for the site for the boards

Murmurs was launched in 1995 and has grown and grown into what it is today, which is the biggest REM site on the net (bigger than the official one!)

THe discussion board, originally on O'Reilly's Webboard was started in 1998 right before the release of REM's album Up. It moved to vBulletin right before the release of their latest Reveal.

REM credits Murmurs with actually thrusting them into the Internet age. Before I came along, they didn't think much of fan-sites nor see the need for one of their own. It took one wrong phone number on Murmurs to convince them that they needed one.

Right now we're in the first phases of redoing Murmurs to be more heavily content centric and engaging the user community as columnists and authors, as well as bridging countent to things that are outside of REM's scope. The band is touring this fall (promotional) and probably doing a world tour next year, so the level of content coming in is going to increase. We're trying to find a way to balance a strong user community with the desire for professional original content.

THe utlimate goal is the melding of Murmurs into a kind of psychotic MOO system that I'm doing as a part of school research.

The audience for the community is about 50/50 international to US, with actually more participation outside of the states in some areas. Age groups, mostly college age, but ranging as young as 13 and as old as 62.

The band and I have a good relationship, but because of the perception of preferential treatment, they keep a distance from the boards. However, it hasn't stopped me from getting everyone somehow connected to REM to participate, including their guitar technician, their auxillary musicians (Scott McCaguhey from the Young Fresh Fellows and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies) as well as their video directors (Michael Moore of Roger and Me fame and Garth Jennings recently).

The band and their office staff do read the boards however, as its a quick way for them to gauge fan reactions to things. We have a good relationship between us, which works to both our benefits.