Why Don’t You Care About Me: The Vocal Minority, and Members vs. Non-Members

A couple weeks ago, the following message caught my eye on Twitter:

“LPUers r ‘First class fans’ cause they fuckin pay.the other fans r nothing to you,cause we dont pay,huh?PISSED OFF! @linkinpark @m_shinoda”

Quick recap: LPU is the Linkin Park fan organization. It costs $60 for a year-long membership. The details of what you get with membership are listed here. I assume the “first class fan” part was in reference to a comment the band made at some point. This person appears to be very (10 out of 10) upset.

It’s sometimes hard to read the nuances of intended emotion in a typed blog post, so I’ll be very clear that I’m not angry, nor do I feel defensive as I write this. I’m calmly sitting in a hotel room on tour, with a cup of coffee and a couple pieces of toast. And this tweet got me thinking about something that’s bigger than the “who is the best fan” question.

So, let’s answer the tweet!

Which fan is most important? Is it the one who buys the most stuff? The one who supports their “thing” the loudest? The one who cares more deeply than the rest? The one who has been loyal the longest? And specifically online, why in the world do people seem to fight over this subject so passionately?

A fan club can simultaneously be a very unifying and a distinctly divisive subject: while it offers an incredible community and amazing opportunities, it also separates people into “members” versus “non-members.” To start, a fan club is an option…unless you’re in the band (ha!).

For me, opting-in on a club means that I choose that club as important to me (at least, important enough to spend time and money on). Conversely, opting-out really means I have no right to demand the same benefits as members. The people who join are paying for products and service. Those things cost money to create, therefore the club has a cost.

(Speaking of cost, the “money” argument is always a favorite. Some will try to levy an argument that an organization like LPU gives preferential treatment to fans because the band “cares more about people who give them more money.” For us, this is a thin, baseless argument. We make no money from LPU. Every dollar of money spent on LPU goes directly back into the organization. Case closed.)

“First Class” implies that you give extra to get extra. We call LPU the “inner circle” because of it allows closer proximity to the band (our “Summit” conventions and video chats, for example). Can non-LPU members get those kinds of experiences? Yes: if Chester were to cross paths with a fan on the street, for example, he could sign an autograph and take a picture. But the LPU is an organization which helps to set those experiences up for you, so you’ll have a much higher (maybe from 10,000 to 1,000,000s+ times higher) percent chance of it happening.

“Whatever, I don’t have the money to be a member. This fan club sucks!”

In the world, sometimes we forget that there is a constant give-and-take between “what you give” in exchange for “what you get.” At a clothing store, you may give money to get something to wear. In the garden, you may give time and care to get food. In a relationship, you may give love and commitment to get a caring partner. If one side of any of these equations fails to provide their part, the whole thing falls apart (or, in one case, someone gets arrested for shoplifting).

And yet, some people want to get without having to give. Looking online, you would think it’s a large group. But it’s not. Not even close. For example: of the thirty-one million people who follow Linkin Park on Facebook, about three ten-thousandths of a percent (0.0003%) of those people belong to LPU. And only a fraction of that tiny number actually participate in this conversation.

But somehow, in comments and reviews online, that tiny group manages to make it look like a major debate. How does that work?

I was informed by management that our latest album “A Thousand Suns” was the #2 best selling rock album in the world last year (congrats to Mumford and Sons, who were #1!). But if you read the iTunes reviews of “A Thousand Suns,” you wouldn’t have guessed it: the album has a 3 out of 5 star rating, and lots of negative comments. Meanwhile, contented Linkin Park fans continue to buy the album. They cheer the band at our shows, “like” us on Facebook, and support us in a myriad other ways. But not in fan reviews. Why?

Studies such as this one, conducted by the Warsaw University of Technology, found that people are more inclined to comment online if they have negative feelings about something. Contented people will not comment, discontented people will complain. And the negative thread is likely to grow longer and more extreme if the subject: a.) is opinion-based, b.) is emotional content, and/or c.) has a large following or draw. (For us: check, check, check…) Plus, adding the separation by the computer screen, people feel emboldened to speak freely and sometimes in a more exaggerated fashion.

