Technology

  • OTW Fannews: Writers of all stripes

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mittwoch, 19 March 2014 - 10:13pm
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    • Author Robert Jackson Bennett wrote about how to define fans and how that related to his role as a content creator. "I happened to meet a much more established writer than me...I brought up the sort of weird alienation I felt...I knew in my head that I was writing stuff for everyone, for all kinds of people, something that’s applicable to humanity in general rather than people like me, but it was still odd to see it right in front of me, these people I wasn’t like, and know that I was writing for them. He looked at me and said, 'That’s because they’re not you’re[sic] people. They’re not. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are.'"
    • ComplexTech posted an interview with author Clive Thompson, who may have some insight for Bennett. "[T]he cognitive benefits of the Internet require social work. That turns out to be a problem for the 10 percent of the population who regards social work with absolute horror...If you pie-chart them, a lot of the negative pieces about the Internet are written by novelists." However, he thinks some writers are the ones to watch. "[T]he world of fan fiction is the most technologically explosive thing I've ever seen in my life. Every single technology that has come along, fan fiction people have come along and colonized it and stress-tested it and found the most amazing things...If you're ever wondering about a future technology, just drop what you're doing and find out what fan fiction people are doing with it...whatever it is, it's the future."
    • Such discoveries aren't likely to come from fanfic-for-hire, as Amazon is commissioning authors to launch fandom lines. Orion Books Editor Jo Gledhill advised fanfic writers to know what makes them happy. "[D]ecide whether you actually do want to find a mainstream publisher! It’s not for everyone. If you love writing and you love the support network of fan fiction, don’t think of it as a stepping stone. It’s a huge community with millions of readers, you’ll get some fabulous advice and feedback as your writing develops."
    • Here & Now focused on the value of that network in a story about Harry Potter fan. "Esther Earl was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12, and died in 2010 shortly after her 16th birthday. But in that short time, she developed a network of friends through social media, blogging and YouTube videos. She was a devoted fan of the Harry Potter books and was an active member of the Harry Potter Alliance. At LeakyCon, a convention for Harry Potter enthusiasts, Esther met young adult author and vlogger John Green, who would become a friend. Green dedicated his best selling book “The Fault In Our Stars” to her and said that she was an inspiration for the novel."

    What stories and posts about fanfic writing have been important to you? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fandom milestones

    By Claudia Rebaza on Freitag, 14 March 2014 - 12:26am
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    Banner by dogtagsandsmut of a black & white highway with the OTW logo and ribbons across the post title of Fandom Milestones

    • On March 1, Three Patch Podcast released an episode with Development & Membership Chair, Kristen Murphy, as a guest. They discussed the formation of the OTW and the AO3's million fanwork milestone. Asked about the AO3's popularity she replied, "I think there are a lot of different factors that have helped it become popular. One is that a lot of people just like the features of the Archive, which is awesome! I think another factor is the way fandom has spread out to new platforms, some of which are not very conducive to posting fanworks. Like, if you mostly interact with other fans through Twitter, but you’re a fic writer, you’re going to need someplace other than Twitter to post your fic. There’s something really cool about the fact that fans are spread out in all these different places — Twitter and Tumblr and journals and forums — but there’s this place in the middle where so many of us come together to share our work." (No transcript available).
    • The OTW wasn't the only one celebrating a big milestone in February as Japan's online art community Pixiv passed 10,000,000 registered users. Crunchyroll reported on their celebration activities and listed the top tagged fandoms on the site.
    • RocketNews24 looked at how artists were responding to the gold medal won by figure skater Hanyū. "[F]ans are having fun making their own Photoshop creations including “Hyōjō no Prince-sama”(Prince-sama on Ice)."
    • The music group Emblem got some attention for promoting a fan's story about them on their Wattpad account which Just Jared dubbed 'official fan fiction.' "The guys – Wesley and Keaton Stromberg, and Drew Chadwick – each have their own stories written about them and will be updating it every week!"
    • As Vintage Books was announcing that Fifty Shades had passed the 100 million sales mark, Wired asked if a new publishing model was at hand when it comes to fanfic. "For decades, it was understood that fanzines and amateur press associations were where writers—particularly in genre fiction and comics—got their chops...It’s easy to argue 50 Shades of Grey is an outlier, that its success isn’t indicative of a larger trend. However, since its publication in 2011, the lines between literary and fan publishing have continued to blur."

