closer to its own full launch by getting former teen icon Tiffany [Darwish] to sign on. (Her cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” was a #1 chart-topper in 1987). The American singer, songwriter and actress has over 57,000 followers on Twitter.
Then there’s an event coming up that also raises the awareness of Fanmire. Its second Annual Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park will raise money to be donated to non-profit organizations that fight the disease. Scheduled for Sunday, October 23, 2021, the walk begins at West 110th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. As Anderson explained, "We held this walk very successfully last year.”
Among the perks for participating, 50 donors will receive one-of-a-kind custom-created garment/tote bags with Fanmire and Cancer Walk logos on them from Tonia Torrellas’ It’s My Bag company.
For more information, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fanmires-2nd-annual-walk-for-breast-cancer-registration-168217082823
Q: Why is this your company’s name and what's its significance?
JA: Fanmire came from the words Fan and Admiration, as fans admire the people and things they love. I came up with the idea six years ago. We‘ve had iterations over the past two years even though we haven’t had an official launch.
Q: How do you evaluate who qualifies to be the star/celebrity/influencer?
JA: Anyone can have influence, but we care about the quality of character when we look at influencers. Of course, there is a process with an application, tiers, etc.
For example, an influencer with under 99 thousand followers will be considered a tier-2 influencer and an influencer with 100K+ followers will be considered a tier-1 influencer. We’ll accept influencers with 5000+ fans.
Q: How do you define an influencer?
JA: An influencer is anyone who has influence within their craft and with people who love what they do. That can be a chef, writer, mechanic or barber. Jen Atkin, founder of OUAI haircare, is a celebrity stylist whose Instagram gives us major hair inspiration.
Q: What led you to do this?
JA: My passion is for sports and entertainment. I had the opportunity to be a part of the concert experience. During one specific [scenario], I saw Madison Square Garden empty after an event. It was an amazing feeling to be there and I knew this was something most fans don't get to see, I knew they would value it so I set out to bring fans to these types of exclusive experiences. That sparked Fanmire — Fanmire is about Access.The perks of joining an influencer’s entourage on Fanmire are rewards such as access to private events, meet-and-greets, and concerts. For example, with one of the new sports teams joining us, there’ll be a drawing held among the paying fans and six winners will get the chance for a private visit in the dugout.
Q: Who are you a fan of?
JA: Right now, I like Saquon Barkley, Floyd Mayweather and Jay Z.
Saquon runs with power, he has a flair for the heroics, and is a downright gritty football player with talent that's' close to Barry Sanders, who was an all time great.
Mayweather is one of the best boxers ever born. He is a gifted fighter, an undefeated champion and really transformed the game around business and how boxers are compensated.
Jay Z is the ultimate craftsman with music, a trend setter, lifestyle influencer and a monster businessman.
Q: Are you obsessed with being a fan or an insider?
JA: I won't say [I’m] obsessed but I enjoy being a fan. I truly respect the gifts and talents that people have and understand the work it often takes to move those talents to another level. There's nothing like watching people be great at what they do.
Q: Apparently sports were your entry into all this — did you play certain sports?
JA: When I was younger I played basketball and football. I really enjoyed the games but I wasn't that great. As a kid, when you play a sport, that’s when you first learn teamwork. There's no embarrassment around your skill set because you're simply lending to the team goal. That taught me that teamwork translates to real life professionally and personally.
Q: Do you see your concept building from sports and expanding outward?
JA: I would love to connect with even more professional sports teams and top trending influencers in their respective areas.
Q: What categories beyond the obvious of singers, movie stars and famous athletes do you want to reach out to?
JA: Sport is significant but this concept has many different verticals as there are countless types of influencers and interests. Currently, Fanmire has several main points — sports, fashion, beauty, music, art, food, health and wellness.
We have beauty and fashion interest points on Fanmire. We continue to attract influencers through marketing, word-of-mouth and partnerships.
Q: Who else and how do you plan to attract them to Fanmire?
JA: Again, it doesn't matter what industry you're in, when you have influence with an audience, you're an influencer. So we're looking for people with quality characters with influence.