I’m not dismissing the vocal minority. Clearly, opinions can be useful and helpful: productive comments have helped us build a great www.linkinpark.com and the LP Underground itself. If we didn’t believe in the opinions of the few, we wouldn’t have posted this poll last week.

And at the same time, we remember that protesters make a lot more noise than anyone else. When we see negative comments and bad reviews, it’s easy to think that “lots of people” think the same way, because the complainers are sometimes the only ones talking.

In the piece here, Theodore Dalrymple writes: “The habit of not containing your rage is likely to lead you to easily provoked enragement. And, as almost everyone knows who has taken the trouble of self-examination, there is a great deal of pleasure to be had from rage, especially when it supposes itself to be in a righteous cause.” Hate begets hate. Being angry can feel good, especially when you think you’re right.

And as people write more negative comments, they actually feel more negative, more often. Scary.

I have used the term “super fan” here on my blog. When I do, I think try to make a point to include LPU members and those who have decided LPU is not for them–I’m referring to anyone who considers themselves a big fan of the band. I use this distinction to indicate that the people I’m talking to are the ones willing to put in extra work in some form or another.

And in the most general terms, when I talk about fans of Linkin Park, I mean to include anyone, whether you own everything our band has ever released + come to 100 concerts, or if you’ve never spent a dollar, and you just like one song. In other words, if you think you’re a fan, then you are a fan.

If you’ve read this post and thought, “I don’t want to feel more negative, more often,” I commend and admire you.

To the rest: your debate can continue below.

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Comment by Jane Xu on July 4, 2011 at 9:43pm

Hi Mike

The new album is really great, ever though there are some changes in it. Some people jugded negatively means thay don't get used to the changes.But for me, it was the brand new LP!!Moreover i was starting to imagine what surprise in the new album you could bring to us!!

“if you think you’re a fan, then you are a fan."Then i am A big fan!

I would use my mother tongue to say“加油!"(sorry about my poor english...^^)

 

Comment by Farah Winchester on July 4, 2011 at 1:30pm

 
  Hey Mike ,


  i understood what you said up there , i'm fan of you guys from four years till now and of course will continue my life as a loyal Huge fan for you Linkin park , ...... and your latest album "A thousand Suns" is more than amazing , i love it alot , it has lots of meaning in it , moreover the sound of it is incredibly awesome , i have seen lots of these comments too Mike , lots of people say New and old LP , i don't think that's a thing to say about your favorite band , i even seen some word i wish i have not seen , it's broke my heart as a fan , if the people whoever said these things can call themselves as fans , how they can say these things then , all cause of a thousand suns , to me you guys dealt with an amazing title , and i bet no other band can do it , you guys put lots of efforts in this album and i appreciate this , love it and admire it , anyway no offence to anybody , it just my opinion , really i've come in peace :) ...

i agree with many of the fans whom comment , it doesn't mean that if we are not a LPU members then we are not fans , just like how mike says """"And in the most general terms, when I talk about fans of Linkin Park, I mean to include anyone, whether you own everything our band has ever released   come to 100 concerts, or if you’ve never spent a dollar, and you just like one song. In other words, if you think you’re a fan, then you are a fan.""""

 

take care everybody "PEACE"

Comment by Susan Thomas on July 4, 2011 at 6:47am

im not an lpu member yet but that doesn't mean i won't be :) The thing is none of the other non-members have to be agitated, linkin park haven't changed anyway so why should you? I've been there fan for like almost 10 years now and still love them, not just for their innovative music but also the fact that they take their time from their busy schedule to be a part of you. Besides nobody is forcing me to be a member or not. Point is you only feel inferior with your own permission as someone said( i was only quoting). So yeah the debate does continue

Comment by TheLinkinParkLegend on July 3, 2011 at 4:16pm

hey mike,

I understand the fan   because I also want to be a  lpu member but can not afford it because I'm still students. Of course, the underground members more info that we were deprived! I'm fan for almost 12 years, I still am very sad that I only last some info in the second, if ever experienced! or almost always have access to members only lpu m & g's or autograph for hours! Of course I would not write something if I be a lpu member but you must put yourself in my view. what I'm saying is I find it very sad that the m & g's and info and more accessible to non-members are not lpu! I have visited many concerts, and always try to be currently informed, I am very disappointed when I knew the experience matters lpu members for quite some time!  it would be nice if we "non lpu member" more info and have access to m & g'rs!

