Fan, inc

Anne Gilbert
2014
Interactivity has become a hyped notion in industry and academic rhetoric, often as an idealized concept in which new pathways of feedback and non-professional production have the potential to reconfigure the relationship between industry and audience. While the implications of interactivity are widely discussed, its nuances are less so; this project, therefore, articulates a more complex perspective of how interactivity structures the experience of popular media. Interactivity frames how
more » ... ty frames how industry and audience construct the other's identity and their own, guides limitations and affordances for users, and provides models, restrictions, and incentives that function as protocols of behavior. In other words, interactivity is a means by which participants move beyond individual practices of production and consumption to become constituents in larger systems of meaning. This dissertation considers four sites at which industry interests and audience goals come into contact, which provide case studies of different modes of interactivity. Television Without Pity, a user-generated online viewing community turned corporate venture, illustrates interactivity as appropriation. Co-option is the dominant narrative of interactivity, presuming industry takeover of authentic audience engagement, and it is in contrast to this somewhat reductive narrative that other modes are situated. Social TV check-in apps represent interactivity as motivator, rewards and incentives designed to promote particular user viewing behaviors; San Diego Comic-Con is interactivity as incorporation, as an increasingly broad range of attendees are interpellated into an identity of "fan"; and Pottermore, an online Harry Potter experience, introduces interactivity as constraint, meant to model appropriate levels of participation and contain transgressive fan behavior. Through these cases, this project considers how sociality, community, work, and engagement operate through interactivity. Interactivity is not all "good," effective, or sustainable, and s [...]
doi:10.7282/t39885hg fatcat:lyazhppmobdspb5ycoggsgt2ga