Virtual proximity: Creating Connection in an Online Fan Community

Abstract:

The advent of the Web has extended the possibilities of fandom. Fan clubs have moved into cyberspace where the Web provides a new context to fandom as a form of socialization around a common interest. Using the framework of an online ethnography, the paper investigates one such online community — the “Adam Clayton Club” on Yahoo! — a mostly female group based on a common passion for the U2 bass player. In particular, the paper focuses on the way in which the virtual modality allows members to create a space for articulation of their fantasies and to negotiate the tension between the desired appropriation of the rock star’s public persona and the reality of his being unreachable. Fans use the online environment not only to affirm and position their own identities, but also to define the identity of Adam Clayton, through which they seek shared pleasure and solidarity.

Full Article (PDF):application/pdf iconFrancesca-Prandstraller-Virtual-Proximity.pdf

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