    What fandom milestones have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Storytelling platforms

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sonntag, 9 March 2014 - 8:18pm
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    • While sites like Wattpad have already demonstrated a large, international reach among young fanfic writers, other companies keep trying to capture that market.
    • The Observer wrote about Movellas which is distinguishing itself by targeting literacy rather than community. "50% of respondents said Movellas had made them enjoy reading more; 70% enjoyed writing more. Importantly, 20% of its users get free school meals (about the national average). Only 25% are boys, which the founders are looking to change with boy-focused publisher promotions and a move into 'story games'...Maybe it's time to stop being sniffy about fan fiction."
    • One boy who came late to writing fanfiction is author Hugh Howey, who was interviewed by Pacific Standard Magazine about his Kindle Worlds experience. However, he's always appreciated it. "I’m...ready to turn 40—but I grew up in a generation of open-source projects and Wikipedia and collaborative programming and the blogosphere. The idea of collaborations seems very natural to me. I also grew up reading comics, where every comic book author is writing fan fiction." Discussing the history of storytelling he continues "It’s interesting that the people who consider themselves purists are really quite modern in their thinking, to think that the novel is an uneditable, uncollaborative work...They have it a bit backward...It’s the other way around."
    • BBC One created a documentary on Fan Armies that focused on Tumblr, saying "Through their fandom, fans are developing skills that will make them more employable in the future." These included not only writing but multimedia skills. "They're really good video editors...they're really good at photo editing." They're also good at promotion. "Even to build these fanpages and have thousands of followers is learning to market something and build something...they can go work for a company and build their social media profile because they know what they're doing and how to do it well." (Transcript not available)

    What stories have you come across about storytelling platforms? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Fannish connections

    By Claudia Rebaza on Dienstag, 11 February 2014 - 9:01pm
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    • Mina Kimes wrote in Slate about how critical football is in maintaining her relationship with her father. "My father still calls me almost every day when he’s driving home from work. We still talk about the news, and the weather, and the pain in his back, which has gotten a lot worse over the years. But mostly we talk about football. I tell him the rumors that I read on the Internet that day. We scoff at the ignoramuses who dare criticize our team—typically East Coast sports analysts—and praise the brilliance of our coach and general manager. We keep talking as I fiddle with my key, unlock the door, and trudge up the stairs."
    • The Hindu discussed the expansion of fandom from those close to home. "Before the Internet invaded our lives, trends and popular culture meant tidbits of information shared by friends and family members. Once a popular series ended, there was no platform to learn more about the characters, new plots etc. The Internet seems to have changed the manner in which we consume new trends of popular culture. From running promotions on social media websites to operating fan pages and Wikia pages on the net, fans are ensuring that the characters they adore live on forever on the Net."
    • Marketers are latching onto the word fan as a way to connect people emotionally to their brands. However, one group long acknowledged as fans are tech fans. The Verge took a long look inside the mind of a fanboy and explored the hostility emerging from brand loyalty. "Once somebody has acquired this level of arcane knowledge, there is absolutely nothing to do but share it with other fanboys. 'Among my close friends and family no one really operates at the same level as me,' says one high school Android hobbyist. Thus, fanboy culture takes place in the comments sections of tech news sites and YouTube."
    • Shadowlocked blogged about the marketing approach being used for The Muppets Movie. Saying the ads target multiple audiences, Calvin Peat explains, "[I]t's not as simple as a binary between fans and critics, as if you're either a fan or a critic; or even a continuum between fans and critics, as if you're somewhere along the line between being a fan and being a critic. Rather, it might be more accurate to consider two dimensions: from high-brow to low-brow, and from appreciation to excoriation."

