“You can’t always get what you want, but if you tweet sometimes, you might be surprised at what you get.”
Those are almost the lyrics to a famous Rolling Stones song. Mick Jagger would probably be sick inside of a garbage can if he heard them. Were some ambitious soul with a lot of time and organizational savvy to rally enough Internet troops, though, the venerable blues-rockers could hypothetically release a special fan edition of the song on iTunes with altered lyrics. Stranger things have happened lately.
One by-product of social media’s recent omnipresence in entertainment is that fan demands can now be thoroughly heard, measured, and sometimes delivered upon. Pop culture has become participatory and it’s entirely possible that some of your favorite musicians/movies/video games are open to taking requests. Their gatekeepers are listening too.
In 2010, Donald Glover mentioned his desire to audition as Peter Parker in the new big screen iteration of the Spider-Man franchise. Fans of the Community co-star cottoned to the idea in a big way, and thus the #donald4spiderman hashtag, and a sizable social media campaign, were born. Although the web-slinging role eventually went to actor Andrew Garfield, the campaign yielded tangible results, first by getting Glover that audition, then by inspiring a Marvel artist to create an alternate Spider-Man character based on the performer, and now with last week’s news that Glover will indeed show up in some form in the movie, which comes out this summer.
While fan-generated social media campaigns designed to work against an artist seem destined to fail, there are many examples of fans rallying digitally and influencing–even minimally–the course of their favorite show or artist’s career. Read through the slideshow above for five more examples of the fan effect.