Thursday, April 07, 2005

Fandom: Node or Network, Or Both?

Something that I was wondering yesterday during class, specifically during the discussion of the networks surrounding television shows, was the place of fandom within that network.

Fandom, for those who aren't quite as geeky as I am, refers broadly to all fans of a particular subject - but more specifically, it refers to those fans who are passionate enough to participate in some kind of forum dedicated to their favorite subject, and perhaps read or write fanfiction, or create or enjoy fanart. Early fandoms like Star Trek often were manifested in fanzines dedicated to the show, but these days a lot of the activity occurs online, in communities, forums, blogs, and websites.

I've been involved in online fandom in one way or another since about halfway through my undergraduate degree, and my experience indicates that it is definitely a network - and a very large one, if you consider Fandom an entity then made up of different and disparate fandoms, which are again networks in their own right.

I guess I'm wondering how the rest of you think fandom would fit into a network such as the t.v. example we discussed in class. I can see several possibilities, all of which are very messy.


Kevin said...

I'm beginning to think that networks can be driven by just about anything, so I definitely think fandom would fit the definition. The Internet makes the networking process much easier. For instance, people involved in the KISS Army can discuss their new platform boots in a chat room rather than having to travel to a concert or KISS convention.

Linda said...

I mentioned this once before, but my step daughter is a Star Trek fan and met her current friends online. They all moved to Colorado together, so fandom turned into a geographic relocation. I guess they are a trekkie node there, though they are all now homesick and thinking about moving back here. She said recently that her new friends are "different" than they were online. She is now making new cyber friends in a trekkie chatroom. don't know where this will all end or if this new trekkie node will last.