    What personal or marketing connections have you seen in fandom? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Passing judgments

    By Claudia Rebaza on Donnerstag, 30 January 2014 - 9:13pm
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    • The visibility of fandom fights is a definite downside of social media. Stylecaster wrote about attacks on singer Lorde and dubbed it "extreme Internet fandom". "'The music and fashion industries nurture teens’ obsessions with one icon after another,' said Epstein—a professor of psychology at the University of the South Pacific...'No matter how competent teens are, we trap them with their peers 24/7 and don’t let them enter the adult world in any meaningful way. Many get frustrated or depressed or angry as a result, and they exercise power in any way they can. In recent years, social media has become a major power outlet for teens, even though it actually gets them nothing except a little attention. So when Lorde or anyone else for that matter trips up, or at least appears to trip up, they pounce in large numbers. It’s a pathetic way to demonstrate power.'"
    • Writer Ben Koo discusses how the toxicity of regional tribalism in college football sets fans against one another. "The power brokers of college football think they are onto something in nurturing a rising tide of friction, envy, and hate in the college football fan eco-system. Hate has long been an underrated tool for anyone looking to make people watch, care, and pick a side in sports."
    • At Kernel, writer Jack Flanagan manages to indict Japanese culture and fans alike. "[W]hen the internet and Japanese culture collide, these people have that haven to explore worlds far away from the suppressed ones they inhabit, for whatever reason. So, yes: it’s a shame for some that Japanese culture comes down to niknaks and samurai. But the strange and somewhat superficial interest in Japanese culture online is rooted in the need for solace."
    • The Atlantic hosted a spoilery article about the plot of Frozen. "Leslie Fielder...argued that the American novel is incapable of dealing with sex, and instead focuses on violence and death in a prolonged state of boyish immaturity. Yet he could have been writing about the state of American films today where violence gets more audience-friendly ratings than sex from the MPAA in a culture dominated by superhero franchises that are primarily aimed at boys...'We champion the culture of teenage boys every day—giving them all the comic book heroes, sports stars and porn any human could conceivably consume. Can’t we give teenage girls one thing without demonizing them?'”

    What judgments on fandoms and audiences have you seen? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Limiting distribution

    By Claudia Rebaza on Dienstag, 28 January 2014 - 10:56pm
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    • Australia's Junkee.com hosted a post by Dan Ilic who called for people to report on their copyright experiences. Similar to efforts going on in the EU, the Creationistas asked for citizens to tell their own stories. "[I]n Australia we have ‘Fair Dealing’ provisions...Under ‘fair dealing’, if you wanted to download the image and/or upload a new version of it, it would have to meet a few criteria: it would have to be for satire or parody, criticism or a review, used for legal advice, reporting the news, or created for educational purposes (arguably)." The Australian Digital Alliance, which is behind the Creationistas campaign is seeking to institute Fair Use similar to the U.S. model, which currently exists only in three other countries.
    • While not a copyright issue, the problem of closed networks and proprietary formats is another limitation for fans wanting to share content. For example, Business Insider discussed places to find free reading content. Although they mentioned fan fiction, they ended up plugging Amazon-directed content and no fanfiction archives, perhaps because they failed to mention any eReaders other than Kindles.
    • Similarly, the new app Penned is only for the iPhone. Designed for writing through mobile, the company targets include "novelist, poet, song-writer, fan fiction enthusiast, or blogger." But they are aware of fanfiction archives, saying "[Penned] is strategically positioned in between the more casual-post networks like Twitter & Facebook and longer form writing venues such as Fanfiction.net or publishing an eBook."

