Links roundup for 1 February 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on evolving fandom that might be of interest to fans:

  • Lately it appears that every participant in a collective interest is termed a fanboy, whether they enjoy beer or they follow certain religious figures. GamingUpdate attempted to explain the origins of fans citing a radiology study. “Brain areas responsible for emotion, touch, satisfaction, and memory are involved in our reactions for sex and brand loyalty as well as religion.” The author concludes that while sex may be the draw, marketers are to blame for the creation of fandoms. “If your encounters with fanboys (and increasingly fangirls as girl gamers grow more confident in their place in the gaming culture and increasingly reveal their true gender to their guildmates and playmates online) often leaves you angry or frustrated with them, at least you now know who to blame: the advertising executives and the people who create the ad campaigns that give birth to those fanboys.”
  • A recent series of essays suggests that the English Romantic Movement created fandom. “Much as the “market revolution” in the United States during the 1830s and 1840s changed the very nature of cultural consumption and participation, Eisner writes that, in England, the Romantic period of the late 18th century…saw the popularization of recognizable “fan practices,” spurred by the growth of consumer culture and the development of a mass audience for culture generally.””
  • Perhaps because the series Mad Men deals with the advertising world, its RPG players seem particularly interested in seeing their activities as a professional form of work. Twitter’s Betty Draper “Helen Klein Ross established herself as a writer and creative director at top ad agencies like FCB and Ogilvy, but in the last five years she’s reinvented herself as a social media renegade.” Ross certainly seems to be keen to stay away from fandom in general, as she claimed that her term “brand fiction” originated at a SWSX presentation given by Mad Men RPG players on Twitter. When an audience member claimed they were performing fan fiction, Ross insisted that it was actually “marketing — extending the Mad Men story out of the television box and into multiplatforms really markets Mad Men.” However, she confessed herself disappointed that AMC chose not to legitmize the Twitter players by utilizing their work in canon.

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