fandomthennow:

For the next round of posts, I’m going to focus on some of the ways fans described themselves in 2008. In order to get a sense of who was participating in the 2008 Fan Fiction survey, the participants were asked for some general demographic information. At the time, I wanted to get a sense of the mix of fans taking the survey. Now, I’d love to know what you make of this data.

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2) gender and sexuality

The vast majority of fans participating in the survey (96%) identified as female. Many participants identified as heterosexual (68%), but a significant portion of participants (32%) identified as non-heterosexual, including the 23% of participants that identified themselves as bisexual. That’s roughly a third of participants identifying as something other than straight.

I’ve got a few different things I’m wondering about this and I’d love to get your thoughts. 

  • First, what do you make of this data? Is there anything else you think we should pay attention to here? 
  • Also, how much does this match with your experience of fans and fandoms today?
  • Finally, how do you feel about surveys collecting this kind of information about fans? Do we need this kind of data? Is it useful? 

Share your ideas by replying to this post or by posting comments on the Fandom Then/Now website.

fandomthennow:

For the next round of posts, I’m going to focus on some of the ways fans described themselves in 2008. In order to get a sense of who was participating in the 2008 Fan Fiction survey, the participants were asked for some general demographic information. At the time, I wanted to get a sense of the mix of fans taking the survey. Now, I’d love to know what you make of this data. 

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1) ages

First, in 2008 the participants skewed younger. The survey was only open to participants 18 or older, but the vast majority of survey participants were under thirty years of age. These numbers may also imply that there is significant participation in fan culture from individuals younger than 18. However, since younger fans were excluded from participating, these fans and their reading practices are not represented by the 2008 survey results.

What do you make of these numbers and the ranges of ages represented? Is there anything else you think we should pay attention to here?

Also, how much does this match with your experience of fans and fandoms today? Do you think most fans are 30 and under or have things changed?

Share your ideas by replying to this post or by posting comments on the Fandom Then/Now website

fandomthennow:

Apologies for going quiet for the past few weeks. I needed to pause for a moment or two in order to pack, move, start a new teaching position, prep classes for the fall semester… all the fun stuff that happens in August. :)

I’m going to jump back into posting excerpts from the project website now. We’re about halfway through the overall website. As in the past, these posts will be made on Tumblr, Twitter, LiveJournal, and Dreamwidth. Please feel free to comment, reblog, and share in any of those spaces. 

Also, this would be a great time to ask you if you’d like to ask some questions too! Are there any issues related to the Fandom Then/Now project that you are curious about? Anything you would like to hear from other fan fiction readers/writers about?

The Organization for Transformative Works was founded six years ago, because fans realized that owning the means of circulating and distributing fanworks—the servers, the interface, the code, the terms of service—would be essential to the long-term health of fan creativity, and so we created the nonprofit, donor-supported Archive of Our Own. Today, when I talk about the importance of fan writing, I don’t just mean fiction and nonfiction: I mean contracts and code. In the old days, fans self-published their fiction (and put it under copyright, asserting their ownership in their words), they distributed their own VHS cassettes and digital downloads, and they coded and built their own websites and created their own terms of service. Today, enormous commercial entities—YouTube, Amazon, LiveJournal, Wattpad, Tumblr—own much of this infrastructure.

This is a very mixed bag. On the one hand, these companies’ products and interfaces have made it infinitely easier for the average fan to connect with other fans and distribute fanworks. Now you only need a username and a password to get started, where before you needed access to server space, a knowledge of HTML, how to use FTP, and so on. However, there are also various dangers, including not only capricious or exploitative terms of service but simple market failure. None of the companies I just listed has anything like the track record of the average fandom or fannish institution; consider how much younger they are than Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, or even Supernatural fandom. In the best case, these companies may fail and become a disruptive force in relatively stable and long-term communities; in the worst case, they may exploit and betray their users.

