According to Lucy Bennett (2004), fandom has been impacted by digital age in five ways: communication, creativity, knowledge, organisation and civic power. When it comes to my engagement, communication and knowledge are the most relevant. My main activity online is on social media, particularly Twitter more so than Facebook and Instagram, this is because twitter is more public and free to start connecting with band members, public figures and other fans as well as finding out new information on tours, releases and news on my favourite artists. For myself, this is my main use of digital fandom, rather than creating or making fan made creations.
The internet is an extension of fan/producer relationships, it allows for fans to connect with their idols, celeb crushes and identify themselves as however they want on a different platform to real life. As a fan of Drenge, it’s nice to tweet them photos of the gig I’ve just been to, or tweet them about something they’ve said whether that be online or at a gig or a previous time you met them to remind them in a more accessible way, where they are likely to see it.
In the past, I’ve created an online fan identity through multiple ways; username, profile photo, profile background as well as the obvious content that I share and who I interact with. For example, when I was younger it was more distinguished that I was a You Me At Six fan; on Twitter my username was “hazmeatsix”, my background and header was the band, I repeatedly tweeted them on my birthday to get a “happy birthday” tweet from them. This identity has shifted, my music taste has changed and the way I interact and portray myself has changed more to my offline identity as a fan of ‘indie’, being more part of the subculture rather than a fan of a band. It’s more about interaction with other fans of similar interests, arranging to meet up for gigs, it creates a sense of belonging and creates a community online and offline (Jenkins, H. 1992). An example of this is replying to the band, Slaves; when they tweet something funny or relatable, I’ll reply with a witty response to be seen in a more equal light to them; sharing interests and being the same ‘type’ of person rather than ‘just a fan’.
Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience (Jenkins, H. 2010). While my digital fan engagement is more about music and artists rather than a fictional story, this definition can still be useful here. Slaves integrate into branding rather than narrative to create more of an entertaining experience with the band and to feel more involved. They produce external work such as art which they sell and distribute solely online which also supports Bennett’s ‘knowledge’ category of easier/quicker distribution.
Bennett, L. (2004) Tracing Textual Poachers: Reflections of the development of fan studies and digital fandom in The Journal of Fandom Studies. Intellect
Jenkins, H. (1992) “Get a Life! Fans, Poachers, Nomads” in Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. London: Routledge
Jenkins, H. (2010) On anti-fans and paratexts: An interview with Jonathan Gray (part two) [Weblog]. Available at: http://henryjenkins.org/2010/03/on_anti-fans_and_paratexts_an_1.html (Accessed: 24 March 2017).