I guess most of you agree with me that Linkin Park wouldn’t be Linkin Park without Mike Shinoda, so of course the dude also needs his own fansite! When I mention Mike Shinoda and fansite in one sentence, your mind should automatically scream “Mike Shinoda Clan”! I think the Mike Shinoda Clan, or MSC, is probably one of the most popular fansites in the Linkin Park fansite world. Not only are they super fast with updating, but they also have one of the biggest media site & gallery existing, not to mention that the website is available in six languages with hard working teams translating all articles! The admins of MSC, Ana and Zara were so nice to tell us a bit about the history of the MSC, its features and where they are headed in the future!
LPFC: When was the MSC founded? Can you briefly describe the process?
Ana: MSC’s history is pretty unique, it was actually a group on the LPU forums where all Mike Shinoda fans would gather, we would discuss all of Mike’s projects there, share video, pictures, quotes, etc. I guess you could say it MSC started in 2007 on the LPU forums, but the site itself was founded on August 10th 2009, actually Zara and myself were working on it way before this probably late 2008 to early 2009, it almost never happened. We had almost no experience with HTML nor how to create a website, so we initially started on google sites, it was rather complicated (lack of customization) and we almost gave up. For a while we had left it and we continued with life then around April-May I asked Zara if we should go back to it and try again but not on google sites. We decided to go back to it and create it on blogger, we never had the intention to have it be successful as it is now. When we saw people were actually visiting, although I guess we were promoting it when we could. (Sorry Mike, for posting on your blog, we don’t do that anymore!) But once we saw that we were actually getting people to visit the site more frequently we decided to buy a domain and take it off blogger and move it to a better platform. It wasn’t that simple though, with Blogger we actually had a template to use for the layout. With WordPress we basically took our entire winter vacation and learned HTML and PHP more intensively, it paid off because our first layout on WordPress was decent for a first layout. I guess that wasn’t very brief answer, ha. But that’s how it started.
Zara: We met on the LPU in a thread where we’d talk about Mike’s projects, we decided that we could do with another place to share the information and media we found and that a site would be ideal. As Ana said, at this point we only had very basic computing skills like DLP services and tools, at best being able to customise a theme on blogger. We had to learn how to use scripts and programming languages and learn WordPress, these tools allowed us to make the site we wanted the MSC to be.
LPFC: What was the main reason of starting the MSC?
Ana: We’re such huge fans of Mike Shinoda, we wanted to update fans about Linkin Park news, share the pictures we have, etc. I had always wanted a fan site but I knew for sure I couldn’t maintain it myself so when Zara was with her own website, I asked if she wanted to start another one but just Mike Shinoda not Linkin Park as a whole. Honestly, we thought a Linkin Park fan site would be way too much so we decided for a Mike Shinoda site, we actually wish we did do a Linkin Park fan site, since we post news about all the guys already and have been doing so since early 2010.
Zara: There wasn’t really a constantly updated site for Mike when we decided to make the MSC so we decided to make one, we didn’t realise the MSC would be as successful as it is otherwise we maybe would have made a site for Linkin Park.
LPFC: When you look back, what were your personal highlights in the history of the MSC so far? Were there moments when you had problems to maintain the site?
Ana: Oh, I have lots of great highlights, I’ll name a few. One highlight was when we made Mike’s birthday trend on Twitter back in 2010, we had so many celebrities help us out and some of Mike’s friends it was pretty amazing! Something I’ll never forget we even got a retweet from Mike! Back then he didn’t really retweet fans so it was special to us! Another highlight was when he visited MSC, we were in the LPU chat with him and had told him something that he googled and it led to MSC, we knew he visited because he said we were silly. It was great, I won’t mention why he visited, it’s a silly reason! And a personal favorite was when I went to California for the KROQ Weenie Roast and had a meet and greet I had given him a MSC flier, one for him to sign if he could and another one for him to keep, he drew on my copy and wrote “Thanks!” then he talked to me a bit, asked if I was Ana or Zara. It was a pretty surreal moment, like is he really asking me that? He pronounced my name wrong, but that didn’t really matter! Haha, it was great, something that made my trip to Los Angeles even more special.
