Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society
Edited By Lucy Bennett, Bertha Chin and Bethan Jones
2. Crowdfunding the Narrative, or the High Cost of “Fan-ancing”
2. Crowdfunding the Narrative, or the High Cost of “Fan-ancing”1
TANYA R. COCHRAN
The landscape of fan cultures has changed in significant ways in recent decades. Specifically, the invention of the Internet has provided fans greater access to each other. As a result, fan communities are emerging quickly, living long and prospering much. Digital spaces also afford fans and media creators, producers and distributors more and more immediate interaction with each other than ever before. This ability to communicate easily and instantly has allowed for the expanded use of crowdsourcing in general and crowdfunding in particular. The term crowdsourcing, coined in 2005 by Wired’s Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, refers to the use of “crowds” as voluntary or unpaid sources of labour, whether that labour is physical (e.g., word-of-mouth marketing) or intellectual (i.e., ideas). According to Investopedia, crowdfunding, a type of crowdsourcing, is “the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture” (n.d.). To spread the word about this venture, crowdfunding capitalises on the networks of family members, friends, and colleagues a person has already established through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
Crowdfunding has quickly become woven into the fabric of media fandom, the example of writer-director Rob Thomas’s Veronica Mars (2004–7; 2014) Kickstarter campaign one of the most remarkable. As a result, this practice has prompted exigent questions about morals and...
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