    What sharing restrictions to fanworks do you experience? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Numbers of fanworks

    By Claudia Rebaza on Sonntag, 26 January 2014 - 8:42pm
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    Banner by Erin of a close up of Harry Potter with his lightning scar turned into a rising line on a graph

    • A study of primarily gaming-related fanworks was posted on Gamasutra. The study "used empirical methods to investigate how contemporary user-generated content ('UGC') platforms and practices related to United States copyright law. The motivation for the project was the relative absence of data about the copyright status of most UGC and competing claims about UGC’s predominant nature."
    • The researchers interviewed both fans and game creators and found that "There is, apparently, not very much 'groupthink' among our industry respondents about questions of IP, fair use, and user-generated content." Many also really enjoyed User Generated Content. However, industry pros creating fanworks prior to becoming paid assumed that most game players are not like them. "25% agreed that 'UGC is appealing only to a minority of gamers.'" In fact, when gamers were asked "if they had ever created new content related to video games...70% stated that they had. They reported that they spent, on average, about 5 hours per week creating content related to video games."
    • The researchers compared activity by gamers to that of fans of other mediums, specifically Harry Potter story activity on Mugglenet and Fanfiction.net. "Though we were tempted to code for works that were parodies or that somehow altered the meaning of Harry Potter, we doubted that there would or should be a clear dividing line between infringing and non-infringing fan fiction practices."
    • Researchers also "asked respondents about the fair use doctrine in the United States. 91% were aware of the doctrine. We asked those respondents if they thought fair use rights should be broaden[sic], narrowed, or if they should remain the same...64% thought it should be broadened, 26% said it should be narrowed, and 10% had no opinion."
    • Wattpad also released numbers about fan activity. "The Wattpad community spent 87 million minutes each day reading and sharing stories from their phones and tablets last year. Readers also created more than 4.4 million story covers and YouTube trailers to support their favorite stories and writers on Wattpad." The site considers mobile access vital to their success, as "85 percent of time spent on Wattpad is via a phone or tablet. Half of the writers on Wattpad have written a story from a phone or tablet."

    What fandom studies have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Takedowns from all sides

    By Claudia Rebaza on Dienstag, 21 January 2014 - 7:39pm
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    • Forbes was one of many sites discussing YouTube's crackdown on fans who use video game footage to review or discuss games. "So at the same time as two major console makers are integrating video sharing into their systems, YouTube is cracking down on the video game community. Of course, YouTube’s response to this is vague and unhelpful...Now a number of video game publishers such as Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive and Capcom have stated publicly that people should fight the copyright claims, understanding full well the win-win situation for all involved."
    • On another front, booksellers are censoring erotica writers. "Some U.K.-based ebook retailers responded with public apologies, and WHSmith went so far as to shut down its website altogether, releasing a statement saying that it would reopen 'once all self-published eBooks have been removed and we are totally sure that there are no offending titles available.' The response in the U.S. was somewhat more muted, but most of the retailers mentioned in the piece, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, began quietly pulling hundreds of titles from their online shelves." The reasons why were never stated. "'I'd get an email from them saying, 'We found the following books in violation of our content guidelines,' she recalls. 'But they wouldn't tell me why. There were no specifics.'"
    • If copyright or censorship fears weren't enough, apparently the study of erotic fiction is being targeted by some government cost-cutters. "The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $914,000 to help fund The Popular Romance Project since 2010, an ongoing study that explores 'the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction.'...The grants are highlighted in the 2013 'Wastebook,' an annual report ...that highlights taxpayer-subsidized programs that...are questionable or unnecessary, especially during a time when lawmakers are viciously debating spending levels and how to trim the nation’s $17 trillion debt."
    • Meanwhile Slate's Future Tense blog looked at How Artificial Intelligence Might Monetize Fan Fiction. "A fan fiction writer e-publishes a story he wrote using the main characters, a vegan vampire who runs a butcher shop and a werewolf who turns into a plumber at full moon. His book sells millions of downloads, too. Did the fan fiction writer do anything prohibited by law? Not necessarily. As U.S. copyright law anticipates only human authors, it is reasonable to read it as providing no copyright protection to authors that are not human. The fan fiction writer can use the Super Potter Brothers characters as much as he wants; they’re in the public domain. Anyone can use them and make money from them, including the movie studios."

