I was stunned to see the new online fan membership area, chock full of the same ideas I had presented to Rick just two weeks prior, there online without any notice from Rick or his team. There had been no indication that this was coming, no “thanks, but no thanks” from anyone on Rick’s team.
Without thinking much about it, I fired off an email to Rick himself. After all, it had been him whom I had spoken to about my idea, him who had given tentative approval to it. I was sharper than likely I should have been, asking him directly why he hadn’t told me of this plan, which had surely have to have been in motion, when I spoke to him in Atlantic City. I waited for the answer, checking my email far too often in between volunteering at my daughters’ school and scouring eBay for a costume that would be appropriate for her kindergarten Halloween parade and party.
Rick must have forwarded my note to his manager, who called me later the same day to break the news. I parked the kids in front of Noggin and retreated to our first floor bathroom to have what I anticipated to be a difficult conversation.
“You have to understand, Amy, that with all of the new things Rick is doing, like General Hospital and other TV appearances to promote it, that we can’t have a lot of different things going on at once. It gets confusing to the fans.”
I listened, nodding slowly, although the guy in New York City couldn’t see me. “I suppose I could see that,” I offered to keep the conversation going.
“So here’s the deal. The new area of the website is going to be handled by Jim. It just makes sense for all the web stuff to be done by one person; then we just have one point person. With the old fan club closing, it just makes sense to close the circle. You can of course continue to inform fans of different things of course, but we won’t send you updates any more. It’ll all be on the official website, and then you can take it from there….with attribution, of course.”
I was stunned. Less than a year ago I was standing in front of this same man collecting accolades for my ability to rally fans and focus their efforts to accomplish great things. Now I was being kicked to the curb. “So…the street team?” I asked, struggling to keep my cmposure.
“Well obviously if we’re pulling everything together, that means fan based promotion, too. So any contests, projects, initiatives will go through the official website. You can still use your team to do things to rally the base, but we won’t be contributing any materials or incentives as we did before.”
The writing was on the wall. I could hear Blue’s Clues on the TV in the playroom. Steve was taking three random pieces of evidence and putting them together to figure out a mystery. I stood in the bathroom, seeing it all clearly for the first time, seeing all the clues laid out in front of me.
I didn’t know why I hadn’t seen it all before. This was the way it would end, of course. First there was the phone call from Rick’s tour manager over a year ago, telling me that the website would be going in a new direction. Then the new web guy had peeled away most of my duties. Of course there had also been the anonymous chatter had come into my RS chat room calling me a “housemom” and complaining about how I’d run Rick’s site during my tenure. I had solved the puzzle, put together the clues: my time had come and gone.
I told Rick’s manager that I understood. I ended our brief conversation by thanking him for his kindness the few times I’d met him, and that I wished him well.
Nov. 9, 2005
Just wanted to give you a head’s up on the note I’ll be sending out to the Shock Team tomorrow. Per our conversation several weeks ago, we agreed that more of the promotional efforts previously discussed on the team will now be moving to http://www.rickspringfield.com. While I think that the team will continue as a fan based online community, I wanted to let the group know that the change of focus is taking place. I have discussed this already with my regional managers and they are revamping their local groups as we speak.
I will continue to send out updates to the group as I see them posted to http://www.rickspringfield.com and obviously if you have anything you’d like passed along that will be done as well. Please know that my door is always open if you need anything.
If there is anything you’d like me to change in this letter, please let me know.
Thank you all very much for your kind words and support. It has been an honor to be trusted with the management of this team.
Dear Shock Teamers,
I wanted to write all of the street team members and give you a bit of a head’s up on the status of the Shock Street Team. After many conversations with members of Rick’s team and with the regional managers of the group, it’s been decided that the focus of this group will be changing.
For the last two years, the Shock Street Team has worked very hard with its membership to help promote Rick Springfield and his career. We’ve used a grass roots approach to help increase visibility of Rick and his music and career. We have gained press, radio interviews, radio adds, prominent displays in media outlets and booked shows. You, the members, have worked unpaid hours talking up Rick to passers by at malls, movie theaters, at work, on the internet, to disc jockeys and program directors; often with little incentive other than to give back something to the man whose music has a place inside of you. You’ve changed the focus of your fandom from “what can I get” to “what can I give” and it’s been astounding to watch.
As all of you know, Rick’s visibility has increased dramatically over the last year. Rick has a new team at the helm guiding the course of his career and big changes have already been put in place. Rick’s new management has vastly improved on the previous efforts towards promoting Rick and his career. Therefore, at this time, the Shock Street Team is pulling away from a promotional role as part of that team. For information on how you can continue to help Rick and his career, as well as the latest news on him, please continue to visit http://www.rickspringfield.com.
What will happen to the Shock Team? This mailing list will continue on to send out updates and help enhance your fan experience when we can. Your local regional groups may stay open, they may close, or they may move to a different location to be more of a discussion group than a working team. What that means for you as a member is that you will be directed less towards “work” and more towards ways to interact with each other and hopefully expand your experience as a Rick Springfield fan. Look for announcements from your regional managers for what that will mean for your local group.
The best part of being a Rick Springfield fan for me has always been the energy that is created by the fan community (obviously besides the music!). It’s why in my nearly ten years as part of it, I’ve tried to contribute in some way to moving that energy moving forward. The direction that what has been known as the “Shock Team” is entirely up to you, the members. You represent the most fervent, the most die hard, the most active of the Rick Springfield fan base. Most of you love interacting with other fans nearly as much as the music and the shows. When we were all experiencing Rick for the first time in the 80s (and 70s!) it was mostly a solitary experience. The great thing about being a fan now is the ability to share it. I’m not sure the direction the new Shock Team will take, but I hope that somehow it’s legacy will live on in new ways for fans to come together to share their energy and excitement for Rick Springfield.
Right now is a terrific and exciting time to be a Rick Springfield fan. With General Hospital, upcoming concerts, an overseas promotional tour, two new CDs in the last two calendar years and much more on the horizon, fans have more to look forward to with Rick and his career than any time in recent memory. You’ll want to talk about it, you’ll want to gather together both online and in person, and you’ll want to share those experiences. However you choose to do so, I hope you’ll continue on with the spirit of coming together for a common cause. So sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy this resurgence. All of what is going on now is what all of us came together to work towards.
It has been an honor and a priveledge to have worked with so many amazing people. I am proud of the work we accomplished, and I am proud of the team we created. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of it.
Shock Team Manager
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