Hi guys welcome back to my blog!
Unfortunately today would be my last blog post for 3p18. I really had fun writing this blogs, its so sad to say that I am almost done with this class.
Throughout this semester we have been talking a lot about audience. However, in toddy’s blog post I want to focus on fans (you and I). I am sure we are all part of a fan base, it could literally be anything you can think of: books, food, television shows, fashion, cartoons, comedy, school whatsoever. Being part of a fan base has become a huge part of our life that sometimes we do not realize how influence the media have on our lives. Sullivan (2013) defines a fan as audiences who are deeply engaged in their favorite media texts. Fans often reinterpret media content and create their own cultural productions in response” (pg. 193).
In today’s blog I would focus on “fans” and how they can come together and create fandoms who will eventually crate and reproduce contents that they like. With that being said let us move into the discussion.
Why do we study fans? Well I am sure you know this answer; without fans they will be no television programs, books, music etc. This is because no one will pay attention to the content and keep coming back for more. I am a fan of so many things, but for the purpose of today’s blog I am going to focus on my favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy. This show have been around for over 12 years with 14 episodes. The show is about aspiring surgeons who will eventually go through an emotional roller coaster. Greys anatomy is a show that will be considered by most to be “over dramatic” ‘too extra” or anything cliché you could think about. This over dramatic scenes are exactly what makes it so much fun and interesting to watch. According to Sullivan (2013) “fans who outwardly and proudly claim their affiliation with their favorite pop culture texts, particularly when those media are generally considered to be ‘fluff’ or mindless distractions from reality be challenging the status quo through their activities: (pg. 196)
Being a fan of Greys anatomy allows me to challenge my status quo because a typical person will say the show is too cliché (which is what most of my friends say after season one) but that doesn’t stop me from being a devoted fan. The difference between watching a television show and becoming a fan lies with the intensity of the emotional and intellectual involvement (Sullivan, 2013). Being a fan of something means that you are an active audience member, this is because you are constantly paying attention to the screen, trying to relate it to your life. According to Sullivan (2013) rituals consists of your regular activities. Watching Greys anatomy every other Thursday has become a ritual for me.
Fandom( AKA boss fans)
Fandoms are community made up of fans that come together for a particular media text (Sullivan, 2013). The first episode of Greys anatomy aired in 2005. This means that they where little to no word containing fandom of the show. Today, on the other hand with existing platforms such as Instagram, twitter and YouTube, fandoms are free to connect to connect with the conversations regarding the show. Fan groups are active and participatory in the media environment, but only after they had already been consumers (Booth,2015). Flashback to 2014, Isaiah Washington who played Dr. Preston Burke on greys anatomy retuned back to the show after being kicked out of the show in 2007.
The fandom of the show including myself was completely disgusted because of his Homophobic comment regarding another actor in the show. Hours
after his return episode fans flooded twitter with reject tweets asking the producers to remove him from the show. He was eventually taken out of the show for good because of all the negative fan reactions. To an extent, the fans opinion on social media was indeed heard. Twitter is indeed a powerful tool, and from what we learnt in lecture , audiences hold power. As fans, we have the power to create information, we have the power to create information, products and services that was once only possible to be made by media organizations (Sullivan, 2013).
Before lecture, of course I had no idea what crowdfunding was. Crowdfunding, is the financing of projects using social and other online media, It provides a contemporary avenue for exploring the interaction between users and digital culture (Booth,2015). As a fan of Greys anatomy I have defiantly participated in crowd funding. Thank God for technology, I remember going to their website four years ago after watching a particular episode. I loved how the show always started with this quote “it is a beautiful day to save lives” .I typed the quote on Google and it directed me to their website store where I could purchase merchandise that had that quote on it. I purchased a T-shirt for myself and my roommate Hillary. Although this was not a direct campaign asking the fans for money to fund the production of the show, to an extent I think my $30 dollars supported the show. (don’t judge me).
Fan Fiction (Fan fic)
Fan fiction are stories created by fans about their favorite media text. What use to be paper and ink connection has now been supplemented by the internet which allows fandoms and fans to come together and create blogs, hashtags, tweets etc. to get their fill of the media text (Sullivan, 2013). since the death of one of the main characters (Derek Sheppard), the most widely written type of fan fiction for Greys anatomy is emotional intensification. Emotional intensification explore psychological motivations of main characters, focusing on moment of crisis; “hurt-comfort stories (Sullivan, 2013). After the death of Derek, Meredith (his wife) was comforted with her finding out that she was pregnant for her husband (Derek). Although it was a moment of crisis and hurt there was still a comfort in her pain.
Interactive Fans and Prosumers
In this new age of technology we now have the sense of participatory culture. Today, with the invention of the internet, people are now interconnected with servers that are continually exchanging data, they create a platform for users to pass information to one another (Sullivan, 2013). We now see people sharing YouTube videos, vines, tweets, factbook etc. The new age of technology have helped create what Sullivan calls participatory culture. Participatory culture is where fans and other consumers are invited to actively participate in the creation and circulation of a new content (Sullivan,2013). This participatory culture led to the invention of prosumer. Prosumer is a producer and consumer, divorced by the Industrial Revolution, are reunited in the cycle of creation, with the customer contributing not just the money but market and design information vital for the production process” (Toffler, 1990).
In this clip, the fan made a reaction to the 300th episode of Greys anatomy. This was a big milestone for all the Greys fan. This video is an example of people creating their own content based on the original material. As fans in the a post audience age, we are no longer understood as audience members because we are storing, making and distributing content (Sullivan ,2013).
Conclusion (goodbye time)
As fans and audience in the digital age, we have more access to different types of media compared to the past. Fandom members can now interact with each other their content. I am so excited to be a part of this generation, it is an exciting moment to be alive as a fan member. Although not all fans are part of the participatory culture but to an extent we are all part of a Fan base or Fandom. Think about when you watch your favorite show, or read your favorite book; wanting to know more about the book or show is you being part of a fandom. I hope after reading this blog “if” you are not already a fan of Grey anatomy, I hope I motivated you a tiny bit to go watch the “best show in the world”.
Booth, P. (2015). Crowdfunding: A Spimatic application of digital fandom. New Media & Society, 17(2), 149-166. doi:10.1177/1461444814558907
Sullivan, John. (2013). Media Audiences: Effects, Users, institutions and Power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.