Fandom is the new black.

9 Sep

Fandom is a current trend that is prevalent and socially accepted in today’s community, mutating from its primarily geeky foundations into an innovative phase of popular culture. We are all guilty of being fanatical about something or someone and with the advancements in media convergence, connecting with your self-selected audience is not only simple but also empowering.  Ultimately fan members “share a common set of texts, values, experiences and vernacular culture” (Wiatrowski 2011, pg 6); being a fan is now a way of life. fandom

Before the Internet, communication between fans was limited and problematic. My obsession growing up as a child was not Harry Potter or Hannah Montana but Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock; I loved my WWE Wrestling. I may have not had a traditional 10 year old girl crush, but I could have taught the Beiber fever and One Direction girl fans of today how to scream. I was vocal and passionate about the ‘sport’ but found my fan collaboration opportunities limited due to the audience demographic being American-based as the broadcasted bouts were specifically designed with this in mind. The opportunities for the Australian fan participating in the WWE culture included the following; a possible annual event held in a major Australian city (geographical restrictions) magazines (time delays due to postage) and pay TV televised relays (financial burden and differing time zones). These physical and personal obstacles made my quest to be a WWE fan a challenging and lonesome experience.

wrestling-blog                 blog-wrestling

               The Rock: Dwayne Johnson               My Little Self in Melbourne 2002

“Fandom, in the information age, has become a well-connected global village capable of coordinated and immediate worldwide contact” (Wiatrowski 2011, pg 1-2). This participatory culture has evolved via the benefits of global online media by utilising the public sphere to connect audiences and collaborate on a mass scale creating cyber-communities. With the advancement of technology, time and space restraints have been minimised and previous barriers including location, language differences and financial difficulty radically diminished. All these factors have given the fan’s voice while reinstating his or her power in media’s virtual space.

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 11.23.29 AMFamous words of Henry Jenkins

Society and the media, has been bombarded with the fandom craze, with fans vocalizing their opinions via Facebook pages, tweeting, posting blogs and web chats. Fans have the opportunity to globally interact and connect with their chosen celebrity as well as share their views with fan community. These interactions involve active consumers and rely heavily on a common emotion and/or interest. Each fan has the ability to become a producer in their participatory community and utilise their individual power through online voting, opinion polls and the freedom of speech.

I am an adamant pro-fandom supporter as this culture appeals to my sense of belonging. Regrettably, I have outgrown my WWE phase and have now mutated into a mature reality TV junkie/type-one-harmless celebrity stalker. My fandom at Campus East is fanatical, my online media connection passionate and my participatory culture eager to listen, share and embellish.

A fan is no longer a stereotypical geek with poor social skills. If you partake in Facebook pages, SMS television voting, online celebrity stalking, congratulations, as you too are trendy…you too are a member of fan culture!

dork-blog

(Nowakowski, 2012)

REFERENCES

Marikar, M 2010, ‘Justin Bieber’s Fans: Crazy or Just Babies?‘, abcnews, 5 January, accessed 26th September 2013, <http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/justin-biebers-fans-angry-selena-gomez/story?id=12539302>

Project Fandom 2012, Project Fandom Fee to Geek, image, viewed 15th September 2013,     < http://projectfandom.com/wp-content/themes/vcon-wp/img/pf_logo.png&gt;  (source of top image)

Rickman,G 1993, Reviwed work(s) Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins, Film Quarterly, Vol. 46, No 4 (Summer, 1993), p.63, accessed 25th September 2013 ,<http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Textual+Poachers%3A+Television+Fans+and+Participatory+Culture+.+Henry+Jenkins&rft.jtitle=Film+Quarterly&rft.au=Rickman%2C+Gregg&rft.date=1993-07-01&rft.issn=0015-1386&rft.eissn=1533-8630&rft.volume=46&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=63&rft.epage=63&rft_id=info:doi/10.1525%2Ffq.1993.46.4.04a00460&rft.externalDBID=n%2Fa&rft.externalDocID=10_1525_fq_1993_46_4_04a00460&paramdict=en-US>

White, A 2012, Boozy cricket fans, protestors ejected from Boxing Day Test at MCG, photograph, viewed 16th September 2013, < http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/boozy-cricket-fans-protestors-ejected-from-boxing-day-test-at-mcg/story-e6frf7kx-1226543589931>

Wiatrowski, M 2011, ‘The Dynamics of Fandom: Exploring Fan Communities in Online Spaces’, academic paper, accessed 7th September, 2013, <http://www.academia.edu/491940/The_Dynamics_of_Fandom_Exploring_Fan_Communities_in_Online_Spaces >

The Rock WWE Wallpaper, n.d, photograh, viewed 16th September 2013, <http://sportwpp.com/the-rock-wwe-wallpaper.html >

Advertisements

One Response to “Fandom is the new black.”

  1. haz102 September 23, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Haha I enjoy that you can admit that you were a wrestling fan back in the day, I secretly like watching it occasionally, but don’t tell anyone please..
    This is written well and I like the end photo of the wheres wally gang!
    Fandom is a really interesting topic and agree with you that everyone is one in some way! I for sure am one revolving Big Brother haha, but don’t tell anyone that either please lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: