Fans in the Digital Age

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.  sad face

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.

FANS 

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)

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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.

burkeThe fandom of the show including myself was completely  disgusted because of his Homophobic comment regarding another actor in the show. Hours 

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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).  

Crowdfunding 

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” .gretyyI 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”.

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REFERENCE

Booth, P. (2015). Crowdfunding: A Spimatic application of digital fandom. New Media & Society17(2), 149-166. doi:10.1177/1461444814558907

Sullivan, John. (2013). Media Audiences: Effects, Users, institutions and Power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

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Blog post 2.2 Leisure, does that actually exist ?????

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During this years thanksgiving, I sadly could not go home because home is far away. However, my friends and I had our little thanksgiving in my room. We ordered pizza, wings and a large bottle of pop. My friend Hillary, tells the craziest story you have ever heard. She loves to talk a lot. We spent the entire thanksgiving eating and listening to her stories. This got me thinking of how Hillary, has made me a part of an audience. Her stories always capture my attention, not only me but everyone around her.

After hours of listening to Hillary’s stories, we decided to watch the new episode of Greys Anatomy that was airing on CTV. However, watching this show, I noticed like five ads running every ten minutes or less. This Ads are directed to us as audience based on the choice of movie we watch. Advertisers pay attention to audience demographic such as age, gender income to come up with the list of ads that suits us. Target marketing is a tool used my marketing companies to segment audience (Sullivan, 2013). Target marketing is the use of personality or psychological traits based on what we watch.

“Blindspot debate” argues that no matter the reason for consuming media is, the real value behind audience is the viewership (Sullivan, 2013). Consumers like my friends and I, are used as products for media conglomerates, which can later be sold to advertising companies. This companies use our ratings to decide on what product to produce, what package size, how to price a product and how to effectively distribute a product (Buzzard, 2015). What I really want you to learn from this post is that audience members, even when we are at our leisure time, are performing some sort of labour for media companies by gaining knowledge of the product, Tv shows and many other things through advertisement (Sullivan, 2013). Think about it, my friends and I were just watching Greys anatomy to pass time, but we ended up doing work for advertising companies. They now understand how to better reach us as audience members. Do not get me wrong we enjoy the drama in Grey anatomy but the AD about the new iPhone X got us thinking

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In conclusion, our leisure time isn’t all so relaxing anymore. As an audience member, no matter what we do or where we are, we are actively or passively consuming some sort of media. Think about the ads you see on the bus/bus stop while coming to school.

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References

Buzzard, K. S. (2015). The Rise of Market Information Regimes and the Historical Development of Audience Ratings. Historical Journal Of Film, Radio And Television, (3), 511.

Sullivan, John. (2013). Media Audiences: Effects, Users, institutions and Power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

 

 

 

 

Blog post 2.1 – SNAPCHAT AND GRATIFICATION

Hi guys,  welcome back to another exciting blog!!!!!!!!!!

My mum always complained about how I use social media and technology. I remember when I was in high school, she had a strict rule in the house. Every day, before bed time I had to hand in my phone and laptop. I did almost everything on my laptop and phone,  these included my diary, taking pictures, listening to music and so many more. However, my mum did not understand how my life revolved around these technologies. This is partly due to digital era emergence and the creation of accessibility to different media outlets available to everyone. For my mum, newspaper, radio and television were once the main source of media consumption. However, we have seen the popularity of computers, smartphones and tablets take over the old mediums to gain and share information, education and entertainment. How does these new technologies affect the society? In today’s blog, I will try to answer this question by using the theory “Uses and Gratification”. I will talk about the significance of snapchat platforms and the consequences of using the platform.

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When I left home, for university my addiction for technology grew stronger. This was mostly because I did not have my mum telling me how to use my phone or computer. Slowly I started moving from just taking random pictures on my phone, and writing my journals to social media. I strongly believe that I am addicted to snapchat (do not judge me). To me snapchat is the ultimate social media tool. We share our lives with family and friends to get feedback, but without the necessity of it being stored. Compared to Facebook, snapchat answers the “what are you doing right now question”. I know you are not really interested in my rambling so let me go straight to the point…. gratification and snapchat? In my next paragraph, I will be talking about the five basic assumptions of uses and gratifications approach mentioned in (Sullivan, 2013, p. 21) and how they agree with snapchat user experience.

The first assumption is that audience “are considered active and media use is directed towards particular goals of the audience” (Sullivan, 2013). A snapchat user like myself is considered active in the sense that I create and produce my own content. I choose who I want to view my snap. I can also send a snap or video to anyone I want. Snapchat is a chain where I send and receive message. This quote also agrees with this assumption “internet users are so active that we rarely refer to them as audience. Instead we call them users (Sunder & Limperos, 2013).

The second assumption is that” individual select a particular need in other to satisfy a particular desire” (Sullivan, 2013). I personally use Facebook to connect with my mum. Facebook may be a way to share picture and chat with my mum, but I still switch to snapchat when I want to share physical bond with my siblings. Therefore, snap chat satisfies my need to create physical connection with my siblings and friends. This quote also agrees with this assumption “gratification are borne out of innate need” (Sunder & Limperos, 2013).

The third assumption is that “mass media competes with other sources for the need of satisfaction” (Sullivan, 2013). Comparing snap chat to Facebook, Facebook has more users compared to snapchat. Snapchat is used by audience ranging from age 13-24 (Lista, 2016). Young users like me rely on snapchat because we do not only send and receive message from our friends and family, we catch up on celebrity gossip and news as well. Snapchat can compete with other social networks such as Facebook because of all the features it incorporates.

The fourth assumption is that “we are aware of our own individual needs and motivation in selecting certain media and are able to report our needs accurately to media researchers when asked” (Sullivan, 2013). For example,  the need to create my own content that I can share among my friends. The last assumption is that “gratification does not make judgments about people’s media choice. Instead they try to understand audience orientation to certain media” (Sullivan, 2013).

According to Katz, Haas (1973), there are 5 specific needs that can be satisfied while using snap chat

  1. Cognitive need: this need relates to the information, knowledge understanding I would receive.  For example, the celebrity gossip and global news I mentioned earlier.
  2. Affective needs: needs related to aesthetic, pleasurable and emotional experience I will receive. Example, watching snaps of people from different places in the world makes me want to go there.
  3. Integrative needs: these needs relate to credibility, confidence, stability and status I would receive. Example, the more views you get on snapchat the more integrative you can be in the eyes of others.
  4. Social needs: these needs relate to contact with family, friends and the world. Example, my beautiful siblings.
  5. Escape: these needs relate to escape from reality to help ease tension. This need is met because when I get stress from school work, I watch snaps to escape from the reality of doing my assignment                                                                                                                                                  MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDSMaslowrYou are probably wondering why is Chloe mentioning this? How does it relate to snapchat? Don’t worry I got you! Maslow’s hierarchy of needs talks about our psychological drives which are the basic needs such as food water and shelter (Sullivan, 2013, p. 115). Once those needs are met we tend to seek for more. The next need we seek for is safety needs. This include security, stability, dependency and protection. After that, we move to love/belonging. this include relationship, family, friends and love. The next level is esteem level, this is the desire for self-respect, confidence, prestige and achievement. Lastly, we look for self-actualization needs. This is just your personal desire for self-fulfillment. Maslow’s hierarchy needs can be met with snapchat. Safely DIY gadgets, some of us find boyfriends, girlfriends and best friends on snapchat. Me personally I watch people snap that help boost my self-esteem and which I believe will eventually lead me to self-actualization one day.In conclusion, some of you may think I am crazy for using snapchat so much, but think about how snapchat helps you fulfill all your needs. For you snapchat may not be your gratification. It may be Facebook, TV shows, reality shows, news, or anything that fulfills our social and psychological needs.

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REFRENCES

Katz, E., Blumer, J.G  & Gurevitch, M. (1974). utilization of mass communications by individual. The uses of mass communications: current perspectives on gratifications research(19-32). Beverly Hills, CA; sage.

Litsa, Tereza. (2016). Facebook vs Snapchat: which is better channel for your brand?

Sullivan, John. (2013). Media Audiences: Effects, Users, institutions and Power. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publications.

Sundar, S. S., & Limperos, A. M. (2013). Uses and grats 2.0: new gratifications for new media. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, (4). 504

Blog Post 1 AUDIENCE?

