chapter  6
Pop Culture, Fans, and Social Media
ByFrancesca Coppa
Pages 17

Organized fandom both antedates and anticipates modern social media; that is, fans have been turning mass cultural events-like reading a story in a magazine, watching a television show, or listening to recorded music-into opportunities for group interaction and creativity long before the advent of today’s social networking tools. In the days before commercial services like Facebook, LiveJournal, Twitter, YouTube, and Myspace, fans invented their own tools for communicating and collaborating; in fact, fans built and maintained a vast array of social media tools and networks before there was even an internet. Today, fans continue to develop their own spaces, events, software, practices, rules, and communities within the context of Web 2.0, which, with its focus on “participation” and “interactivity,” seems both inspired by fan culture and to want to commodify it. While fans have been early and enthusiastic adopters of almost all forms of social media, adapting and altering them to fi t their communities, these tools may also pose a threat to fan culture by standardizing and commercializing it, seeing fans only as “users” and the wonderful history of creative fan activities as mere “usergenerated content.”