Q: Will you make the service available to X-rated stars?
JA: Absolutely not.
Q: Who would you love to see join?
JA: With so many great people out there, it's hard to answer that question. But once they bring connection, engagement and community, we want them.
Q: In what ways do you feel Fanmire is more effective than established platforms such as Facebook and Instagram?
JA: Great question, this comes up a lot. I think that they are different animals. They are social media platforms and Fanmire is not social media, we are a fan engagement platform.
Q: How do you differentiate your concept from the fan-enhancing sites such as Patreon and Onlyfans?
JA: I totally appreciate this question. While both companies provide great value, the difference is that Fanmire focuses on fan engagement through communities where fans engage with fellow fans and influencers in shared interests.
On Fanmire, through our exclusive entourages, fans can have real connection and communication with influencers. Beyond exclusive content from influencers, Fanmire offers perks to fans including exclusive access to events attended by the influencer. Think of backstage tickets, meet and greets, and album listening parties. And there is no negative or sexual content on Fanmire.
Q: How will you exploit the expanding technology for these kinds of sites?
JA: For Fanmire, being a fan engagement platform means that we are constantly looking for new and innovative technical solutions to bring fans closer to the content, influencers, and stars they love.
Our goal is to deliver connections to fans in a digital, disconnected world. This platform facilitates it as such by incorporating various cloud technologies, industry trends, and integrated technologies. We will continue to evolve as the technologies around us do, and we are excited to bring those improved user experiences to the fans, As we focus on fans, we will be improving their experience and connections.
Q: What are you doing to promote Fanmire and create public awareness?
JA: Various marketing efforts whether that's social media, other forms of digital advertising, promotional events, sponsorships, and etc.
Q: And what are your current efforts at community building for Fanmire?
JA: Community building is a large part of my life. I spend a lot of my time serving, I am a faith-based person. That same energy, love, and passion are seen in Fanmire. We are "community inside out." Within Fanmire, we build online communities by providing our platform and outside Fanmire we participate in events that support and help the communities we are a part of. One such event is our second annual Breast Cancer walk in Central Park this October…
Q: Why this particular cause?
JA: About a year ago one of my good friends had two battles that knocked on his door with cancer affecting his wife and mother. He lost his mom in August while his wife had just beat cancer. We did this to honor them and plan to lend as much support in a practical way as we can.
Q: What other efforts are you doing to attract participants and grow Fanmire?
JA: We’re using a range of approaches including grassroots social media marketing plus other forms of digital advertising, promotional events, sponsorships, etc. We’re working on a few campaigns as we speak. Overall we work to ensure that people have great experiences with Fanmire; they then go on to share that with others. What will make the biggest difference is signing stars and influencers who bring Fanmire to their own audiences. I see Fanmire scaling up little by little and then really taking off.
Q: Where do you see Fanmire in two, five or 10 years?JA: In two years, I see Fanmire as an internationally known fan engagement platform with endless potential to be successful. In five years, we should be profitable and scaling. And in 10 years, we should be going public or being acquired.
To learn more, go to: https://fanmire.com/
Noah Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806. Dissatisfied with the breadth of what he had conceived, he embarked on decades of intensive work to expand his groundbreaking creation into a more comprehensive reference, An American Dictionary of the English Language.
According to his own account, he was no mean slouch and learned 26 languages (including my favorite, Aramaic) to unearth etymologies and tease out the root sources of many of the words we use today without a second thought.
Webster completed his dictionary during his year in Paris in 1825, after study at Cambridge. The expanded result now held 70,000 words, of which some 12,000 had never before appeared in a dictionary.
After Webster’s death in 1843, George and Charles Merriam got publishing and revision rights to the 1840 edition. They published a revision in 1847, which added new sections to the retained main text, and a second, illustrated, update in 1859.
In 1864, building on their success, G & C Merriam put out a greatly expanded edition, the first to change Webster's material, overhauling his work but retaining most of his definitions and of course, the well-respected title. Revisions followed that were described as being "unabridged."