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           What comes to your mind when you think about the word audience? Different people have different interpretation for the term. In class we defined an audience ” as the act or state of hearing; it could be formal or informal; an opportunity to be heard; a group of listeners or spectators; a reading or viewing, or listening to the public” (Good, 2017). To me an audience is anyone, whether it could be one person or a large group of people, devoting their attention to someone or something through the means of listening, observing and communicating. Did you know that when you attend a lecture you are part of an audience?
            In the past 60 years, the influence of mediated personalities on audiences has substantially increased (Brown, 2015). This can align anywhere from the Iconic Marilyn Monroe, to the most recent, famous Kardashians. What we see happening is that, people get so attached to these “personae” that it is becoming a sociocultural norm to put a god like status on these people. The power that they hold, can influence, reinforce, and promote values and beliefs, both positive and negative, to social audiences across socioeconomic, geographic, and national boundaries, (brown, and 2015).   congratulation_smooch_cards-r5364334ceadd407a9902c649813cfb86_xvuat_8byvr_512
             If you have made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS! We have just gotten to the fun part of the blog. I say this because we are all involved or guilty of what I am about to talk about. There are four ways to which audiences become engaged and engrossed with and by the media personae. Before all the fun stuff, let me start by defining personae. Horton and Wohl (1956) used the term “personae” to refer to the television personalities with whom viewers related to. Webster dictionary defined “Personae” as the way you talk or behave that cause them to see to see you as a particular kind person.
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The picture below is Kahlan Amnell, from the TV show “Legend of the Seeker”. She constantly has an effect on me whenever I watch the show. I find that her tendencies and ideas are similar to what I want to be or who I believe I am. She is a strong, intelligent and powerful leader. She is a survivor and fighter. She constantly makes sacrifices to protect the people she loves and pursues everything she wants in life. A personae can be a real or fictional character interacting through any kind of mediated interaction. Even though Kahlan does not exist in real life, she represent the whole idea of personae. This is how audiences interact with the character. The part they play, often as role models, gets you more involved with the show.
Now that we know what personae is in some form of depth, Let is move on to the four process in which audience become more involved with a show and its characters. I will discuss from the least involved audience to the most involved audience.
TRANSPORTATION (TAKE ME ALONG)
              Have you ever watched a movie where you feel like you are being transported by the story? You watch the characters grow (more like family/best friends). You imagine yourself in the same scenario as the characters giving you more reasons to enjoy the show. If you are check listing most of these points, basically you’ve been transported by media. During transportation audience become emotionally and psychologically involved in both the story and with the characters in the story, audience often imagine themselves in the presence of the personae (Brown, 2015).
friends-cast-zoom-fdab19fd-2e49-4353-8dc4-0a5d5dd5a537A show I can think about that transported their audience through its story is “Friends”. If you have ever seen friends I am sure you feel the same way. Whenever I watch friends I imagine myself having friends like the characters from the show. I will not exactly do what did characters did though. I just wanted to hang out with my best friends all day, share secrets and watch our favourite shows together just like the characters from friends. In the show, we watch the characters fail to succeed and not just on relationship but on their jobs and careers. We watched them grow from their 20s to their happily ever after endings.
PARASOCIAL INTERACTION (I LOVE YOU)
This one is real!!!! No matter how you try too deny it, we have all been there. This is when we create relationship with a character of our choice. Involving yourself in a one way relationship. This character/person might not even know you exist. Remember when you are watching your favourite TV show or movie and how you keep saying “this is so me, I feel like we are best friends” however, this character might not even be real. Now that I have called you out, I will tell you how I am guilty.
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Shonda Rhimes!!!!! You really tried it. If you watch “Greys Anatomy” religiously like me, you would defiantly relate. Remember Derek Sheppard AKA Mc Dreamy. I always taught he was my husband (my person). I felt like Meredith was ungrateful and did not deserve him because he was too good for her.  Anyways, when Derek died, my heart could not take it! It hurt so badly like I just lost my real husband. I actually stopped watching the show for a little while because I was so angry at writer/ producers for killing the love of my life. It might not be a movie/Tv show for everyone but think about your favourite athlete, celebrities, talk shows, and how we have formed a parasocial relationship with this people they might have never heard of our existence.
IDENTIFICATION (I WANT TO BE YOU)
Identification involves the internalization of the behaviours, beliefs and values of the object/ person that we see on the screen (Brown, 2015). Basically, identification is kind of related to parasocial. I say this because we get influenced by the people that we have never met, or had a real life conversation with. As media consumers, we out ourselves in the shoes of the characters, causing us to feel what they feel, adopting their goals and allowing us to have the same lives like them. Once a viewer identify with a character it is easier for them to start thinking and behaving like the personae. KahlanFor me this happened a long time ago, while I was watching “Legend of The Seeker”. I always wanted to be Kahlan the mother confessor. I remember wrapping my hands around the necks of my classmates and started asking them to confess/tell the truth. For a while, I felt like I had supernatural powers and I could make anyone do what I wanted. c65cc9fb780e9a568fbeff94db3357e0.jpg
This can also be tied back to the disturbing Kylie Jenner lip challenge that went viral on the internet. Teens were blowing up their lips with cups and shot glass to get the supposed Kylie lips. They did this because they taught they could adopt her characteristics, in this case emulate her lips.
WORSHIP (gODESSS)
Yeaassss!!! This is the highest audience involvement process. Worship is extremely popular with celebrities. This is when the audience member idolize a celebrity personae to a point when it looks like they worship them. They treat them like a mini god, this people actually have a say in the audience members life (Brown, 2015). This is an unhealthy type of interaction between an audience member and a personae.
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. An example, is the “Rihanna Navy” they are known to attack people on social media if they say or do anything to hurt their queen. Just because she makes good music does not mean she needs to be seen as a god. People really need to relax on this one. It might be a little bit too extreme.
              In conclusion, transportation, parasocial interaction, identification and worship all fit into each other. The relation just depends on the audience member involvement. Hopefully, I was able to dissect what an audience is to you, and ways that audience get involved with the media that they consume. And finally, hope you could all relate with my real life example, it could be different for everybody, but hopefully I was able to pass a point out to my readers AKA audience.
Adios guys, thanks for reading all this. See you next time!
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References

Brown, W.J. (2015). Examining four processes of Audience involvement with media personae: Transportation, Parasocial Interaction, Idenfication and worship. Communication theory (3),259.

Horton, D,& Wohl,R.R, (1956). Mass communication and parasocial interaction: observations on intimacy at a distance.