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  1. #U2Request took place on April 14th, 2015. U2 fans from all over the world united with the goal to have their voices heard, voting for songs they would like to see played live on the new iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, starting on May 14th 2015 in Vancouver. Fans worldwide sent over 50K tweets to #U2Request, and 39K of tweets and retweets on April 14th from midnight to 23:59:59 their local time. You can view the full results over here : http://u2request.selfip.info/ by @harrykantas We asked @Noodles105 to tell the #U2Request story in his own words... "My name is Angelo D'Arezzo, and I am a U2 fan from Italy". #U2Request 1.0 - How it all came together. The idea for #U2Request was born at the beginning of last November. I read a post on Facebook by Andrea Morandi: "Which song would you like to hear on the new tour?" I thought to myself, this post will soon be forgotten, but what if we added a hashtag in front? So I wrote to Andrea, and he came back with #U2Request - short, sweet, and easy to remember. This is not where the idea stopped though. The release of Songs Of Innocence and the excitement about the new tour (that had not yet been announced) meant there was an opportunity for us to help get the fans' voices heard, as loud as possible. We reached out to U2 fans, to fan sites on Twitter and Facebook, in hopes of getting our hashtag to go viral as soon as the tour would get announced. The only rule was this was to remain a fan initiative, no logos, no trademarks added to it. The response was very good, and many fans showed their support. This is how I got to know James Parker (@TheeEdge) and Nicole Nahas (@U2Kouklitsa), who quickly became integral parts of the project. My friend Stefano Vaccaro created an image for us with #U2Request on it, and we started sharing it. And so did the rest of the U2 fans. As soon as the tour was announced, we started tweeting out #U2Request. The response was really good. Steve Lillywhite was kind enough to give #U2Request a nod, requesting 'A Celebration' - what a great honour for a fan initiative! #U2Request 2.0 - April 14th 2015. The second phase started with Steve's ‘A Celebration’ - U2 have so many great songs, some rarely performed, some not at all. Why not turn this into a global U2 Celebration, show the world why we are U2 fans. What better time than with a newly announced tour, rumours about indoor venues, multiple nights per city and so on. We had to come up with a set date, to kick it off. After discussing this with Andrea, we thought exactly one month before the tour starts would be a good time. This found myself, James, and Nicole fully involved in getting the word out, almost 3 months before the 14th of April. Stefano kept providing us with artwork. This is a good time to thank all the U2 fan sites for their support. These are all people that work hard everyday to provide news about theirs and our favourite band. Part of our U2 Celebration would also be to recognise that and give back any way we could. Documentation, Harry's help & getting @U2's attention. At this point, things were looking positive, but some things needed caution: 1) Some people did not fully understand the idea and thought it was our way of expressing dislike of previous U2 setlists or that we were trying to force our opinions to whoever might be listening from the band's associates, rather than for what it was: A Celebration! It’s true that sometimes you get misunderstood over the internet, especially when you speak a different language, and are restricted to 140 characters. The team came up with the idea a document, that would clear all confusion, and have instructions on how to participate. 2) How do we accurately count all the tweets from April 14th? I asked Harry Kantas (@harrykantas) for advice. He and his wife Amra (@u2_ultraviolet) were always kind to our cause. Harry promised to work on a solution for us to have the exact counts of tweets on the day. A few hours later, we had a message from Harry, with a screenshot of some code running, and a comment: "It works ;-)". With our problems solved, we published our document, with all the details, links and instructions for #U2Request, along with a list of fan sites supporting us. This really kicked things off for us. We got many more people on board. AJ Sams of U2wanderer.org wrote an article about us, and taught us a lot. The support of @U2Community came next, and Guy Oseary, U2's manager gave us a nod, by actively fav'ing and retweeting us. Then support from @U2 came along! Peter Rowen was even kind enough to let us use some of his artwork for our purposes. And that ‘s when the media also started taking notice. 14th of April 2015: World U2 Celebration. Starting at midnight at everyone's local time. Thousands of #U2Request tweets were coming in, we were trending in Italy, Brazil, Ireland and the US! Virgin Radio, Rolling Stone Italia in Italy. Universal Music in Italy, Spain, France, and Brazil. Olaf Tyaransen and Hot Press Magazine, as well as the Daily Mirror in Ireland. Sons and Fathers, Alzheimer Association supporting #ENDALZ, AfricanWellFund, the attention of Little Museum and other Irish Media. Alan Cross in Canada. Spotify Brazil. Steve Lillywhite was one of our first tweets from Thailand - where our friend James got the opportunity to meet him. Such an honour to have more than 50K tweets for #U2Request from all over the world. To have so many Fans actively participating by sharing images, videos, and of course their requests. To have the support of so many U2 sites, official or not, supporting us and tweeting for us. To have people, U2 fans or not, paying attention, spending an entire day talking about our favourite band. Such an honour to be here talking about this with all of you!
