“When we look at bands and artists that foster community (and sometimes endless jams), we can see parallels to the rise of social networks,” writes Phish fan and strategic-communications specialist Josh Sternberg in “What Twitter and Facebook Can Learn From Phish,” an intriguing post for Mashable: The Social Media Guide. Sternberg makes the often repeated – but just as often forgotten – point that these days fans drive brands through the latest social-networking tools at our disposal. “Are Twitter and other social networks destined to niche status or are they so embedded in our lives that they are now an indispensable part of our society?” he asks. After providing a concise history of fandom and recent technology, including the parallel paths of sports and music fandom (note for further research: Grateful Dead and Menudo: Bands Or Teams), he concludes thusly:
Social networks are still new, but they are much more than fads. They will continue to evolve as we become more dependent on them for information – from where we get our news to sending pictures from your honeymoon. User generated content, whether through blogs or microblogs or status updates or whatever, is what shapes a community, and which in turn, shape society. Social networks played a large part in our political game this past cycle in the US and elsewhere, and will also continue to play its role in shaping how companies participate in the conversation and how they can use social networking as a great customer service tool. In short, social networking, like rock and roll, is here to stay.