My huge interest and what I would call myself a fan of would be Twilight. This topic is something that I at first was not into. I thought it was stupid and too teeny bopper (as my mom would say). My boyfriends sister finally persuaded me to give it a try. Within two weeks I had all four of the books read. I bought tickets for the midnight showing of the 3rd edition Eclipse. With all of this, I still would not call myself a twihard or feel as if I am a diehard twilight fan. I go shopping and see girls in Edward, Bella, and Jacob t-shirts. I have not decided whether I am team Edward or team Jacob. I think those aspects are what bring out the true and through and through fans. I would consider myself a bandwagon twilight fan who jumped on after everyone else said it was books and movies worth my time.
i think a great example of convergence is in the halo video games they are a series of teen rated sifi first person shooter games. the games had great success when they where first released and continued to have a strong flowing thought out the next three games. after the second game came out halo 2 they also began to releas books and a comical cartoon called red vs. blue that was a play on how the vs. multiplayer and on line game play was a red teem ageist a blue. the corporations used converging media to create an even larger fan basis by making books and also making cartoons and other parifanila to bring awareness to other fans that may not have originally played the game but in the end because of ether liking the books or cartoon would eventually play. giving the fans the best interactive experience posible. i think they had great success in geting a large and very loyal fan goop and are continuing to further the franchise by making more games and more products for people.
To me the ultimate convergence culture comes from the wide world of sports. I myself am largely consumed by this culture. You cannot sit in a classroom full of students and not have at least one of them wearing something to do with some sports' team. I personally wear sports-related clothing I would guess around eighty percent of the time (yes i am aware that is sad). The culture has only expanded over time. It used to be represented by simple things such as collecting of baseball cards and such but the market and the fan base has grown at an exponential rate overtime and only seems to be continuing. Now you can purchase pictures, posters, bed quilts, pillow cases, trash cans, chairs, and all sorts of different household items to represent your favorite teams. You see it on the news every now and then where someones entire house will have only things that represent a specific team that they love. The market has cashed in on this trend as most stores contain some type of sports clothing or memorabilia that pertains to some part of their costumer base. Sports fan cover all of the different bases of fans as well. While, there are the casual fans, which in this day and age are becoming the minority as so many people are becoming consumed with the world of sports and turning into the loyal fans. The people who do not miss a game their team plays and live and die with the result. They post on chat rooms, read multiple blogs, and consistently watch ESPN, a channel designed to air anything and everything that pertains to sports. Sports in general is a prime example of convergence culture, and with its ever-growing popularity, I only expect to grow with time.
I think a great example of convergence culture is the show, Tru Blood. Tru Blood is a popular HBO show that is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris. I myself started out as a fan of the books and then started watching the series, which I like as well. Basically, it is about vampires and humans coexisting. There are other supernatural things featured as well. Tru Blood is not for kids and is rated MA for mature audiences. It has a lot of nudity, sex scenes and other very graphic content. Despite the MA rating, Tru Blood has a huge fan base.
These Trubies, as they are called, are very loyal. I think a great example of corporate convergence strategies are the ways in which Tru Blood is marketed. I believe when they initially aired the show, they already had an established loyal fan base to start from due to the popularity of the books. I think they capitalized on this by offering merchandise and Interactive media for the fans who were excited to get involved with the series in ways you couldn't with the books. For example, they have a Facebook page that offers ways for the fan to interact with the show and each other. They have caption contests as well as a Halloween contest where you send in pictures of yourself or your friends dressing up as Tru Blood characters. Tru Blood is also on Twitter and keeps fans updated about things that are happening or will be happening on the show. There is also a large variety of merchandise available. You can buy T-shirts to the Tru Blood that the vampires drink on the show. There are also blogs available that feature Tru Blood characters blogging while they are in character. I think this creates more of a connection with the characters of the show and I think by building these Interactive social communities, they are creating more of an emotional connection with the show. I think by having access to these different forms of media, the show is creating and maintaining inspirational consumers. Consumers that are so loyal to the brand that they actually drink something that looks like and is supposed to be, blood. These are ways for the consumer to continue the show outside of the hour a week when they get a new episode and expanding the show through social media. These loyal consumers are the ones creating a new community and culture for the show. I think by having a fan base that is so loyal to the show, the merchandise and the characters, the show will be around for a long time.
