Interpersonal culture on the Internet: television, the Internet, and the making of a community
"Community" is a highly contested concept, and in the milieu of mass media, it is even more highly fraught. The book is a community formation narrative, adding to our common database of emergent community practice on the Internet. The book bolsters our understandings of the substantive processes involved, particularly those of boundary formation, spatial dimensions of communities, and how communities are always both embedded and emerging entities. Finally, it deals with the question of how seamless and/or disruptive the new technology of the Internet is vis-a-vis our traditional practices of community formation and maintenance. We are interested in a problem with communities based in media fandoms. Eventually, the artist will quit making music, the movie will cease to have sequels, or the television show will get cancelled. What happens to these communities when their basis of interest goes away? Is the bond of community enough to keep them together? Why do people fracture into other groups? Why do some hold on to the one-for-all-all-for-one mentality? Finally, do people find themselves gravitating toward friends they would have chosen offline, or do they stick by the friends they made in the community, who would not ordinarily be their type? In the last couple of years of working with this community, the ways in which one gauges when a community ends, and when it merely morphs into some other kind of interpersonal phenomenon have been at the forefront of our research. The book is ethnographic in method, and deals with community concepts such as networks, geography, boundaries, and politics.
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