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Oso Famoso
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I tried writing this once and then my browser imploded. So here we go one more time. I thought I'd write about the communities that are within the entire FanNation community here on the web. It is amazing to me how different users can come in and make a splash in just a short time while others are on for over a year and you'd never know it. But then with 144, 353 members and counting, you'd have a hard time getting to know each and every one of them. My point to all this is that there are new members by the moment.

Many are like I was, blindsided by this unique site, lured in by the juicy or interesting Truth and Rumors. You start out reading Dr. Z's Mailbag or Peter King's coffeenerdness, then before you know it you're like Alice through the looking glass. This is the weird, wild world of sports on the web. What's interesting to me is that there are 4 distinct microcosms within the entire site. You could stay in one and be has happy as a pig in a stye. Some dabble in all 4 or a combination therof.

The first community is the Truth and Rumors (T&R for short) that invariably brings people in from the SI.com site. It's what you see on most pages of SI as well as the home page of FN. I've noticed that there are established users who dwell in the T&R section bantering opinions back and forth. Some make great friends just by maintaining a presence here and adding their two cents. I myself only venture on the T&R occasionally, as comments become so numerous that it's quite the task to follow the melodrama that ensues. Some of the best fodder for discussion usually involves something like Mike Vick, Donovan McNabb, Cowboys, or Patriots. You won't find more heated debate or a greater love/hate relationship on other threads.

The second community is one of my favorites, the Blogosphere. Okay, I don't know that it's a real word, but if "google" is a verb then I'm making up blogosphere. Blogs, for those less in tune with the web is short for web log. I enjoy it because I get to write about whatever is on my mind at the time and share it with the sports fan community abroad. Some of my work is well received and other times I could have done better or at least picked a better topic. Either way, reading and writing blogs gets the mind going and you get a better appreciation for who's out there and what's on their mind. If you're considering starting one of your own, just be prepared that you might not get a ton of comments unless you pick a hot topic like the Pats. It also helps if your name is Andrew Perloff or Pete McEntegart; then you get piles of comments and views on your blog. Pete's blog is a mini-microcommunity in and of itself, with loads of readers who eagerly await the next witty paragraph and updates on New Mexico State. Otherwise,  you should be happy if you get in the neighborhood of 300-1000 views and a few comments. The thing is that I have at least learned that it's better to improve your writing and put out a good blog than worry about comments and views.

Groups on Fannation comprise the third microcommunity on this site. What's great about these is that you can find or tailor make groups to your own liking. If you're a fan of curling then you search for one on the community page. If they don't have a Jersey Shore surfers group then you make your own. It's great. Here you can share posts, organize throwdown contests (which I'll explain later), have pick 'em contests, and if you get permission from the creator, you can even blog for the group to help draw in and maintain activity in the group. The only problem I see with groups is that many people join a group and then never come back or visit infrequently. There's not much point to joining if you're not going to participate. There's so much else to do on FN that it's better to stick to what you like. But some of the largest and most active fan groups come from specialty fan bases such as Steeler fans, Red Sox and Yankees fans (dare I mention them in the same sentence?), and so forth. My advice to new users is to choose groups that you like and will remain active in. Some groups actually drop inactive users especially when a tournament is involved. Now to explain that side of things...

Throwdowns comprise the last, but certainly not the least community in FN. Throwdowns are great because they appeal to the competitive nature of sports fans. I mean this isn't a site for knitting or Ophra's Book club right? Throwdowns are a great. For the newbies (new users) it's a competitive debate on a chosen topic between two users. They get 3 different chances to propose their side of the debate. Then the FN community votes on who they think is better. Now, that's the way it's supposed to go. Often enough votes will either be given because of the topic, user debating, or the level of difficulty of the topic, rather than the actual argument at hand. This is a bad thing, but if you resign yourself to the fact that it's better to lose and argue well than win and put up a poor argument then you should be able to sleep at night. There are many groups out there that hold tournaments where you are randomly pitted against another user and are sometimes assigned a topic. This is often fun because you have the chance to go up against some very good Throwdowners or TDers on this site. Most of my tough TD's came from being in tournaments. Judging from my sad 8-11-1 record, I still have a way to go.

If you're reading this and already know what I'm talking about it's because you've been there, done that, and even got the T-shirt. You may find that there is some validity to this blog or maybe there is some flaws to my insights? Whatever works. I'm actually putting this blog up for many of the new users who come on here and have no idea what's going on because they have recently fallen down the hole in the looking glass like Alice and thinking to themselves "Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?" That aside, I thought it might be a good way to give an overview to the crazy world that is the FanNation. The best part of this website is that if you pay attention and get past your own biases, you can make some good friends and actually learn from some wise and savvy people on here. I know I have. Comments? Questions? Ideas? Have a good week.

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