In the past few years, the nature of the arguments I have been having as a fandom advocate has changed: In the past, I found myself arguing for the legitimacy of our works; now, I find myself arguing against their exploitation. The commercial ownership of the infrastructure means that money has now complicated fandom’s gift culture, and, like it or not, we now have to think about who should benefit. Here, too, there is a spectrum: Some grassroots creators don’t want to engage with the commercial world on any terms (and they should have the right not to); others feel that if someone is profiting from their works, it should be them, and it should be a fair compensation. If the relationship between fans and the commercial world is being renegotiated, we’re going to have to apply some of our creative energies to writing contracts as well as fanfiction, rather than let unfavorable or disrespectful terms of authorship be handed down to us by corporate owners.

Francesca Coppa, in Participations: Dialogues on the Participatory Promise of Contemporary Culture and Politics (via fanculturesfancreativity)

Fifty Shades of Remix: The Intersecting Pleasures of Commercial and Fan Romances by Katherine Morrissey

Fifty Shades of Grey’s past as a work of Twilight fan fiction has turned a spotlight onto the conversion of fan works for the commercial romance market. Fifty Shades reminds us of the increasing flow of texts, readers, and writers across these two categories of storytelling. Blurring traditional genre categories, stories like Fifty Shades represent a challenge for fan and popular romance studies. While scholars need to be attentive to medium specific contexts, the impulse to deny intersection may signal problematic assumptions and artificially segregate these storytelling forms. This paper reexamines past work on the differences between fan fiction and romance, arguing for greater attentiveness to the ways these two modes of storytelling intersect. Focusing on the importance of intertextuality and play with form in romantic storytelling, the paper argues that greater attention to these qualities offers new ways for us to study texts like Fifty Shades of Grey and may help scholars reconceptualize the relationship between fan and commercial work.

My article on Fifty Shades came out in the Journal of Popular Romance Studies this week. :)

Fan/dom: People, practices, and networks | Transformative Works and Cultures

Fan/dom: People, practices, and networks | Transformative Works and Cultures

A focus on fandom from multiple perspectives is critical, given ongoing challenges in conceptualizing what it is to be a fan. How do we attempt to process a concept that is simultaneously claimed as an activity, an identity, and a connection to others? Rather than seeing this confusion as a problem, perhaps it is more useful to see it as precisely the point. In trying to understand an aspect of media culture that we all, to some degree, engage in, the field of fan studies needs to approach fans and fandom in a variety of ways: at the level of the individual, at the level of practices, and as a framework in which the self encounters media culture. In our current moment, the media environment is undergoing dramatic changes. It is critical that fan studies continues to question the control of cultural production and consider the ways that today’s media industries are working to accommodate both fans and fan practices.

[ read more ]

Totally forgot to post this back when it was published in TWC. Oops! 

#302

From audiences sitting in the dark of the theater, to impassioned fans at conventions, there are many ways for us to engage with media. Popular culture inspires our passion, our anger, and sparks public conversation. 

This class explores different ideas about audiences, viewers, and fans. The class will look at a variety of film, television, and digital media texts, including: Hard Days Night, The Blair Witch Project, Battlestar Galactica, and the Harry Potter franchise. We’ll also check out what’s happening on YouTube, play digital games, and look at remix projects like Wizard People Dear Reader

The class asks students to take an active role in discussions by reflecting on their own experiences as viewers and by producing their own creative/critical digital projects in response to different media texts.

more info & registration ]

From audiences sitting in the dark of the theater, to impassioned fans at conventions, there are many ways for us to engage with media. Popular culture inspires our passion, our anger, and sparks public conversation. 

This class explores different ideas about audiences, viewers, and fans. The class will look at a variety of film, television, and digital media texts, including: Hard Days Night, The Blair Witch Project, Battlestar Galactica, and the Harry Potter franchise. We’ll also check out what’s happening on YouTube, play digital games, and look at remix projects like Wizard People Dear Reader

The class asks students to take an active role in discussions by reflecting on their own experiences as viewers and by producing their own creative/critical digital projects in response to different media texts.

more info & registration ]

The top 10 most influential fans of 2012