Katie Morrissey (@_katiedidnt [on twitter]) presented a paper called ‘Digital Romance: Crowdfunding & Multiplatform Love Stories’ on romance stories distributed online. These stories, known for their interaction and the specific media platforms they use – are an example of convergence culture – ‘where old and new media collide’ (to borrow a phrase from Henry Jenkins, whom Morrissey cites). Focusing on Check, Please! by Ngozi [Ukazu], a story about two male hockey players falling in love disseminated on Tumblr and Twitter, and Fresh Romance, a multi-author serial comic which has appeared online and in print.
Morrissey described Check, Please! as difficult to define and analyse. She noted that it is difficult to know what terms to use for these texts – are they romances? Fiction? Chick lit? These texts also self-define as not romance – they label themselves as more diverse, savvy and sex-positive, defining themselves against a monolithic idea of romance. Morrissey proposed that such romance could be labelled ‘born digital’ – a term she applies to romances that began online but have now moved to print (although she does wonder what might we ‘lose’ by calling something ‘born digital’?). She argued that, as scholars, we look at romance in very fixed contexts and that we need to expand out methods to include convergence items like these. She proposed three strategies for this and asked for feedback:
Focus on a single text and trace its development through different media forms
Conduct a macro/micro level genre analysis
Look at individual readers and patterns of how they read
Amy Burge, “#ConferenceReport: PCA 2017,” Pink Heart Society, May 3, 2017.
I would really love to hear what other people think regarding the concept of a “born digital” romance, as well as on these ideas for methods.
Also, I’m trying to collect more examples different of “born digital” romances. Do you have any you’d like to send my way?