By 1884, the iconic dictionary offered definitions of 118,000 words, famously “3000 more than any other English dictionary." We’ve always been addicted to maximalisms in language as well as in sports and sports cars. More words! Bigger wrappers. Larger bosoms.
A year earlier, when “Webster’s” had by then gone into public domain, the name was changed to "Merriam-Webster, Incorporated" with the publication of Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.
Getting beyond the standard dictionary’s own etiology, those of us in the language dodge take frequent recourse to the reference buttons as well as the hard-copy versions (yes, Virginia, they still sit on our library and office shelves). An updated M-W is a thing of beauty -- as well as of necessity.
For gamers, note how annoying it is in online games like Bookworm to type in a common word like “blog” and find that the game’s dictionary has no knowledge of this dog-eared term — long in use for almost 20 years. Or take the medical heart device used for decades, the stent; it is similarly nonexistent in the minds of the callow youths who encode those so-called game dictionaries.
So what’s the big whoop now?
The latest M-W ref adds 150 choice new entries to the indispensable basics. The culling process, which combs millions of books, articles, presentations, interviews, mags, movies, and ephemera or stabiles, insures that most of the new words are those we probably already know. (Or they would not be widespread enough to merit inclusion. Einstein.) But rather than including only what you’d expect, latest-word entries from 2013-2014 in fact include many older terms that made it into the book and gained new currency with various technology or industry shifts, not new brouhahas (fracking, born in 1953). Carbon footprinting, anyone?
Dictionaries represent the obvious. Language is a dynamic, throbbing, vibrant realm of human interaction. For a comparison, look at Beowulf. It encapsulates the orthography, pronunciation and era-related meanings of Olde English from c.1100 A.C.E. Shakespeare is a giant leap away, introducing literally 15,000 new words into the flexible, multihued English tongue.
Updating our malleable, fascinating, and chiaroscuropic tongue is cause for celebration, and not only for lexophiles and logophiles.
What might surprise some is that while “new” words occur in the latest edition of M-W, such words as paywall (no money, no get subscription), crowdfunding (raising money via online sources), dubstep (musical beat with a set drum pattern, 2002), and speaking from the distaff side, (the British meaning of) brilliant (superior, great, cool) are all included in this edition.
One of the most famous new words is hashtag. Who can forget Michelle Obama’s dour visage as she peered at her follower 2008 Tweeple -- people who use Twitter and tweet -- and held aloft a magic marker’ed “#Bring Back Our Girls” in connection with 276 teen-aged Nigerian Christian girls abducted, raped, and converted by Boko Haram, terrorists? Twitter has spawned an entire mini-Twitterverse of words taking their parentage from adding “tw-” to their base.
But far from being brand-spanking new, many “new” locutions incorporated in each new edition are in fact hoary and venerable. Steampunk, which sounds fresh-minted, refers to films or books about the 18th or 19th century with punk attitude, dates actually from 1987. In my mind’s eye, the opium-drenched, eye-filling 1971 Altman classic McCabe and Mrs. Miller — depicting the muddy, prostitute-inflected, sheriff-run towns of the Old West — fits the steampunk bill too.
Foodie talk is along for the vocab ride, too. We get the high-calorie Canadian poutine (french fries, thick gravy and cheese curds, 1982), and the exotic but great-for-crosswords pho (1925!), a colorful Vietnamese soup of beef or chicken with rice noodles), the humble but useful pepita (1942),and the July 4th-ism of freegan (one who eschews buying foods, opting instead for dumpster-diving and grazing what others jettison in waste receptacles). To which we add: Eww.
Then there’s turducken (chicken stuffed into duck stuffed into turkey; all boneless) and chickenarian, a foodie who subsists on the hen and her husband. Some of the new inclusions are quite grizzled with age: Baby bump from the People world of gossip in the past two decades and more; fangirl, from back in 1934.
The culling process for word inclusion is based on a formula developed through density of usage and citations in the public lit, general walkabout use, and the specialty, techno- and emerging industries’ vocabularies that have come to dominate so much of our discourse.
