I Can Make You a (Net) Celebrity Overnight: Fan Production and Participatory Culture in Online Reality Shows
Alice E. Marwick
Microsoft Corporation - Microsoft Research New England; Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society
May 1, 2007
Media in Transition 5.0, Cambridge, MA, May 2007
Online versions of reality shows pit users against each other, following the conventions of television franchises like American Idol and Project Runway. An outgrowth of the popularity of both reality television and internet fandom, online reality contests are fan-driven and made possible by free publishing tools such as Google Video, YouTube, Flickr and DeviantArt. These contests, like Google Idol and LiveJournal’s Next Top Model (LNTM), comprise a new, hybrid genre of fan production that mimics the rules and structure of reality television programs, while encouraging participant creativity. While these competitions draw from conventions of specific programs, their participants are no longer “audiences” or even “fans” in a strict sense; rather, they are micro-media producers themselves. I argue that online reality competitions, together with other hybrid forms such as machinima, anime music videos and filk music, not only contribute to our understanding of participatory culture, but should fundamentally alter media studies concepts of the audience.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: participatory culture, YouTube, reality television, audience theory, fandomAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 14, 2011
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