How 'Reasonable Andy' Stopped NPR's Lawyers From Threatening Fan, And Actually Connected With Him

from the nice-to-see... dept

The actual story behind this is a few years old, but it was just retold in a recent video by a social media person at NPR, about how the broadcaster got control over their Facebook fan page that had been set up by a fan:

Basically, this guy — Geoff Campbell — noticed that NPR didn’t have a Facebook fan page. He emailed NPR about it and offered to set it up, and all he got back was a random “thanks for emailing us” note, which he took to mean “sure, go for it.” It took some time, but eventually, NPR noticed the fan page and the lawyers freaked out, thinking that they needed to send him a cease-and-desist letter. However, as the video notes “along came ‘Reasonable Andy’,” who isn’t named in the video, but is Andy Carvin, NPR’s longtime social media guru who knows his way around the digital world better than most folks. Andy, smartly, told NPR to hold back on the legal threats, and just reached out to Geoff in a friendly manner, and a transfer of the Facebook group in a reasonable manner was arranged (though, Geoff insists that he never received any promised coffee mug).
Some will note that there’s nothing “remarkable” about this story. However, we still live in an age where so many organizations reach for the legal threats first, rather than seeking a friendly discussion on matters — especially in cases where it’s obviously a “fan” who is trying to help. So, it seems worth posting stories like this to try to spread the idea of holding off on the legal threats as the immediate response.

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Companies: npr

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Comments on “How 'Reasonable Andy' Stopped NPR's Lawyers From Threatening Fan, And Actually Connected With Him”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Except of course that along with Reasonable Andy, it also required Reasonable Geoff. Too often people who create fan pages or fan sites don’t do it to support the people, as much as to leech off of them and create their own little sub-cult.

It takes two to tango. I am sure if Geoff hadn’t been very reasonable, the lawyers would have been next.

hobo says:

While I understand that the point of this may have been, company asks nicely rather than suing and that’s a good thing, it still smacks of intimidation..

Are you an NPR staff member? … Facebook has offered to transfer ownership over to us but I wanted to check in and see you were first.

..over something that should not need to be transferred in the first place. How nice of facebook to offer.

If I like something, and start a club built around liking something (which this facebook group would be the electronic-social network equivalent of), why should that then need to become the property of said thing I like? If I really like X corp, and start a club or a group on facebook, I am not saying that I am X corp, just that I like X corp.

To me this sounds at worst like privatization of a public group based on sentiment for a product or company. At best, and perhaps more accurately, privatization at a corporate level of a non-corporate private group based on sentiment for a product or said company.

Anonymous Coward says:


Just like starting a fanclub, some people do it to be “closer to the stars” (although this being NPR, are they really stars?). Some people do it in order to get between the masses and the stars, acting like they have some sort of control over access, or that they are somehow now an insider.

On the other side, is “professional fan clubs” run by the artists or name themselves. Those are most often done are pure marketing, rather than as any real way to connect with fans.

hobo says:

Good points, hobo...

It is a nice first step, but only a nice first step in a process that is broken, i.e. making the broken process slightly friendlier.

If the NPR facebook group creator said, “no, I won’t willingly transfer ‘ownership’ of the group,” what then? I think a fair guess would be that either NPR would have gotten legal again, or facebook would have simply acquiesced to NPR’s tantrum. In either case they are attempting to subsume a group that happens to ‘like’ them.

Michael (profile) says:


“Some people do it in order to get between the masses and the stars, acting like they have some sort of control over access”

Cite some sources, please. I actually think this is rather paranoid. Although there may be some tiny crazy minority that is looking for some crazed control over someone’s fan base, it seems much more likely that most fan pages are simply created by excited fans.

Now, I can see fans not wanting to hand over control of their fan page to some marketing firm that is going to misuse and eventually kill it, but I bet it is pretty difficult to find instances of fan pages that the fans would not turn over when the actual artist contacted them directly. However, I would not mind if someone had some instances of this happening and posted them to prove me wrong.

Mojo says:

I think another key point in all this has to do with the look and feel of the fan page – is it CLEARLY one fan’s “tribute” page to an organization he loves, or would the moron in a hurry easily confuse it with an official NPR page?

If the latter is true, I could more easily see NPR’s side in not wanting people to think the fan page was created by NPR and the guy was an NPR employee.

I just came away from a fan page for an actor, but it took a while to suss out that it was a fan page and not the actor’s actual homepage.

If someone made a fan page for ME that could easily be confused for my own personal home page that *I* was updating, I would certainly want the fan to make it super clear this was NOT my page; if the fan refused to comply, then I would feel justified in wanting the ISP so either take the site down or turn control of it over to me.

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