Wired TV: Laboring over an Interactive Future

By Denise Mann | Go to book overview

7
Fan Creep
Why Brands Suddenly
Need “Fans”

ROBERT V. KOZINETS

In the world of new product development and innovation, the term “feature creep” is given to the tendency of designers and engineers to keep adding features to a product. For example, a cellphone manufacturer might first add a high-definition video camera to the phone, then a digital voice recorder, then a remote car ignition apparatus, a bottle opener on the side, and finally, a small flamethrower for emergencies. These extra features are infamous in the worlds of high technology and computer soft ware development. Websites are particularly prone to this enthusiasm for add-ons. Feature creep is commonly blamed for cost overruns and missed schedules. It overcomplicates the elegance of basic designs and leads to trade-offs in efficiency. It also complicates the world of marketers, which thrives on simplicity. A simple and clear message, based on a clear feature or feature set, can cut through the clutter of thousands of competing claims and is usually the best one.

When used in the world of fandom, the word “creep” often possesses a different meaning. A creep is an unpleasant, undesirable, or obnoxious person, usually a man. As the adjective “undesirable” would suggest, the term has negative sexual connotations as well: creeps can be not only lonely but also predatory; they tend to try too hard, but they are stigmatized; they find acceptance

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