Archive for May 19th, 2010

May 19, 2010 Meeting Notes

Posted by Laura on Wednesday, 19 May, 2010

Research Question: What are the demographic, geographic and social characteristics of online AFL fandom and the implication of these for AFL clubs?

Tasks for June 2, 2010: Remember that not meeting next week: Next meeting is two weeks from the 19th. Work on Review of Literature.  Think about Methodology. Create a semi-structured survey questions for interview.  Update the About page on OzzieSport.  Publish paper about the Melbourne Storm controversy on OzzieSport.

Ongoing tasks: Check the media pages from The Australian to see what they have to say about social media and online activities in Australia.

Keep a list of material I am reading related to sports and social media both online and off.

Paper notes and tasks: The order of writing should ideally be something as follows:

  • Write half the review of literature.
  • Write methodology.
  • Write individual chapters about specific aspects of online activity or about specific sites.  Publish individual chapters as unique chapters.  Develop additional sources for the review of literature.
  • Complete the review of literature.

Some of this is because a lot of the work being done is very in the moment and time sensitive.  The best thing that may come out of this paper isn’t the results themselves but the establishing of a methodology that other academics and sports leagues, teams and organizations can use to further their own knowledge.  In the case of the AFL, the results may also be useful in terms of setting measurable benchmarks, which they can use in the future.

Other conversations: Discussion about the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders:

  • Attempt to figure out what to do with my paper.  Should it be published online?  The paper is very time sensitive.  Should a more formal outlet for publishing it be sought?  Will be published on OzzieSport by the end of the week.
  • What can other teams learn from the Melbourne Storm controversy?  Better yet, how did other fanbases respond to the controversy?  Given the behavior of Canberra Raiders fans described in the Canberra Times after the team played the Melbourne Storm, it seems probable that the controversy strengthened the team’s fan base: Fans felt the need to reaffirm their attachment to a team that is not connected to cheaters.  Some evidence of this may be seen on Twitter, where the Raiders saw the next highest growth in percentage of new total followers.

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Online sports fandom news reading list

Posted by Laura on Wednesday, 19 May, 2010

I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading about sports lately, both online and off.  A lot of what I’m reading online isn’t necessarily relevant to the research that I’m doing about sports and social media.  Still, a lot of it is interesting nonetheless and I thought I would provide a list of stories I’ve come across recently

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Perspective on defining fandom…

Posted by Laura on Wednesday, 19 May, 2010

One of the major issues with the research I will be conducting is going to be definitions of word like fandom.   Given my experience with Fan History, I’ve pretty much internalized a definition of fandom and how to research fandom.  Rather than restate it, I’m just going to copy and paste the relevant section from Fan History.

Fandom Definition and Approach

Fan History defines fandom as a collection of different cultures. These cultures are dependent on the communities created based on the source of the fannishness, the canon that a community has adopted. This philosophy underlines the whole of the wiki. This approach is categorically different than most of the research being done on fandom, which focuses on fandom as an extension of the source. Fan History rarely focuses on the product that was created by fans, but on fans themselves.

This approach to fandom is used on Fan History as the maintainer and creator of the Fan History comes from an educational, historical and interdisciplinary approach to fandom studies. The maintainer has Masters of Education in Instructional Technology. Her exposure to feminist and literary approaches to critique fandom are thus limited. Educational research tends to focus on different population groups. The characteristics of the population are defined. They are then sorted into subpopulations based on their differences. The subpopulations are then evaluated, compared back to the larger population and conclusions are drawn. Education puts an emphasis on highlighting differences and puts tremendous value into defining those differences. This is not the case in other disciplines.

One example where this is most clear is in defining fan fiction communities. A literary, sociological and communications approach would define fan fiction based on Star Trek and Good Charlotte as fundamentally the same because both types of fan fiction include stories derived from other sources. These groups would then be subdivided into Media fan fiction and Real Person Fan Fiction. The difference is based on the source of the material for which the fannish texts are derived. Fan History, because of the educational perspective, defines the communities differently, based on the culture around which the fans are creating their products, the demographic composition of each group and the histories of each population. The boundaries of Media fan fiction and Real Person Fic are viewed as artificially imposed and do not necessarily reflect real differences in the communities. Fan History would argue that while they are both writing fan fiction, Good Charlotte fans are not similar to Star Trek fans because of demographic and historical differences in their communities.

Documenting History

Fan History is about preserving, documenting and writing fandom history. To this end, Fan History:

  • Does not have a requirement for article notability.
    • The belief is that all the little details help to give a complete and more accurate picture of what is going on and what went on in fandom.
    • The belief is intentionally excluding information can be seen as assigning value statements to fandom. As a history wiki focused primarily on documenting history, we don’t feel that is our place to do that. It is the place of others.
    • The belief is if minor information becomes too tedious, segments can be moved to other pages to tell histories of subfandom in larger fandom communities. Example: Premiere dates are found on many fandom pages. They include international dates for release. If this information becomes too much, it can be moved to another page: Angel movie premiere date for Germany and other German X-Men fandom info can be moved from the X-Men page to a page called Angel fandom in Germany.
    • The belief is that little examples of activity can later be written into a more prose type article which can contextualize those events, to make them appear less random. Those little details might be emblematic of bigger trends that won’t be visible until you have a whole lot of them.

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