Week 7: Pokemon – Some research and analysis

Levels of Fans: Fiske’s tripartite model as an analytical tool

Emmanouloudis, A 2015, You Are Not Alone. The Emergence Of Fan Communities Around User-Generated Content:
A Comparative Analysis, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam

  • The simple fan: He/she views new content, reviews older, and regularly shares it with other people of his/her environment.
  • The enthusiast: An enthusiast not only mimics whatever his/her simple counterpart does, but takes it a step further with actions like subscription to a page or platform (e.g. YouTube) so as to never miss a beat, and also participates in forms of enunciative productivity like discussions, reading wikis focused on the subject or assembling collections of related merchandise.
  • The advantageous enthusiast: He/she is willing to pay the extra fares some websites require in order to have access to premium content.
  • The maker: Creator of new content. Members of this category have elements of the two previously mentioned categories (enthusiast and advantageous enthusiast), but take it a step further and gets their hands full with textual productivity.
  • The Leader: If a maker creates some content and publishes it, it is possible that other people will gather around formulating a new community, proclaiming the maker as the leader.
  • The Connector: A user that gathers all his followers, admirers and people that wanted to interact with him.
  • The passerby: passerby is someone that is not supportive of the specific franchise but will have a look at the content out of curiosity.
    Effects of Branding on consumer engagement

Manning, P 2010, The Semiotics of Brand, in Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 39, pp. 33 – 49

  • Pushed companies to embrace crowdsourcing and start including it in their strategies. User-generated content started to circulate online, communities began emerging around it.
  • how communities emerge around freely distributed, user-generated material on the Internet, what are their characteristics, and how platforms allow and encourage them to do so. Here fans can use a vast array of online tools to create, narrate and spread their content, and unite fans under their banner
  • Brands facilitate community building and bond strengthening, here produsage matters, as the community is strengthened by fan cultures.Building, shaping, spread and maintenance of online communities based around fan-made projects.
  • Dematerialization of the Brand: Because brand is thus everywhere, and yet nowhere, the phenomenon comes to be represented as an essentially immaterial form of mediation, a kind of globalized interdiscursivity, an indexical icon of the virtual nature of the global capitalist economy itself, which is often com- pared with virtual worlds on the Internet.
  • “a product is made in a factory: a brand is bought by a consumer, here the consumers adding a spiritual dimension to what used to be ‘merely a product. Creating a symbolic extension of a product.”
  • The ability of brands to gesture to diasporic, aspirational, or exotic elsewheres on the horizons of imaginative geographies of alterity.
  • Branding also involves the work of consumers, whose meaningful use of the purchased products invests these products with the consumer’s identity . . . .Put differently, the persons of consumers enhance the value of brands. (Foster 2005, p. 11)

Participatory Culture

Jenkins, H 2009, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:Media Education for the 21st Century. Massachusetts and London: The MIT Press
Jenkins, H 2006,  Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: NYU Press

  • Clay Shirky claims, the simplicity and rapidness of these tools have assisted group formations. Web as just a method of formation, spread and perseverance, users are making use of the tools that the Internet offers them. Participatory culture was the concept through which the Web promised “to nurture communities and connections.
  • Communities function in terms of organization, collaboration and authority.
  • YouTube and other video sharing platforms function like a digital bazaar, a parallelism first suggested by Müller (59). A place in which anyone tries to attract ‘customers’ (meaning viewers) to his/her own ‘merchandise’ (meaning content).
  • Diverse media system combining broadcasting with narrowcasting to niche audiences, and allows for the audience -the fandom- to connect, create content and distribute.
  • Consumption becomes production; reading becomes writing; spectator culture becomes participatory culture”
    The Pokémon Fandom

Vasquez, V 2003, What Pokémon Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy, Language Arts, vol 81, no. 2, pp. 118 – 125
Emmanouloudis, A 2015, You Are Not Alone. The Emergence Of Fan Communities Around User-Generated Content:
A Comparative Analysis, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam

  • “we are in a crisis of belonging, a population crisis, of who, what, when, and where. More and more people feel as though they do not belong. More and more people are seeking to belong, and more and more people are not counted as belonging.”
  • “Geographically isolated fans can feel much more connected to the fan community and home-ridden fans enjoy a new level of acceptance”
  • ‘culture of connectivity’: users, content and the technology available are constantly intertwining: for instance, users can shape content by making use of the technology available.
  • Very relevant to the aforementioned situation is a tension of a conflict between the ‘elitists’ and the ‘populists’ of fan creation. David Gauntlett supports that “creativity is something that is felt, not something that needs external expert verification”

User-generated content and Fandoms

Manifold, M.C. 2012, “From Amateur to Framauteur: Art Development of Adolescents and Young Adults Within an Interest-Based Community”, Studies in Art Education, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 37-53.

VANDERBILT J, 2010, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content , Journal of Entertainment and Tech Law, vol.10, no.3, pp. 729 – 761

  • Traces the history of fan communities and the copyright issues associated with fiction that borrows characters and settings that the fan-author did not create.
  • Here I will discusses established social norms within these communities that developed to deal with copyright issues, such as requirements for non-commercial use and attribution, and how these norms track to Creative Commons licenses.
  • Widespread use of these licenses, granting copyrighted works “some rights reserved” instead of “all rights reserved,” would allow copyright holders to give their consumers some creative freedom in creating transformative works, while maintaining the control needed to combat piracy.
  • I suggest a more immediate solution: copyright holders, in making decisions concerning copyright enforcement, should consider using the norms associated with established user-generated content communities as a framework for drawing a line between transformative work and piracy.
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