Zara: My personal highlights have been when I met Mike in 2010, I talked to him about MSC and he was like “oh it’s you”, he knew me after I had bugged him about MSC during online chats, he signed a flier for me (his signature we incorporated into the MSC’s header) and kindly moved people out the way so he could stand next to me during the photo, he talked to me after as well. Other highlights have been when we got to 1million unique daily hits, and when Mike gave us a shout out on BBC radio 1.
Ana: Problems in maintaining the site, definitely when there’s lots of Linkin Park news that gets pretty hectic. Organizing, reading, summarizing interviews, etc. I mean, I try not to just say “Here’s an interview with Mike Shinoda that ARTISTdirect conducted” or something, I really do try to read the entire thing, summarize it for the readers and point out the highlights. But I love doing it, working on MSC and maintaining it with Zara, even as hectic as it sounds, if I didn’t love it I would have just done a mediocre job in informing the fans or even just left it.
Zara: During Linkin Park tours maintaining the site can get very busy, we’ve often changed our sleep cycles so we’re awake when updates for the site are likely to be published online; we’ve had trouble finding time to search for a post for stuff when we’re both busy with our personal lives as we’re both full time university students.
LPFC: I really love the MSC’s huge media archive with tons of pictures and videos, which must be really time consuming to maintain. What is your favourite feature of the site, that you are especially proud of?
Ana: The gallery, I love the gallery! We still have thousands of pictures to upload but it’s very time consuming to sort out and organize especially when we have other stuff going on. But when we have time we update the gallery with pictures just recently we uploaded pictures from recent events. Our media archive is great too, I was happy to see that we recently got 300 followers on Twitter! I mean it’s just media not news so it was surprising to me.
Zara: The gallery really is huge, we recently uploaded our 30,000th photo, I love that during the recent tours we’ve been aiming to get photos from every show, I love our sister site LinkinParkMedia.net too, we use that to keep an archive of the video and audio interviews.
LPFC: Do you think that there are features of the site that many fans seem to overlook? If yes, can you briefly describe those features?
Zara: I’m not sure if there are overlooked features, we have a great amount of information about Linkin Park, biography’s, interviews, playlists, perhaps they are overlooked, especially the translated versions of these, I think we are mainly known for news and our gallery.
Ana: The versions I guess, like MSC Brasil and France. I mean there’s great sites that are more established and I get we’re more popular with English speakers, but I’d love for them to get some recognition. Another one maybe is interviews, we have an archive of interviews, several translated. I don’t know how many actually visit it and read old interviews because some of them are actually truly great interviews.
LPFC: What have you planned for the MSC in the future? Is there a part of the site that you want to improve on?
Zara: We have lots of plans for the MSC, we are really proud of our translated versions and would love to start up more. We want to keep adding to our gallery continuously too, new and old photos!
On a more personal note, me and Ana talk to each other every day about the site and anything else going on in our lives, we’ve became really close friends over the years, in the future I hope that we will be able to meet in person, and even maybe go to a Linkin Park show together!
Ana: Not sure if we can reveal much, but yes we have some plans for MSC! Some of these plans can’t be carried out immediately though, takes time and a lot of hard work. I think we might be starting another version like Zara said, we got offered that, we’ll see how that goes! Definitely got plans coming up, hopefully we’ll be able to carry them out soon. Zara and I are always talking like she said and we always talk about MSC and our lives in general, we’ve been talking about attending an LPU Summit together and meeting Mike, after all it’d be great; we’ve met because of Mike. Being such huge fans of him it’d be an honor to thank him personally.
Upcoming interviews: Linkin Park Live, Linkin Park Revolution and Chester Bennington Network