One natural outgrowth of the popularity of video games is the gamification of once-boring work -- or school tasks, as home entertainment leads inexorably to mission-creep elsewhere. Hyphenates play an important part in neologisms (as well as in my personal armamentarium). For the past half-century or so, our exciting language itself, like blue jeans -- and rock -- permeates the globe. Every nation now salts its dialogue with terms that were solely the purview of the Anglophone West, primarily the United States and Great Britain and Oz.
And while we all know Miley Cyrus’ in-your-face-or-other-body-parts twerking, and the infamous Anthony Weiner’s weineriferous selfies, and the pleasant advent of insourcing,1983 (opposite of outsourcing), the majority of our emergent vocabulary comes, not accidentally, from trending tech, innovative solutions, and online connectivity, the intersecting of our miasmic pop culture with all the art, gadgetry, and device-heavy nonstop social networking (1998) 24/7 communications that lead to so many unintended traffic accidents and bumping into lamp-poles.
Spoiler alert (1994): No matter how we might consider ourselves aloof from these phenomena, the digital divide (1996) and immersive technology, we can any of us access a million hotspots (2013) in a bazillion high-end coffee shops, but can’t really unfriend (2003) [from] them.
Assembling a who’s who from tech giants and new-comers, Pepcom’s DigitalFocus event on April 11, 2013, at the Hammerstein Ballroom (311 W 34th St.), focuses on the emerging markets of “Moms, Dads, and Grads.” Over $36 billion is spent in giving gifts to Moms, Dads, and Grads, and electronics are quickly becoming the defacto present of choice for them. DigitalFocus looks to figure out what will be the hot new electronics presents with exhibitors:
To learn more, go to http://www.pepcom.com/.
DigitalFocus Moms, Dads, & Grads April 11, 2013
The Hammerstein Ballroom 311 W 34th St. New York, NY 10001
The last time I was at the Hammerstein Ballroom (311 West 34th Street, Manhattan) was to see quasi-fictitious metal band Dethklok, but now it is host to consumer electronics and fine wine. Conducted by tech exhibitor Pepcom, Wine, Dine, and Demo at the Hammerstein featured both tech giants like Sony along with burgeoning startups from around the globe.
Of course with Black Friday looming over us like a tsunami wave of Walmart shoppers, the show was geared towards the sort of electronics you’d want to get for that special someone. There were the expected electronics on showcase for the seasons like pristine Samsung televisions and Sony Playstation 3’s, but there were a few more interesting and innovative devices. The Koubachi, developed in Zurich, is a device that can monitor outdoor and indoor plants and uses Wi-Fi to send live data to your email or smart phone on what kind of care you plant needs (more sunlight, less sunlight, fertilizer, etc).
The TV antenna, which lives on in minds as a pair of gnarled bunny ears that exist only to confound us all, has been replaced by the Mohu. The Mohu is a tiny black box that screws into your TV’s RF input and is the highest selling antennae on Amazon. Compact to the point of being nearly invisible, the Mohu allows for any TV to pick up HDTV broadcasts.
Of course not every exhibitor dealt with physical electronics. Cozi had on display their new Dinner Decider app which gathers a week’s worth of dinners from a database, then depending on what ingredients you prefer and what dinners you did or did not enjoy it better tailors the selections of meals to your taste.
Decide, the online shopping price comparison site, has a mobile app version of its site that can compare electronics in stores, much to the consternation of big-box store employees. Meanwhile ShopRunner consolidates online stores into one easy to navigate website and is introducing a new function where you can order an item online and pick it up at any ShopRunner associated retailer near you.
Along with the fine electronics, Wine, Dine, and Demo featured a selection of Argentinian wines and food while Flamenco dancers were peppered around the premise, making it one of the more eclectic tech events I’ve been to. Overall, Wine, Dine, and Demo did a good job focusing on home electronics with a wide array of applications. Often times these tech events feel a bit more stuffy or distant, but Wine Dine and Demo was definitely focused firmly on the domestic world and made the whole event feel tighter for it.
To learn more, go to: http://www.pepcom.com/
Hammerstein Ballroom311 West 34th StreetManhattan, NY 10001
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