There’s a lot of focus right now on fandoms in politics and the most successful candidates are the ones who embrace their fans and use them as a springboard for growth.
The truth is everyone has a community and it will grow if you nurture it. If you work hard enough, by showing them the respect they deserve, they’ll become fans. Fans are the most important resource any political campaign, organization, or movement can muster. And they can’t be bought.
Fans want to be welcomed, embraced, and listened to. They may show it in weird ways and they may make your life difficult at times, but they’re so involved because they care and want to build up your campaign or organization.
Kevin Kelly’s description of the 1,000 True Fans concept is worth keeping in view. In politics, we often start with the biggest possible audience and narrow down from there. In reality, building out a fandom, starting small, and growing beyond your superfans is a scalable, sustainable strategy.
Jean-Lesage International Airport in Quebec is home to a small yet loyal band of plane spotters who take photos of aircraft arriving into and departing from the airport. Worldwide, plane spotting is a very active, passionate hobby.
One of the apps I use most is Flightradar24. My home and office are both near the flight path for Reagan airport and I like to open the app to see what model of aircraft is overhead, where it’s going to or coming from, and, thanks to plane spotters and the JetPhotos.com community, see a high-quality photo of the plane or helicopter.
At some airports, plane spotters are a cause for concern, especially when it comes to safety and anti-terrorism. In the past, the federal government has printed posters like these:
Nowadays, many airports are more welcoming of plane spotters and some even have dedicated observation points for plane spotters, but Jean-Lesage International Airport went the extra 1,000 feet.
They cut holes in their fence for plane spotting photographers in order to get a better photo.
It’s a tiny amount of effort on the part of the airport but a big win for the community. So not only did the airport score a big win for local spotters, you can bet others from around the world will notice and may even visit.
What holes can you cut in your organization’s fences to embrace your fans?