Thursday, January 1, 2009

Has Derren Brown's Official Blog Run Amok?

When Derren Brown's official blog launched in September, I thought AboutDerrenBrown's days as a successful fan blog were numbered.

After all, my sole purpose with this blog has been to write about DB's amazing career as an illusionist. Surely, I thought, his personal blog will do a better job of that than I can do.

It has been almost 60 days since my last post, but I have decided to revive this blog because Derren's official blog is failing.

Derren Brown's Official Blog Does Not Cater to the Fans

Why are you a Derren Brown fan? Is it because of his amazing illusions, or because you look to him as a spiritual leader? I'm guessing the former.

Now look at DB's blog. If you scan through it, you will find that about 5% of the entries address Derren's performances, while about 20% of them discuss his atheist views. The remaining 75% are links to weird news (the type of thing a friend or coworker might e-mail you about).

Derren is treating his blog as an amateur personal webpage. As a celebrity with a loyal following, he ought to be catering to his fans. He could provide information unavailable anywhere else (e.g., stories about his interaction with fans, behind-the-scenes details about his shows, or teasers for future tricks). Or he could provide readily available information that caters to his fans (e.g., information about other performers he admires, tutorials in simple magic tricks, etc.).

Instead, he's promoting his personal views on religion (don't miss his certain-to-alienate-many-fans Christmas post), and filling the daily posts with irrelevant nonsense. I like Derren, but his blog is pathetic.

So I will keep providing the content you want, right here at AboutDerrenBrown.

Related (and completely unsubstantiated) Speculation

While I think it's unwise for Derren to focus his blog on atheism rather than magic, his decision to do so has led me to develop an interesting conspiracy theory:

Remember our disappointment this past September when Derren's SciFi series was postponed? The series was supposed to air this past fall in the U.S., and it was supposed to include a one-hour special, presumably one of Derren's past TV specials.

What if the one-hour special in question was "Messiah" - the show in which Derren tried to convince five new-age and religious authorities that he had supernatural powers?

I think it's possible that SciFi would refuse to include that special in the series, knowing that it would offend many American viewers (who are less accepting of frontal assaults on religion than British viewers, in my experience).

This is complete speculation. But maybe the U.S. deal fell apart because Derren insisted on his more atheistic material, which SciFi knew would be unpopular.



Dave said...

I think there's room for both blogs. Your blog focussing on Derren's career from a fan perspective and Derren's personal blog which gives an interesting insight into what makes Derren tick.

I didn't remove your blog from my feed reader when Derren's blog appeared. I was interested in reading both blogs.

Derren's blog is Derren's blog. It's up to him (or his assistants) to choose what goes on the blog. If he thinks that using his celebrity to promote atheism, then surely that's his decision. Personally I think that it's great to see so many famous atheists "come out of the closet".

And his christmas day post made me laugh out loud. It's good to confront christians with alternative viewpoints.

Mellor said...

1 - it's Coops blog.
2 - There is a "DB Direct" feed
3 - Your percentages are waaaay off.

TheMindFantastic said...

First off read Mellor's comment, I know you have a great deal of disappointment finding out DB is like a regular guy and not this on a higher plane than thou individual, but like most performers, they are just people who have a talent and have practised it into an art they perform for the awe and wonder of an audience. They go home watch probably some embarrassing to admit shows on the telly, hopefully with someone they care about, and probably stink up the washroom once in a while. Just like the rest of us. There is a history of those who perform magic to keep the air of mystery even in their personal day to day life, but usually its just another aspect of the performance... and not how they actually are.

William_Tapscott said...

TheMindFantastic makes a fair point -- irrational thought it may be, we all expect talented and/or public individuals to be on a higher plane.

Mellor -- my percentages might be off. I was just eyeballing the blog (not actually counting all the entries). What are the right numbers?

Dave - Thanks. I'll keep up the fan perspective.

scumbag said...

keep posting...there's room for both of you

Anonymous said...