I think my enormous interest in sports,particularly soccer, is what I would like to discuss.I am a big fan of Man Chester United Football Club in London,the United Kingdom.I like the sports so much so that I have bought jerseys from the club with the name of one the best players I admired on the jersey as a fan.Although he now plays soccer in Spain,I still admire him.His name is Christiano Rolnaldo.As an inspirational consumer, I encourage other fans of the club who might be disappointed when we are defeated by another club through text messages from my cellphone and on facebook.I sometime give excuses for the club when we lose games whether it's in the English Premier League(EPL),the Carling Cub,or in the European Soccer Champions League(ESCL) that despite everything else,we will have a comeback when we "put on house in order".This fan culture has been extended to my daughter who also watches the soccer games with me.I have no reason why she has become a fan,but all I know is that she's always cheering for Man Chester United in the red jerseys and shouts "the red devils" whenever they are playing whether or not I am in watching the games.
One huge cult following our society has faced in the last decade that holds a large amount of culture convergence in the Lord of the Rings trilogy films. These films have spawned a whole new culture and branch of business that rely on commodities in order to survive. These films have allowed fans to delve much deeper than just simply watching the films. One can not only just watch these films in the theatre or their home, but they can buy them, buy the soundtracks, buy posters, and even buy clothing and memorabilia of the films likes swords and "the ring".
The commodity of the business is necessary for the films to achieve the status they have attained. Without the commoditization they would not be nearly as successful. The films allow the viewer not only to just watch them, but also to create emotional ties with them. They are made in such a way that causes the viewer to relate to a certain character and then that character is marketed outside the film by use of product selling.
Like many other famous films, the Lord of the Rings series were first books before turned into films. As with many other instances, people start to read the books after the film's release. After the Lord of the Rings was released there were many special editions of the book out in stores for people to buy. This promotion gave people an extra incentive and interest to delve deeper into the Lord of the Rings fan culture. Once things like this start to happen is when the films turn into more than just a form of entertainment; they turn into a business for the film studio and everyone else involved. I think it's kind of depressing these days how many blockbusters form into a business and eventually a whole new culture. It really shows how much media controls us and what we are "supposed" to like and dislike.
In the recent years the Lord of the Rings movies buzz has dies down, but with the filming of The Hobbit, a prequel to the trilogy, I think this will spark a whole new like to the Lord of the Rings culture. It's going to add new fans to the culture which I think will make it even bigger than before.
Immediately I thought of Facebook when trying to come up with an idea for this blog post. Facebook has become a strange alternate reality for millions of people, and is a virtual community that has seeped into almost every aspect of real (tangible) life. This is perpetuated by the convergence of Facebook and other types of media. Media such as Mac advertisements and products, and even further, their applications and synchronization with Facebook. The convergence of these two types of media has in part created new uses for a "cell phone". I don't even feel comfortable calling them that anymore because only half the time they're being used for their original purpose. But that has changed as well- the purpose of the device. I am a total dupe to this- I own an iPhone, I am addicted to Facebook, and I use many of the applications created FOR iPhones to be used on Facebook. For example, I use the app Instagram constantly, updating my "friends" with photos of crap going on in my life that probably isn't even that interesting but hey, I can make the pictures look cool. Therefore my facebook is cool...? Because people "like" my pictures. Oh and Instagram has a "like" option too, which started on Facebook but has bled into every media outlet as a means for fans to express which and what kinds of media they like and dislike (i.e. youtube's thumbs up/down).
Taglines to sell Apple products often relate to "updating" your Facebook or Twitter account from your phone, or tablet, etc. Almost every news, magazine, video website.. or most websites in general now, have an icon or link you can click to embed that website's content on your Facebook page--usually labeled "sharing". Also, instead of creating an account with many websites- if you are logged on facebook, it will allow you to synchronize accounts... this makes using that site simpler and faster but it is extremely beneficial to them because you are giving them complete access to all of your information. The use of Facebook for any other form of media promotion is clutch in reaching target audiences, partly because of this "sharing" option--similar to the idea in the reader piece Buying Into American Idol, gossip fueling convergence... we "share" videos, talk about other media we are consuming, etc. Thus fueling the convergence of these media outlets because it is successful- we have the "incentive to share knowledge" and bring attention to media we enjoy so that others may enjoy it also.
