July 01, 2009

Storytelling Fans and Facebook Statistics

With the recent buzz last week in social media circles about the new ease in getting vanity URLS on Facebook for Fan pages, I wondered to myself: how many storytellers are using Fan pages?

And since each of these pages publicly lists how many fans each storyteller has, I then wondered, who, in the eyes of Facebook, has the most fans?

Here's a sample of storytellers and their total numbers of fans as of July 1, 2009 (It's by no means complete. I'm purposely leaving out some storytellers who have not yet broken double digits):

StorytellerNumber of Fans
Kim Weitkamp16
David Joe Miller23
Olive Hackett Shaughnessy25
Tim Ereneta29
Big Joe the Storyteller30
Jay O'Callahan33
Eric Wolf37
Ruth Halpern41
Dianne de las Casas63
Jordan Hill75
Tim Lowry116
Bill Lepp158
Andy Offut Irwin236
Djeliba Baba the Storyteller303
Bill Harley451

TrixieI note with some alarm that Trixie, a puppet that appears in storyteller's Priscilla Howe's performances (photo at right) has garnered more fans (42 at last count) in a single week, than several of the tellers on the list, myself included.

In the storytelling podcast realm, Eric Wolf's The Art of Storytelling with Children has 162 fans, and Djeliba Baba's Timeless Tales has 112.

I'm well aware that on the Venn diagram showing the set of all storytelling fans in the real world and the set of Facebook users who like to keep track of their fandom on Facebook there is a very small intersection. That being said, take a look at storytelling events that use the fan pages on Facebook for their relative popularity:

Michigan Storytellers Festival14
Mesa Storytelling Festival27
Timpanogos Storytelling Festival43
Storytelling Arts of Indiana117
The Stoop Storytelling Series196
The Moth 5896

That last number gave me pause. Because it tells me that there are nearly six thousand people who, as part of their public identity on an online social network, self-identify with an organization devoted to storytelling. (Albeit one with a very specific focus on a very specific style of storytelling). This number of Facebook fans is more people than the entire actual membership of the National Storytelling Network (approximately 1900–2000 persons, although only 262 fans on Facebook.)

Oh, and in case you didn't get the message, and I think only Baba the Storyteller did, once you hit 100 fans, you can get a vanity URL, i.e., www.facebook.com/yournamehere. You could already do this (starting about two weeks ago) with personal pages-- the ability to do this for a fan page (for pages with under 1000 fans) is new.

Not surprisingly, many of the big names in storytelling have neither a personal nor a professional Facebook presence. (It's a generational thing).

A couple more comments on Facebook's fan pages:
Facebook was late to the game on this one. So for a storyteller (or anyone, from a musician to a master yo-yo twirler) to set up a Fan page:
a) it's very difficult to do;
b) all the good models on how to use a fan page aren't on Facebook, they're on Myspace, and the lessons don't crossover

If you want to find the Fan Pages above, enter the name in the Facebook search box, and then when the results come up, click on the "Pages" tab to find the Fan page. You can "Become a Fan" from the search results, or click through to the Fan page and "Become a Fan" from there.


Dale Jarvis said...

So how do you set up/create a fan page?

Tim said...

When you're logged in to Facebook, find the "advertising" link in the footer of the page, and then from the Advertising page, click the "Pages" link.

Or go here:

It's not so bad to set a basic one up. However, I've found customization difficult, and administration harder than it needs to be (I have to find my Fan page via the Search box... it doesn't seem to appear in any of my home account's settings or profile dashboard or navigation menus).

Professional Storyteller Rachel Hedman said...

Facebook was definitely late in creating the fan pages user-friendly for both administration and for search-ability by others.

People can find and join groups much faster than fan pages. Some of the events listed under "fan pages" are also listed under "groups". For example, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival may have 43 fans, but there are 157 people on its corresponding group.

Ironically, the Timp fan page was created by the actual festival while the group was created by Marie Marshall, an ultimate fan who has attended all 19 festivals so far and will make it 20 in 2009.

The bigger numbers tend to be in groups versus the fan pages.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman

Dianne de Las Casas said...

Tim, I find that the FB Fan Page is not as easy to use as it was in the beginning. They changed the format and it's difficult to invite people. I can't even link it to my regular FB page (I have 880 FB friends). More people follow me on FB. The fan page is good to send out announcements, upcoming appearances, etc. My assistant and I are going to work on making it a more viable marketing tool.

On the other hand, I have 3,500 followers on Twitter and so far, about 1.5 million hits on my website. My monthly email newsletter reaches 11,000+ worldwide. Then, there the blog too!

I try to use all avenues of social media marketing and I find that FB has been effective in keeping me connected with friends, fans, and clients. I find it's amazing how many people follow my status updates.

Professional Storyteller Rachel Hedman said...

Dear Tim:

Thanks for sharing information on the Facebook fan pages. I probably would not have created one until a year or more later except for your post.

I still think fan pages are hard to find. Maybe Facebook will make them as easy to find as the groups. Maybe. That would be lovely.

Amazingly, I have 110 fans so far. This meant I qualified for the 100-fan-minimum to get a vanity url as you mentioned in this post.

I have two vanity urls now--
http://www.facebook.com/rhedman for my regular page with http://www.facebook.com/rachelfans for the fan page.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman

Liz Warren said...

Thanks for posting this, Tim. Very interesting.

Brother Wolf said...

i have to practice my defensive game here as well.

The fan page for my podcast has 164 fans.
The Art of Storytelling on Facebook - hmmm

I notice that that page did not make the list? Interesting to note that the FB group for the podcast is one-third the size of the fan page numbers.

I am hovering around 700 for connections must of witch seem to be people who would want to be fans on facebook surprisingly few are and I too find it a pain to convert them.

As for twitter I have 60 ;-) so there - but currently I don't follow anyone. Reading Twitter does not make a lot of sense for dyslexic people.

Eric Wolf
PS: I'm going to be a fan of the puppet - puppet's are so cute.

Anonymous said...

Since I started my storytelling blog just 5 months ago, I've got 80 fans on Facebook. So yes, storytelling is alive and well on the Facebook.

I'm an American expat city boy living in rural New Zealand, and I tell stories about our olive grove, our chickens, and our geriatric rooster.

Here's my Facebook fan page:


Kim Weitkamp said...

Hey I have 197 fans now!! Granted, they're all family members...

Seriously, my daughter set my fan page up. It has been helpful in dispersing information. And hearing from folks who go to shows is nice. I check in once in awhile to drop a line...

I personally think all of these things have value but can be real time suckers. My IPhone helps me stay in touch with some of this while I'm running around on the road.