This practicum project has been a great learning experience. I’ve discovered quite a bit about the workings of forums, and observed quite a bit of interaction between individuals.
Users can create their own identity. Can progress through levels (earning new titles with level of engagement). They can create a community base by adding other users to their friend lists. The forum allows for sharing of resources, ideas, opinions, correcting misconceptions. They allow for conversation outside of the specified topic (Ex: Dr Who).
These forums can create a sense of community for sharing and learning and creating a home away from home. But, that only counts for people who actively seek a second family. For those people who use the forum for updates and information, or infrequently, these forums do not create the sense of identity or community that it would for those who truly delve into the cyber world.
For myself, I do not feel the sense of attachment or connection that would draw me towards this forum again and again, as it does for some users who post daily/biweekly.
Although, some users posted some really cool peer production content : videos of mash ups and updates on series news. It was cool to see the user created stuff, and convenient to find the news I wouldn’t have normally sought out.
Well, in observing my community of Dr Who fans at the SyFy.com forum, I’ve gotten to understand a bit of the etiquette, how one identifies themselves within the website and with others, and been able to observe a lot of interactions amongst these members.
Members tend to have relationships with one another. These members are more engaged, having posted often and frequently for a long period of time. They grow relationships, I assume, from their extreme active engagement. By clicking on one’s screen name, anyone can view their biography, their ‘status updates’ similar to those on Facebook, conversational topics they have started, as well as the history of their posts made. On the sidebar, more information about the individual is available. Number of posts made, when they joined, number of profile views – (using Facebook lingo : how many people have ‘stalked’ this user), last active, currently viewing which forum, and demographics provided by the user. Individuals may leave personal messages (PM) or write a comment, again comparing to Facebook, as if writing on one’s “wall”. All of this personal information and track record of their involvement within the SyFy community, as well as the ability to interact with them enables and encourages the formation of friendships. Individuals may add friends, I have 3, all of which are moderators of the Doctor Who forum that seemed welcoming and very active in the forum.
However, not all members identify with one another on a personal level. Most of the time communication is friendly, helpful, inquisitive, and welcoming.
Ironically relevant to the reading for tomorrow, the thread I’m currently reading begins:
“Doctor Who has inspired a level of “vidding” that I don’t think I’ve ever seen with any other TV show. (Not counting the legions of poorly edited romance videos.)So, post your favorite Doctor Who fan vids, whether they be music videos, title mashups, fake titles, anything. Well… keep fan films down to trailers.”
This is relevant to the article about remixing – these are videos that viewers have created about or based-off Dr. Who. Although, it appears the producers of the original show are not concerned about property rights or whatnot, since so many videos and mashups exist.
Tomorrow I am presenting my practicum project on Media Fandom, focusing on the Dr. Who forum at SyFy.com
My question for the class to consider is: Would you feel comfortable randomly joining a fan forum, and being a ‘n00b’? What concerns, as a newbie, would you have?
See you all tomorrow!!
I signed up to be a part of SyFy.com to participate in the forums. My name 2TouchADalek, my Avatar photo of the 4th Doctor, and my signature quote of Captain Jack Harkness will all hopefully help me integrate into the community without much pushback.
The first thread I responded to was third on the list, asking if there were any new Dr. Who fans out there chatting. I responded, although this thread was already over 100 pages long, and over 4,000 responses. Now just waiting for responses! If I don’t get any bites, I’ll have to try again tomorrow night!
I looked at other threads, and many of them do not seem linked to Dr. Who at all – just general topic discussions. The people commenting appear to have background history with the other chatters. I’m betting they all know each other through using this site regularly, and don’t feel a need to talk about the proposed TV series any longer unless something exciting happens in the series.
I was pleasantly surprised when one thread I clicked had “Spoiler Alert” signs right away. I took a screen shot 🙂