THE IDEA is simple and direct: Give sports fans a voice and a place to be heard. Last week SPORTS ILLUSTRATED launched FanNation.com, a user-generated social networking site filled with Web 2.0 technology that gives fans a platform and an immediately interested audience. It's almost tribal.
The centerpiece of the site is SI.com's popular Truth & Rumors, a collection of often hilarious and credulity-bending news items culled from across the Web. One click on Truth & Rumors at SI.com takes you to FanNation.com, where you can grab any piece of news and take a bite out of it—comment on it and also share it with like-minded (or not) fans. Arguments are inevitable, and so too are laughs. Then there is Throwdowns, an interactive debate in which users challenge other readers to argue about a sports issue or question. In the end the FanNation community votes to choose the winner.
FanNation.com is fundamentally wide-open. You can create blogs on any topic. And like other social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, FanNation.com is the place to join groups dedicated to special interests, such as a favorite team. Within these fan groups are targeted message boards and blogs, and users can share photos and articles with group friends.
Besides giving fans voice and community, FanNation's advanced tech encourages users to customize news and information according to individual interests—to get news of favorite teams and players 24/7. The team tracker includes the latest news, scores and injury reports about favorite clubs. Fantasy team owners can customize the player tracker to get fantasy-specific information about their players. You can also check out the freshest news from across the sports landscape with the interactive NewsScout map: Just plant your flags wherever you want in the map, and FanNation.com's innovative aggregation tool will round up the most relevant news from those points of your interest. FanNation.com will make everything in and about sports more interesting—including you.
The site is growing fast, with close to three million page views in the first two days. Go to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/and click Truth & Rumors or directly to http://www.fannation.com.