MFG Robert

 

 

(translated with the google translater from German into English)

 

 

hey mike,

ich verstehe den fan sehr weil ich auch gerne lpu mitglied währe aber es mir nicht leisten kann weil ich noch schüler bin. natürlich haben die underground mitglieder immer mehr infos die uns vorenthalten wurden! da ich schon seit fast 12 jahren fan bin, bin ich trotzdem sehr traurig das ich manche infos nur in der letzten sekunde, wenn überhaupt erfahre! oder das fast immer nur lpu mitglieder zugang zu m&g´s oder autogrammstunden haben! natürlich würde ich sowas nicht schreiben wenn ich lpu mitglied währe aber man muss sich auch in meine sicht versetzen. was ich damit sagen will ist das ich es sehr schade finde das m&g´s und infos und mehr für nicht lpu mitglieder nicht zugänglich sind! da ich schon sehr viele konzerte besuchte, und immer probiere aktuell informiert zu sein, bin ich sehr enttäuscht wenn ich sachen erfahre die lpu mitglieder schon seit längerer zeit wussten! es währe schön wenn wir "non lpu member" mehr infos und zugang zu m&g´rs hätten!

MFG Robert

 

 

Comment by mira on July 3, 2011 at 8:00am

I'm not so long a member of LP.com cause i'm just listening to lp for 1 or 2 years and i didn't join lpu. But i liked this band very fast and even if i think sometimes ... wow... often these members are lp fans since their childhood, they go to so much concerts, they'll do everything for this band ... i have to say that the reason why i love this band is that they really care for their fans (apart from that that their music is just epic ;) ).

I have to agree Mike: "if you think you're a fan, then you are a fan." That's the point. It doesn't matter if you wanna pay for lpu. It's just a additional thing, you mustn't do this. I mean, if you buy a new album, or go to a concert, you also have to pay.

 I like it that Mike showed us this comment and i find the way he wrote his article shows that Linkin Park have "first class fans": all of us :)

hope you understand me

Comment by ferrer on July 3, 2011 at 12:39am

I thing if Linkin Park makes a good or bad album should not criticize the contrary needs to be supported in good times in bad because to be a true fan, and no money to go to concert, meet a dollar and day of the year is $365, and i go to one of the great  concerts. I dont know being a fan of the band have all of the band is criticize him, is something illogical, Linkin Park to me is one of the best rock on the world and i love it. Do not publish negative things, publish positive things.

A Thousand Suns for me some of the fans was not to their liking instead i like fot there to be a good fan and everything to like Linkin Park do, no matter what peolpe say, i am a big fan of Linkin Park and point. Go ahead entire band and not listen to negative people. they all care. Ps: I sorry for my english: i learning english

Comment by Monica Natasha on July 2, 2011 at 11:58pm
wow I never feel like that even I'm not LPU member! for those who ever feel like that, just be proud, you will never have the carest band like them! :D
Comment by ganesh emayadi on July 2, 2011 at 11:37pm
SUGGESTION:(READ IT MIKE)give at least a little bit attention or chance 4 the fans "who's not the member of LPU".cos, i think they r ur fans too.peace..........
Comment by ganesh emayadi on July 2, 2011 at 11:31pm

even i'm not a part of the member of LPU...........I don't mind?cos,the fact is..........i thought the money is not so worth 4 it.but join lp.com is able 2 make me happy enough cos i can watch everything 'bout lp evrytime i'm on the line.sorry MY ENGLISH IS NOT FLUENT!!!!

the past posting(the polling)i answer wrong.u know my english is bad so,i thought r u membr of LPU(from LP.com not LPU.com it self).then my answer is i'm the membr of lpu.com but i wasn't..my english is bad u know.in indonesia "ASAL-ASALAN".SO................i hate 2 pay too but,it's enough 4 me 2 join even just LP.com. JUST WISH SOMEDAY ICAN MEET LP ...........I DON'T KNOW WHEN???"

Comment by Juan Antonio Aguilar Rodriguez on July 2, 2011 at 7:33pm
Join the group Linkin Park Is My Life so that we are many
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