  2. It's twenty years to the week since Aaron J Sams decided to make a 'U2 Web Page'. Part of a University class project, that webpage became U2Wanderer.org and with long-running collaborator Carl Uebelhart and other contributors, the site is still going strong. We asked Aaron for five tips on running your own U2 fan site. Here's what he told us - including how the late, great Johnny Cash sent him his thanks and his autograph. 'Truly one of the most memorable moments I’ve had working on Web sites.' -------- I’ve been making U2 lists most of my life. Early in the 1980s I had a list of U2 singles and B-sides that I would update with each release. Twenty years ago this week that list became a U2 Web page as part of a university class project. For a bonus I found a way to get it published on the World Wide Web. That list of U2 singles has become the discography section of U2Wanderer.Org. Over these last twenty years I’ve learned a few things about running a U2 site and here are a few thoughts I had to share with others looking to start something similar. 1. Pick something small and build. You won’t launch a Web site tomorrow about the band that covers every last aspect of their career. There is just so much information about U2 after a career that has lasted over 30 years. Pick some aspect of the band you enjoy and start with that. Maybe start with a focus on the bibliography of books dealing with the band, investigate the chart history, or start a Facebook group about the band’s Zoo TV tour. If you pick a favorite aspect to get started you can always build from there. My starting point was a list of B-sides and where to find them. We added the discography, lyrics, chart positions, collectibles and much more over many years. 2. Over 20 years the most enjoyable aspect of working on a U2 site has been communicating with other fans. I’ve been lucky to work with fans from around the globe over the last 20 years and had an opportunity to have contact with many more. So many faces and names flash before me as I think back on the people who have helped me out over the years – and from so many countries -- Mexico, Spain, Australia, Croatia, Poland, Greece, Ireland and so many more. The site has opened the door to so many people that I would not have met otherwise. It’s also important to find good people who share your interests. Without my longest running partner Carl and all of the staff at U2Wanderer.Org I might have given up on it years ago. It has been nice to work with people and get to know them through the projects we work on, even if we have only rarely had the chance to meet in person. It's important to have someone who will pick up the reins when you need a break, or who you just might want to discuss an idea with. 3. Every fan has something to offer, it doesn’t matter if they’ve seen the band 75 times - or 1. It doesn’t matter if they have two singles or if they have them all. A site will be aimed at a wide range of fans from all over the world and you should expect communication from a range of backgrounds and experiences. We all have one thing in common and that’s a love for the band. Some of the most positive interactions come from the places you least expect it. One of the earliest contributors to U2Wanderer.Org sent her first suggestions when she was 14, after having seen the band only once... taken kicking and screaming by her grandmother! She’s helped decorate the place and is still ready to offer up an honest opinion on any design changes we make. It was also because of her that Johnny Cash became aware of a U2 Web site that was named after the song he did with the band. He sent me his personal thanks and also his autograph. Truly one of the most memorable moments I’ve had working on Web sites. 4. Don’t be afraid to take a break and work on other things. If you want to do anything, you best enjoy it. If it stops being fun or seems like too much work you might need a break. I always struggle between tours to stay focused on working on the site but there is nothing like a new song or a new tour to renew that energy for me. We are currently working to finish off a major update, probably our largest, with a definite boost of fresh energy from the release of Songs of Innocence. 5. These days you need to use social media and get involved in the community. Web sites are just one way to discuss the band these days. There are Facebook pages to moderate. On Twitter you can discuss things with fans around the world. Zootopia is one forum where fans gather to discuss the band. It's important to learn where your audience gathers, and to look into the different options for communication you might want to use. This is where you'll find the people you want to work with – whether it's on a Web site, or through a Twitter campaign, or through a Facebook post. And if they are discussing what you are doing it will help gauge how your work is being appreciated. I have to admit, it always puts a smile on my face to see my site getting a mention - especially when people might not know I’m watching.
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