I am proud to be a ‘shipper’ – Online Fandoms

My own Pirates of The Caribbean Fandom Video

I have been obsessed with many fandoms ( a fan of a person, movie, object, etc…) since the age of nine. I actually recall my first fandom would be Titanic which I still have today. I then progressed at twelve to the normal teen girl fandom’s such as; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Green Day, Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean (still have today), Metallica and yes I will admit when the first movie came out I was obsessed with… Twilight.

To express my fan obsession in regards to my fandom movies and television shows I created YouTube videos. I would gather clips of my favorite couple or character and set the scenes to fit with music which I then uploaded on YouTube. This landed me the name of a vidder (someone that creates videos for YouTube) or a shipper (a person who makes videos about fandom couples).

Though I wonder is my online fandom participation effecting the franchise of my fandom at all? Pearson (2010) notes how lines are now being blurred between consumer and producers and how a new relationship has recently started between the franchises corporation and the fans which as Pearsons (2010) states has led to a new ‘form of cultural production’.  Fans are notorious for creating online content that stem from their fandom such as; Youtube videos, fanfiction, creating images or websites to a range of different media. Pearson’s notes how producers benefit from this content being made as they are indirectly ‘monetizing user- generated content for the purposes of promotion’. An example is fandom Youtube videos such as mine where individuals may watch these to discover what the movie/ show is about and then can often be influenced to watch the media depending if they like the video. Not only are fans engaging with their fandom by creating this content but they are also providing free promotion for their fandom.

However, fan creativity often undermines the shows official  extra media creations. Example provided in Pearson (2010) was the show BSG’s Showrunner created podcasts’ for each episode, therefore, creating an interpretation of the narrative. Fans were divided with many being outraged that they could not speculate on the narrative and believed that this limited their creative ability to make their own fandom media.

Though it is clear that not all producers acknowledge what fans are producing online as when the True Blood convention was held a fan asked the creator Alan Ball      ‘What the online community can do to ensure multiple seasons of “True Blood“‘(Krukowski 2009) where the producer replied “You want to know how to make this show last forever? Buy the DVDs.” (Krukowski 2009).

Thus fans enjoy engaging with their fandoms and many creators encourage this and use their creations for promotion or create a tweeter feature to further engage the fans. However, it is clear through Alan Ball’s statement  that all producers encourage or acknowledge the fans creations and efforts in the online fan community.

How do you engage with your fandom?

-Amy

References:

Pearson, R 2010, ‘Fandom in the Digital Era’, Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 84-95.

Krukowski, A 2009, ‘True Blood’s Farflung Fandom’, TelevisionWeek, vol. 28, no. 10, pp. 1-2.

 

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