Internet Fandom for Dummies
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INTERNET FANDOM FOR DUMMIES

Have you ever fallen in love with a television show, or a sports team, or even have a certain bond to a particular a political party? This makes you into something called a "fan". A fan is, “an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer,” of virtually any subject[1]. You can love a TV show like the Walking Dead, or maybe you like to follow up on what the President is up to. There are many things to be a fan of and the world is full of followers just like you. The best part about being a fan is sharing your passion with other people. But what if no one you know feels the same way as you do? How do you go about finding a group of like-minded people who are interested in the same shows with the same enthusiasm as you? This is what the Internet is for!

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The Internet connects anyone with a computer and an Internet connection across the entire world. It is an extremely vast and complicated network that can be difficult to make sense of. There is a fansite for absolutely every genre, show, person, or idea. Navigating these sites can be very tricky and it can be hard to become part of a community if you do not know how to interact with other members. This is why “Internet Fandom for Dummies” was created. This wiki was made to teach you the basics if you do not know already how to use the internet in a fandom setting, or maybe for those of you who just need to brush up on your skills. If you do not understand how the Internet works, you are what is referred to as a “non-digital native,” but this wiki is hoping to fix that. This wiki is for virtually anyone who wants to share their fandom with others online but just doesn’t quite understand how.

We’ve organized our wiki into five pages: genre, audience, authorship, cultural context, and purpose. Each page provides a brief introduction to how the writing tool is used in general and then goes on to explain how it specifically relates to becoming a participant in online fandom. What is this tool? How does it work? Why is it important to me as a fan? We will provide brief answers to these questions in the introduction of each page as a preview for what to expect in further subsections. Subsections answer our initial questions in greater detail by using examples of specific fan communities to illuminate how fans communicate online.

This is not an instruction guide on how to use specific fan websites like Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, and general messages boards but how to write on online fan communities in general. We will provide you with examples of the common slang and tropes that are integral to communicating with other fans online. After referencing our wiki, we believe you will be prepared to become a successful participant of your chosen fandom.

FOOLISH ASSUMPTIONS

Since you are on the Internet Fandom for Dummies wiki page, we feel safe to make a couple foolish assumptions about you. No, we do not assume that you are an overly obsessed fangirl squealing at the mere thought of a certain celebrity. We also are not going to assume that you are a “nerd” or a “geek” or any related term that refers to uncool people going crazy over uncool things.

What we are going to assume, however, is that you are a fan of something.

We are going to, perhaps foolishly, assume that you have watched a television show or listened to a music group and enjoyed the experience. We are going to assume that you are familiar with political parties, sports, or movies. We believe that you have followed a certain sports team or that you have been a supporter and fan of a certain author. That you watch televisions shows featuring actors you enjoy watching or on networks that produce good programs. Our first assumption is that you are a fan.

Since you are obviously okay with reading something for “dummies”, we are also going to foolishly assume that you are a non-digital native, or somewhat unfamiliar with internet fandom as a genre. We are going to assume that you are here to learn about internet fandom and/or how it can be used to influence your support and involvement with certain television shows or political parties or sports teams.

And lastly, we are going to make the biggest assumption of all…that this wiki is for you. We are going to assume that this wiki will answer all your questions about internet fandom and foster curiosity about the genre.

HOW THE WIKI IS ORGANIZED

Internet Fandom for Dummies introduces you to online fan communities and teaches you how to become a participant through writing. This wiki provides you with everything you need to start your journey into writing through online fandom from instructions to how fans use genre to introductions to audiences targeted by fan writings to distinguishing the qualities of a fan author. We have organized this wiki so that you (the user) can start from any page. This is not a step-by-step guide but instead organized by the common elements of:

Part 1 Purpose

Internet fandoms- whether they're for sports teams, politics, or certain movies, all have specific aims and purposes for their existence. When an author writes a blog or creates a website, he/she has a target audience in mind. Usually, the author will make sure that the content of the genre or writing is tailored to that particular audience in order to achieve specific results.
For more, check out Purpose

Part 2 Authorship

Without anyone to author the online literature that composes the mass collection known as "digital writing," well, there would be no digital writing. This section is about the ones who make it all happen.
For more, check out Authorship

Part 3 Audience

Some would say part 2 is the best part (just me). In this section we get down to the nitty gritty on what makes an audience. It has basic differences between the types of audiences and where you could fall in them. It has instructions on how to be a valuable part of the community, including; how an internet conversation goes, what memes ares and how to use them, and the value of fan-art. The audience is an important part of Internet Fandom, because that is who you are.
For more check out Audience

Part 4 Genre

The ease of transitioning from participating in real-life fan communities to online fan communities depends on one's familiarity with online writing genres. Writing genres are tool sets including language and tropes that can enable you to become a "visible presence" in your chosen fandom.
For more, check out Genre

Part 5 Cultural Context

Cultural context is the reason why a person is prompted to write a blog, whether that includes debating a topic, spreading knowledge, or responding to a different author. This page goes into detail about what cultural context is all about.
For more, check out Cultural Context

Bibliography
1. "fan." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 06 Dec. 2012. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fan>.
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