    What fandom takedown cases have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Home of the tech

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mittwoch, 8 January 2014 - 8:13pm
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    Banner by caitie of the OTW logo being lifted by multiple Twitter birds

    • Tech developers are taking note of people's interest in using all sorts of platforms for storytelling. AuthorBee is targeting those using Twitter clients (or AuthorBee's own web interface) "to create, co-create and curate rich, long-form stories with their followers." Targeting both professionals and amateurs the company states "'A story can really be anything...it can be breaking news, fan fiction or poetry. It can also be a travel log, a Haiku, a hip-hop song or a chocolate chip cookie recipe. What matters is the common interest or passion shared by the contributors.'"
    • Kik, on the other hand, took note of its existing users and decided to market to them. Digiday reported "Behold, the power of boyband fans": "'Kik mentioned that "One Direction" was one of the most discussed things on the app, so we brought that opportunity to Sony Music,' said Eytan Oren, director of partnerships at the IPG Media Lab." Noting that marketers need to pay attention to who is using what and how, another IPG spokesman said "You can’t be a professional and ignore where emerging channels are focused."
    • The New Republic explored the effect Netflix is having on television and the lifespan of entertainment products, concluding that it is following a fandom model. "When you meet someone with the same particular passions and sensibility, the sense of connection can be profound. Smaller communities of fans, forged from shared perspectives, offer a more genuine sense of belonging than a national identity born of geographical happenstance. Whether a future based fundamentally on fandom is superior in any objective sense is impossible to say...Certainly, a culture where niche supplants mass hews closer to the original vision of the Americas, of a new continent truly open to whatever diverse and eccentric groups showed up."

    How have you seen technology affecting fandom? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • OTW Fannews: Social media wins and losses

    By Claudia Rebaza on Mittwoch, 18 December 2013 - 5:01pm
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    Banner by Erin of the post title next to an image of Tom Hiddleston leaping from behind the Tumblr logo to nab the Twitter bird

    • With both fans and entertainment projects utilizing social media, it's important to understand the playing field. Mashable cited Dr.Who for knowing "How to Keep Secrets in a Social Media World" while The Guardian looked at Tom Hiddleston's publicity skills. "Hiddleston though doesn't seem to be going through the motions, which is why it works. Like Jennifer Lawrence, his is an unfiltered realness that is fast becoming the ultimate asset in post-Twitter, post-PR Hollywood."
    • Aside from celebrities utilizing social media to go straight to the audience, Mirror Online's use of a One Direction fan to write about 1D day will likely be one of many efforts to connect to fans' by utilizing their voices in published pieces.
    • Not Literally Productions used fandom's practices to create a parody version of Icona Pop's "I Don't Care," titled "I Ship It", and are offering the single for sale, moving from social media to commerce.
    • The Verge discussed how facilitating more connectivity among fans can backfire. Sony PlayStation 4's 'Playroom' allowed users to broadcast themselves to other gamers. "Sony was seen to be rushing to slam its ear to the ground, picking up current video-game trends without truly understanding them." As a result, "[t]he rise, rapid descent, and subsequent banning of The Playroom on Twitch is a lesson for Sony. Racing to be part of the fastest-growing subsection of the largest entertainment medium in the world is more difficult when the people who inhabit that space already are entrenched, and have their own specific ways of doing things. As for the worrying content: it may just be human nature that given a camera and a means to communicate, we'll do so in a way that is by turns ingenious and disturbing."

    What social media fandom trends have you been seeing? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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