I have been watching the Oprah Winfrey Show my entire life. Literally, I do not have any idea when I started watching her show. The daycare lady I went to as a young child watched her religiously and I would frequently watch it with her, and my love grew from there. My family still tells stories of me as a four year old who would say things like "You are not my biological sister", using things I learned from Oprah even then. I have been an avid watcher my entire life, written reports on her, buying her 25th anniversary collection, and implementing her advise into my life on a regular basis. I have laughed and cried with her and consider her to be an extremely influential person in my life.There were some summers where my sisters and I would plan our entire day around being home in time for Oprah. I am without a doubt a loyal- long term committed consumer. Oprah has a way of connecting to people because of her humble roots and vibrant personality. Her carreer has been incredible in the creation of "inspirational custormers" , who take anything she has to say or endorses and get behind it. She has promoted thousands of products with her "Oprah's Favorite Things" episodes, book club, and very successful magazine. Oprah has created an empire with an enormous and religious fan following that. She has created a brand community, in that anything she endorses is destined to sell millions. Her book club alone has 2million members, along with countless more viewers who are non-members. Time Magazine says the club It's the greatest force in publishing today, with the power to raise authors from the dead (Leo Tolstoy) or crucify them on the national stage (James Frey). Oprah has unparalleled power of persuasion, she has built an empire of followers and can now use their loyalty as a branding technique to push her own projects as well as help other companies sell their products.
Many books series are very good examples of fan culture and convergence culture. For example, The inheritance cycle is a popular fantasy book series about dragons, most commonly known for the first book Eragon. The first book was made into a movie, but like most movies made after books, did a poor job of encompassing the magical details that are present in the book, and because of this as well as massive amounts of fan disapproval, there were no more movies made of the other books. Fans certainly play a large part in this series. The series has two official websites, one for information about the author, the books, upcoming tours, videos and games, and the other website is specifically for fans. I am a huge fan of this series and started reading the books when I was in high school. Originally, the inheritance cycle was suppose to be a 3 book series, or the inheritance trilogy, however when the author released the 3rd book, he concluded at the end announcing there would have to be a fourth book. This started uproar by fans wanting to know every possible detail about the fourth book, which is where the convergence culture comes into play. The website designated for fans had multiple forums for members to post their thoughts and ideas about the last book. The site even included a place for fans to blog about how they thought the last book would end. One of the best examples in my opinion of convergence culture is how the website hosted a contest for fans to submit suggestions for the title of the final book, and the winner's would actually be used for the title. Paolini, the author of the series, started writing the first book Eragon when he was 15, and it wasn't published until 2003, the final book was recently published in November of 2011, (which I haven't began reading yet due to school, because once I start reading the 800+ page book, i can pretty much say goodbye to my social life for approximately 4 days). I cant help but wonder if Paolini incorporated fan ideas into his series, because the website literally had hundreds of forums and blog post of different peoples ideas of how the book should end. I wonder this because Paolini spent so much time on the first and second book, it seems almost impossible for him to complete a 3rd and 4th book in the matter of a few years. Either way, the website embodies fan culture, as well as convergence culture, through its vast number of activities for fans, ranging from games to contests to a variety of forums questioning fans appeal to different aspects of the books and what they expect in the future from the author.
... I feel like such a nerd.
First of all, I apologize because I'm going to say something we somewhat talked about in class because I can go far deeper within it. I'm going to talk about my own experience with fan culture when it comes to Anime/Manga. In the fan culture, a person who is known as Anime fan is known as Otaku (just like how you call Star Trek fans as Trekies). Otakus also have a bad stereotype around them and they're either known as crazy or a creepier (unfortunately). And Anime/Manga has a large range of genre and different types of magazines, publishing companies, and anime companies.
Branding does happen in Anime but it's something you have to find (branding doesn't happen that often from what I've experienced) and America does censor it in fear of getting sued. In Code Geass (which is a super popular anime), one of the characters loves eating pizza. So in the original Japanese version of Code Geass, you can see many Pizza Hut boxes. Pizza Hut did a promotion for Code Geass and they sold a limited time custom Code Geass box along with a code for downloadable wallpaper, and an entry for a contest where the prize is a pizza box and script signed by the creators of Code Geass. If you're a loyal fan of Code Geass (like me) most likely you would become a pizza hut loyal or create a love mark.
Code Geass also has a lot of products along with it such as 4 different series (books) of different character's perspectives, there are plushies, cell phone charms, cosplay, posters, fanart, fancomic (doujinshi), figuring, video games, CDs, contact lens (to match the main character's eyes), etc. I even submit to buying the whole series and a huge poster of Code Geass even though I don't go out to buy dvds that often. I still have a grab of me (unfortunately along with my wallet). In Japan they sold about 900,000 copies of the dvds and one of the best selling dvds in Japan as well.
Code Geass's fanculture is big and filled with emotions. The fans even started a petition on making a 3rd season after the series ended. Because of the petition, the developers of Code Geass decided to make a 3rd season and it is still in process.