The Empowered and Engaged Fandom : When the Good Turns Ugly
Fandom nowadays has never been been so empowered and engaged until now in supporting their favorite stars and celebrities. The invention and utilization of social media has made the connection right at the tip of one's fingers.In seconds cyberspace is filled with all sorts of messages, images and sounds, that the communication loop has now been reassessed. At the heart of it all remains the importance of our social conversation on sharing of what we know about the stars.
The social conversations that occur within our online commuities are through webbased interactive technologies. It goes even without saying that one has to have access to be counted otherwise one belongs to the digitally challenged. The social media now hotly used are Facebook,tweeter and other variations, blogs and websites. Many are lurkers and but not so many, comparatively speaking,post and leave comments. Those that leave their comments can use anonymity and pseudonyms to protect their identies.
Users of social media are basically searching, writing, uploading images and sound and chatting.These activities fall into 3 types: through our chats we have our everyday conversation on anything regardless of time and place,those measured ones when we vote for polls as in Mnet polls and when we answer surveys, and when we write articles,upload created fanarts and video and comment in blogs or websites.WE DON'T ONLY RECEIVE INFORMATION, BUT WE ARE ALSO CREATORS, PRODUCERS AND DISTRIBUTORS ON AND ABOUT CELEBRITIES.
Our gates to all the blogs, websites, tweets and variations are through the search engines which has the programs to monitor our activities -that is why Yahoo can award the most searched star or celebrity at the end of the year.
Fandom has been actively INVOLVED by being able to join the on going public discourse/debate on issues. Fans also want to contribute and to know the latest or even of historical facts and interpretations of events related to their celebrity. Fans also present arguments for or against for the purpose of molding the opinions of others. These activities are considered GOOD as they show there is an online audience, it is participative and the exchange means the fandom community is alive,kicking and well.
But it turns UGLY, when the social exchange becomes nasty as when name calling is resorted to, threats are made, malicious gossips and rumor mongering are used to malign a person, circulate fake personal documents and misinformation, photoshopped pictures destroying the image of a person and others. This has occurred in blogs and websites. There are also bad tweeting where it is utilized to badmouth a person and in turn results to tweet wars. In the image conscious SK, many gossips turned scandals have driven many personalities up against the wall or some even to their deaths. But there are also those who fight back and won their cases.
While psychologists have the opinion that there are some people seeking fame and notoriety by doing or delighting in creating mayhem,these people are mistaken if they think they are totally free to create havoc online. THERE ARE FILTERS IN PLACE. Note how blog administrators caution commentors to exercise courtesy or else be deleted or their comment box is shut down. There are also rules and reminders enforced in forums. These are called self-policing their ranks and in effect enforcing a CODE OF ONLINE ETHICS.
Of course, there are INTERNET MONITORING TECHNIQUES -anyone going online can be identified through their IP addresses. You have seen those in several fan blogs with a program locating the online visitor in a world map. Nice and colorful,isn't it ? But they know where you are physically based.It is also a way to know if a fan is using several aliases to circumvent trackers or to be able to make several comments. Another being monitored is the use of certain key words in email and online messages. Guess who uses these data? Be careful when you give personal information in online sites as they are also used to monitor movements, habits among others.Tweets are monitored by the police if there are complainants or someone has been misusing it, for creating nuisance or damage to persons. Online participants must be aware that the more they post /chat the more information is available for monitoring/tracking .
There are now cases in South Korea where the online abusers were tracked down and called in by the police. In other words, the person who suffered from online defamation of character have a recourse. Many crimes had been solved by tracking down calls and emails, as well as there are also persons wrongly accused using the same methods.
Communication informatics show us we live in a global village enmeshed with all our messages in all its forms for varied purposes including the celebration and enjoyment of our fanhood. Our Knowledge of everything has truly exploded,our stars have ceased to be distant,in fact we now have the so called distant intimacy with them.Due to the availability of information about them,we think we know them well.Our social dynamics towards each other has also dramatically changed for example creating online communities as we use the latest available media technologies. But in this highly networked world we find ourselves now has also become the world of caution. It makes us realize that the more there is to talk about and having instant exchanges available to us that there is really no such thing as bottomless, unlimited freedom of expression. At the same time it reminds us that we live in an environment where accountability is still important.
Gallant,Linda and Boone Gloria, Communicative Informatics, An Active and Creative Audience Framework in www.emersonacademia.
Thanks to my other internet sources.