It is apparently Coops' blog BUT Coops doesn't post very often and Phillis Dorris posts 90% of the time and he/she was hired by Derren. The blog itself is linked to from Derren's site so one naturally assumes the blog is for his fans, therefore, the content (or majority of it) would be to do with Derren or his work.

As a fan of Derren, I certainly don't want to constantly read about religion, Atheism etc and be TOLD that God DOES NOT exist. That post did make him sound as crazy as the religious freaks who bang on about how God DOES exist. Hypocrisy? I am not religious, but I know when Atheists can sound just as cuckoo as die hard Christians! The script is the same, just different people.

Also, this has nothing to do with Derren being an average bloke and people being disappointed by that. I couldn't care less about what he does in his private time and who with, I am interested in his work and his field of work, so your comment TheMindFantastic kind of confuses me. I think you may be getting fans mixed up with obsessive fans who do like to know his every move. Derren is a private person so, obviously, his fans are to expect blog entries on his work, not his private life so, from my point of view, the blog is of a professional nature - not a personal one.

I like this blog, I visit here a lot and I like the way you can air you unbiased views instead of kissing his arse all the time.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how some fans get so tetchy just because some people don't like Derren's blog. When a blog is linked to from an official site, it is considered as a professional blog, so what's with all this "he's a regular guy" and "keeping an air of mystery" rubbish? What has him being a regular guy got to do with people not liking his blog when most the stuff in it isn't by Derren anyway?

Celebrities should always keep out of politics and religion and constant comments about God, Jesus, religion etc isn't a very good idea. It's all well and good to have your own opinion but there is a fine line to airing your opinion and pushing your opinion on others. I think Derren has crossed that line a few times. Dave, I think you would laugh at comments he makes when you agree with them (I'm assuming you do, if you don't please forgive me) but certain comments aren't funny to certain people (and I'm not just referring to religious comments), he is singling out people and mocking them, I have seen this a few times and because they are fans of Derren, they just laugh about it - because it's Derren.

The fact of the matter is, the blog is completely random, not much about Derren there at all and it is Derren's blog whether you think so or not. People can dislike it for whatever reason they like and think Derren is an idiot for whatever reason, freedom of speech and all that. Luckily, the blog is only temporary so hopefully it will improve.

Mellor said...

Hmm - curious you comment that his blog has "run amok". They have had over a million hits, which proves that he IS catering to his fans, do you have those sort of numbers? Sadly I think not.

It's so easy to be a nay-sayer and complain but I don't really see you providing much else in return. You post once in a blue moon, have very few comments and are mostly critical. If you want to get all the news from Derren only then use the DB Direct feed. Or do you not understand how a blog is supposed to work?

Coops has far more posts than Derren and for all we know Phillis IS Coops and he's just messing with you. There is also plenty of "Thanks" that show the links are sent in by the fans... are they irrelevant too?

The "there is no god" post was clearly a joke that has been missed by yourselves, or maybe you think that Derren is not entitled to a sense of humor either.

At the end of the day it is an extra touch point that I can go to as a fan. It's constantly talked about in the DBFF (which I have slowly tired of recently) and no-one is forcing me to go there.

What is disappointing is that when I'm looking about the web for stuff on him I come across this and just see a few people who have little to do but complain. Why not dedicate some proper time to your blog before making the claim that "you will provide" when all your really doing is taking cheap shots and coming across as a little sour at all the attention he gets.

Cerebra said...

i too am glad that atheists are able to express themselves freely these days without the usual religious guilt tripping, as long as he doesnt end up like dawkins im fine with it.

William_Tapscott said...

Mellor --

I admit that, because I don't have a paid staff posting for me, I am unable to post as regularly as Derren.

But it's unfair (and inaccurate) of you to say that I am mostly critical of Derren. Most of my entries are very pro-DB.

I am skeptical of your claim that DB has had a million hits. Google "derren brown blog," and this unofficial blog comes up ahead of Derren's.

As you correctly assumed, I have not had a million hits. If DB's blog is a runaway success, why isn't it higher in the search results?

Anonymous said...

