Since the emergence of the Internet, it has been joined by many host of technologies that extend “both fandom and the prospects of engaging in fan activities into multiple pockets of everyday life. Blackberries, iPods, PSPs, laptops, PDAs, and cell phones all bring fan objects out with their users to the subway, the street and even the classroom” (Gray, Sandvoss & Harrington, 2007, p. 7). These changing communication technologies reflect the increasing of fan consumption in the structure of daily life. For instance, Gooch (2008) said the interactivity between fans has increase the creation of forums and blogs. Fans are able to participate more in multiple fandoms in online sites. These websites created more fan discussions that can be easily access to everyone. However, the problem arise when fans start to compete their knowledge to prove their existence within the fan communities and to be ‘authentic’ as much as possible.
Therefore, fandoms can no longer seen as utopian as asserted by Bacon-Smith (1992) that “the media fan community has no established hierarchy” (p. 41) but should be viewed as “a social hierarchy where fans share a common interest while also competing over fan knowledge, access to the object of fandom and status” (Hills, 2002, p. 46). Similarly, Pullen (2000) argued that the Internet has not eradicated fan conflicts over differing interpretations of their texts and “the Internet should not be assumed to have created utopian fan communities” and the Internet has not created fan communities as “a single, unified fan position or practice” (p. 60).
The discourse of power and hierarchy among fans as Tulloch (1995) noted that most senior and powerful fans ‘have discursive power’ to establish and control over the right reading. They also control the ways of fellow fans behave and react on certain texts so that the authenticity and norms of fandom remain stable. The ways in which fans can enforce a specific text has become more apparent in the Internet fandom, becomes almost similar to “subculture studied by the Birmingham school such as teddy boys, mods and rockers, bikers, skinheads, soccer hooligans and rastas” (Mitchell, 2003, p. 2) to perceived their identity.
We used two online sites to explain this phenomena; allkpop.com and koreaboo.com. Both are Korean-English entertainment news sites which fans can update the news from there. They are public sites where all people can access. We observed the conversations of fans in comment sections and picked random news updated from April 6 to April 16 2016 ***.
To recognize either the articles gave good or bad impressions to the readers, we used the emoticon sign to know how fans felt about the article posted.
In the comment sections, we can saw that fans are interacted with each other whenever the news came out. The comments were either from fans or haters. Fans are indicated as someone who knows a lot of that artists and put meaningful comments in that sites. They wrote supportive comments and gave right information if other fans have vague arguments. Fans who know a lot of knowledge also shared that knowledge in the comment section. Usually, fans are dominated and involved in the discussions, not the owner sites. They are defended their artists with the truth stories and right explanations. Fans are also shared their pleasurable onto the news, so-called ‘fangirling’. Basically, fans are maintained the harmony in that comment section.
Haters are also fans but probably she or he did not like that artists, thus put pointless comments to that sites which other fans found irritated. However, the term of ‘haters’ does not necessarily refer to those who gave negative feedback because there must be reasons for them to write. In allkpop.com articles, fans found irritated when the site kept posted about AOA’s Seolhyun and her beauty while fans claimed that Seolhyun is not too gorgeous as publicize. Here, it shows two situations; real haters who did not like the articles posted thus give irritated comments, and haters who found the article posted are lame because of the bias side from the sites.
As Giddens (1991) highlighted that identities are dynamics, changing and evolving. In this case, fans are constantly create and revise their identities in online space through their interest - on who are they like and hate. In online community, as Giddens (1991) said “we are, not what we are, but what we make of ourselves … what the individual becomes is dependent on the reconstructive endeavours in which she or he engages” (p. 75). Fans have options to determine their favourable and pleasurable based on what they consume in text, especially in flexible online medium which fans can freely create their identities either as a fan or hater.
We wish that online sites especially allkpop.com and koreaboo.com to publicize more Korean entertainment news and give more natural side because fans have the rights to know the truth of the news. Manse!
Allkpop.com. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.allkpop.com
Bacon-Smith, C. (1992). Enterprising women: Television fandom and the creation of popular myth.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age.
California: Stanford University Press
Gooch, B. (2008). The communication of fan culture: The impact of new media in science fiction
Gray, J., Sandvoss, C., & Harrington, C. L. (2007). Introduction: Why study fans?. In J. Gray,
C. Sandvoss, & C. L. Harrington (Eds.), Fandom: Identities and Communities In A Mediated
World (pp. 1-16). New York: New York University Press
Hills, M. (2002). Fan cultures. Florence, USA: Routledge
Koreaboo.com. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.koreaboo.com
Mitchell, T. (2003). Australia Hip-hop as a subculture. Youth Studies Australia, 22(2), 1-13
Pullen, K. (2000). I Love-Xena.com: Creating online fan communities. London: Arnold Publishers
Tulloch, J. (1995). We’re only a speck in the ocean: The fans as powerless elite. In J. Tulloch &
H. Jenkins (Eds.), Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek (pp. 143-172).