I’m old enough to remember when computers were mostly just amusement for the masses and data storage for companies. By the turn of the millennium, as more people could afford the device, a different set of ideas took center stage. With the internet, you could get and share news instantaneously, make blog posts, and talk with people all over the world all at once in chat rooms. It was a huge change from the professionals that held the power over information the average Joe could acquire. The competition became greater with more choices on the ‘information highway’.
One of these subjects that has become a major topic of interest is the popular culture of fan archives. De Kosnik writes, “...the focus of this book is on how people who are usually marginalized in narratives of technological development are innovating new media practices in ways that will likely alter how cultural memory takes form, becomes institutionalized, and operates going forward.” Fandom has become a welcome pastime for some, people watching episodes of their favorite shows, and talking with others on forums about the stories and complexities of characters. With that has come the dawn of fan creations related to their shows or books of choice in the forms of fanfiction, fan podcasts, and fan videos. Those that wanted to use their creativity would post works to share with others that enjoyed their takes on the fandom. The choices were endless, as long as they were within some set framework of their show or book. I believe fans were inspired by the shows to fill in story gaps, or in the case of De Kosnik, fill in the blanks for characters that were rarely portrayed because of their gender, race, or sexual orientation with this media. At first, I did not see much in the way of effectiveness, as the push/pull between fans and commercial producers made very little difference. However, changes have started to come through to fill these gaps in traditional media, who wants to court fans. Shows like “Glee” and “Orange is the New Black” were important steps in showing positive gay portrayals, and the racial casting for parts has become broader than ever before. Movie studios are more affected by the fans now that then they can admit, as the audience can now vote or veto with their wallets, and there are more choices online than they ever had before.