Sunday, December 2, 2007

Profiles as Fanfiction

For my paper, I would like to link fandom to social networking. Fandoms seems to act as online spaces and networks for the relationships fans have to their TV shows, films, etc. Social networking sites seem to act as online spaces for the relationships people have to other people. The question I want to address in my paper is how these two online spaces are related. Are all the texts for Star Trek linked—do they create a social network for the fans behind the texts (or interacting with the texts)? Do the fan videos for Battlestar Galactica have a link to the fan videos for Smallville, and through this create part of a network for all fandom? How are the profiles that each person creates on a social network similar to fanfiction? What is omitted, built up, “fictionalized” in the profiles to make them “fanfictions” of one’s self? How do people’s interactions with other people’s profiles relate to the way fans interact with other fans’ texts?
In the same way fandoms can rise around other fans’ texts, networks can rise around other people’s profiles. Think about mySpace profiles that are very popular—some of these profiles have huge fan networks (Tila Tequila is a good example). How does Tila, for instance, move from a profile on a social network to an object many people are fans of? How does this relate to fandom? Can the fans of Tila be considered part of a fandom? How do Granovetter’s idea of weak and strong ties fit into fandoms?
The texts I want to look at primarily are “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy” by Tiziana Terranova, “In the Realm of Uncertainty: The Global Village and Capitalist Postmodernity” by Ien Ang, and “The Strength of Weak Ties” by Mark Granovetter. I plan to discuss how fandoms are social networks (perhaps using LiveJournal as an example), how profiles are fanfictions, and how they can intersect (perhaps using Tila Tequila as an example). These networks relate to the glocal by either localizing a more global concept (as in the case of fandoms) or by making the local more global (as in the case of social networks). I will be discussing how these two intersect throughout my paper.

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