Can I say something about "hits" to Derren's blog. When I post in my blog, I get hundreds of hits per day, regardless what I post about (yes, most of it is just boring rubbish). I get "hits" from spammers, people who find my blog because of the subject I have posted about etc so I am not getting hundreds of hits a day from hundreds of people who just love my blog. I think the same is happening with DB's blog. I know a lot of spammers have targeted the blog and that is the reason Phillis had to start using the anti spam text. So all these apparent "hits" the blog is getting, it isn't all from fans or people interested in what he does/says/thinks.

William_Tapscott said...

Sekhmet -

Good point. Page hits are too easily manipulated to serve as a reliable indicator of website popularity.

Mellor (the commentor who is suspiciously defensive of DB's official website) said DB's blog "had over a million hits, which proves that he IS catering to his fans,..."

...or that Coops has hit "refresh" a million times.

But even if DB's site has had a million genuine hits, what does that prove? He is a celebrity and _should_ be getting millions of hits.

He would get more repeat visitors (a better measure of success) if he catered to the fans.

Mellor said...

There's over 170 comments in the competition page - I suppose Coops sits there and types out all those too. There's just no winning with you lot. Admit it your just sour.

To say that Coops sits there and hits refresh a million times is utterly bizzare...! You need to stop smoking the whacky backy, you've become delusional. Hey maybe IM coops!!! after all im being overly protective.. yes now it adds up.

William_Tapscott said...


I was actually joking about Coops refreshing the official blog a million times.

You missed the larger point, that "a million hits" does not equal "catering to the fans."

AboutDerrenBrown is not anti-Derren as you imply - quite the opposite! If I didn't like him, I wouldn't post here.

Your idea of Derren worship might differ from mine, but on the web we all get to have our say (notice, for example, how I have refrained from deleting your critical comments).

Anonymous said...

"There's over 170 comments in the competition page "

Yes, by about 30 different posters (yes that was an estimate). The comments are mostly by people talking back and forth to each other, it isn't 170 different people.

"after all im being overly protective.."

Yes, aren't you just!! If you aren't Coops or anyone on Derren's team then it's even sadder that you are so protective to be honest! It's a blog we are discussing here, you are taking it very personal.

I don't think anyone needs to be sour but for some reason you sound very bitter. I mean this blog caters for Derren fans as it's about - shock horror - Derren. Derren's blog mostly caters for die hard Atheists and people interested in psychology etc and I'm sure that appeals to the stalkery kind of fangirl (or boy) he seems to attract. The kind who take on his interests, beliefs and mannerisms (I kid you not), those who wont have a bad word said againts him and take it very personally - a little like yourself actually. i.e the kind of fan who likes what Derren likes just because he likes it. If you are obsessed with religion and complete randomness, then it's a great blog as long as you don't expect too many posts by/about Derren. Personally, and this might be totally fucked up here, but I am a fan of Derren. I'm not overly interested in the psychology/magic/misdirection/showmanship/whatever to his act. I like to watch it but to read about that kind of stuff day after day after day gets kind of boring. I know Im NOT in the minority and I know there are people/fans out there who do take an interest in what he does but they are in the minority and this blog caters for them more than the regular fans hence why the blog doesn't get 170 comments every single entry (even most entries).

Sorry to rant but Mellor, you really need to get that stick out of your arse and respect other people's opinions, especially when no one is saying anything bad about Derren or the other people running the blog. So people think his blog is a bit naff, how does that effect YOU exactly? Do tell because you are acting like it's the end of the world!

Harlequ!n said...

I agree. I've been a fan of Derren since I was sixteen or so, and when his blogs started spewing forth all the in-your-face Atheism stuff, I found it extremely distasteful and have thus become less of a fan because of it. I accept that he's sceptical of religion, but the way in which he and his assistants put this forward is very obnoxious and off-putting.

I'm not a religious person, but I do believe that Mr Derren Brown needs to get the stick out of his arse and get OVER the fact that people don't share his aspects on everything. He's a celebrity, not a God. Pardon the pun.