Tag Archives: fandom

549 survey responses donated to the Bruce Springsteen special collection

One of the questions in my 7-Question Springsteen Fan Survey asked respondents:

Why Bruce Springsteen? That is, what is it about Bruce Springsteen (the man and/or his music) that makes you a Springsteen fan. Please limit your response to 1500 characters. If you prefer, you may answer in a language other than English.

After completing that question, respondents were asked to choose if they wanted their response donated to the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. I’m excited to announce that this evening I emailed Melanie Paggioli, Executive Director of the Friends, a document containing 549 responses to the question (178 respondents declined to have their response donated). The responses total 231,308 characters (without spaces), 54,609 words, 3,450 lines, over 85 pages. In other words, this is a robust contribution composed by fans.

According to their web site, “The Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection is a ‘by fans for fans’ organization that came together ten years ago, when we recognized that much of the written history of Bruce and his bands was in danger of being lost. From the original donations of 850 publications in 2001 we’ve created a world-class repository of books, magazines, tour books, song books, fanzines and other documents covering the entire history of Bruce Springsteen and his bands. Thanks to our current Friends membership, the Collection has grown to over 17,000 items.”

The responses are passionate, emotional, often funny, and quite revealing into just what makes someone a fan of Bruce Springsteen. A few are in foreign languages. Here’s a Wordle of the responses (top 500 words, “Bruce” and “Springsteen” removed):

Wordle of the responsesAs you can see, for most it’s about the music (mentioned 619 times). I’m curious to learn more about the life (298 times)-long love (159 times) affair these fans have, and how often it’s tied to concert (231 times) experiences.

The responses will eventually be located in the collection currently housed at Monmouth University alongside the many other wonderful texts, artifacts, and memorabilia archived there. They will become part of the permanent collection, adding to the rich legacy of Springsteen and the impact he’s had on fans as individuals and the culture at large. Future researchers and fans will be able to look these words and learn more about why Springsteen has been important as a musician and a human being. I hope these will be just the first in a growing body of fan-specific documents housed in the collection.

It is an honor to have been trusted with these thoughts about Bruce Springsteen and I am proud to donate them on the respondents’ behalf.

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To All Springsteen Fans: Thank You

This brief post is to all Springsteen fans who have completed or considered completing “The 7-Question Springsteen Fan Survey,” which I released on August 1, 2013. Today marks one month since the final official show of The Wrecking Ball Tour, which ended July 28, 2013, in Kilkenny, Ireland. It also marks the last day my survey will be live. I will be taking it down by 11:59 this evening.

As of this writing, 763 Springsteen fans have submitted responses to the survey.

I am humbled by the trust you have placed in me and the enthusiasm so many have shown by retweeting links to the survey. When I began preparing this study, I had two things in mind. First, keep it short. (Seven questions still seems a bit too long.) Second, I hope people trust me enough to place their inner-most thoughts about Springsteen in my care. I was especially worried because the survey was being released soon after Springsteen and I hit theaters. I remember telling my wife, Wendy (yes, Wendy, I know, isn’t it just wonderful?), that I thought maybe, if I were lucky, I’d break 100 responses. She knew better.

So, to all have taken the survey and those who have considered but declined, I offer my thanks. I hope you come away from the work I produce in collaboration with your thoughts honors that trust. I will, of course, keep you informed as data analysis begins and will post some initial response data after the deadline passes.

(And if you’ve yet to complete the survey, you still have time! http://j.mp/7-q-s)

Many of my Twitter followers know Wendy and I had a son, Seeger Reyes Wolff, on August 14, 2013 (named after Pete Seeger and the wonder of Point Reyes National Seashore, which Wendy and I love). I’ve been singing him “Pony Boy” for the last two weeks. In honor of him, I leave you with an audio of Springsteen singing “Pony Boy” by request at Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford NJ on August 4, 1992. (At posting, the movie isn’t play in the post, but you can click on the title.) I love how he changes it to “Pony Girl” at the end.

PS If you know of a video of it online, please let me know!

Updated 4:25pm

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