unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
The new academic book Manga's Cultural Crossroads is very shiny and has several chapters on fans, including one by me on Harry Potter fan comics on deviantART and pixiv. Writing this one was as fun as it was hard, and I'm terribly pleased with how it turned out *cuddles book*

I can't upload the actual chapter for the usual copyright reasons, but here's an earlier unpublished, non-peer-reviewed version of the text that I hope you may enjoy. Please poke me with any thoughts or suggestions - what's published is published, but I hope to use a lot of this in my PhD dissertation as well.

It has become commonplace for English-language studies about Japanese- and English-speaking fans of manga to mention that the Internet in general and social networking services (SNSs) in particular play a crucial role for the functioning of contemporary "transcultural" fan communities. DeviantART and pixiv, for instance, are two famous image-based SNSs that have become hubs for very active fan communities centered around the exchange of fannish visual media. Such services are not just convenient places to socialize and maintain fan communities, but also distribution systems whose functionality is geared exactly towards what fans want to do with the works they create: share them, and have them appreciated and talked about by other fans.

Several recent studies have focused on how fans use SNSs as communication hubs or as distribution platforms. However, it may be misleading to present these two functions as wholly separate, as no more than the “Internet versions” of pre-digital forms of communication and distribution. Research on the nature and effects of interactions around media on SNSs shows that the “digital conversations” that take place on SNSs have their own particular characteristics that influence what can be said, who can say it, and what the results of the conversation can be. These characteristics profoundly influence not just the interpretations of media distributed through these services, but also the very content of the media themselves.

In this chapter, I make a first attempt at clarifying the complex ways in which the particular nature of digital conversations (boyd and Heer 2006) works to influence fannish interactions on SNSs, with a special focus on how these digital conversations on SNSs help or hinder transcultural interactions between Japanese- and English-speaking fans of manga, comics and other media. I conduct a comparative case study of digital conversations around a particular kind of fanwork that is often distributed and discussed through SNSs: fan-created comics and manga (also called doujinshi). More specifically, I focus on "Harry Potter"-based fan-created comics and manga distributed via deviantART and pixiv.
unjapanologist: (Default)
I'm preparing to move back to Belgium in a couple of months, and one of the things that needs to be sorted out is what the best data plans for smartphones are over there. It's been two years and everything is different. To my great annoyance, Belgium still hasn't invented the unlimited data plan; the most I can get per month is 2 gig, which is just low enough to make me worry about overshooting it and paying an arm and a leg for using an extra 30 megabytes or something. (My first experience with this came a few years ago when I visited my grandmother in the hospital. I decided to download her favorite CD from iTunes on the spot so she'd have some music to listen to. Grandma was successfully cheered up for a while, but apparently I'd overshot my monthly data allowance already, and my good deed turned up on my mobile bill to the tune of 80 euros a few weeks later.)

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
In The New Imperialism: Forcing Morality Shifts And Cultural Change Through Exported IP Laws, the always-informative Techdirt gives a rundown of recent incidents where pressure from US media companies forced countries to change their IP laws in ways that are against the interests of their own citizens. The whole thing is interesting and also contains a lot of links to related relevant stuff, but here's the important bit:

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
Addendum to that recent whine about how politicians have a responsibility to get educated about the internet: "mainstream" media need such education at least as badly. The internet has become crucial not just to many people's personal lives, but to the functioning of whole societies. There are very many people who don't have the time or the inclination to read a slew of tech news RSS feeds, and established news outlets have a responsibility to bring their audiences comprehensive and correct information about important internet-related events.

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (internethygiene)
I'm increasingly convinced that all schools from the primary to higher level should establish new classes on the history and functioning of the internet. Every adult in the world should be forced to attend at least a semester of such a class. Policymakers who are involved in regulating the internet should be forced to attend and come back for remedial classes at regular intervals, because they need a well-developed bullshit radar to deal with the horrendous policy proposals that are lobbed at their heads all the freakin' time.

Read more... )We've seen a lot of bad recommendations for internet policy in the recent past, a lot of it related to misguided copyright enforcement initiatives, but this is really special. No anonymity? Constant oversight? Only real pictures as avatars? No using languages that the internet police doesn't speak? How on earth does this sort of baffling nonsense make it into the recommendations of an official body made up of grownups with brains?

The noxious influence of business interests is strong in this one; EDRI calls the whole initiative "little more than a protection racket (use filtering or be held liable for terrorist offences) for the online security industry". What's kind of shocking here is not that business interests are trying to influence policymaking, though. That's been happening ever since businesses and policymaking came into existence. The real issue is that these sorts of recommendations have some chance of getting somewhere. They may or may not make it into law, but they will almost certainly end up influencing the policymakers who will lay eyes on them. Far too many of these people have no earthly idea how the internet works and what is necessary to keep the internet gears from turning. They don't have the necessary background knowledge and practical experience to recognize these "recommendations" for the harmful crap they are the moment the papers land on their desks. I shudder to think that serious lawmaking people will be looking this over, nodding along and assuming these ideas are very reasonable and terrorist-stopping.

Nobody can be expected to have a thorough grounding in every topic in existence, but the internet is no longer a "special" issue that you can ignore until some proposals come around, at which point you call in a "nerd" to explain things and tell you what to do. Knowing about the workings and needs of a functioning internet is as essential for a 21st-century public official as knowing about traffic rules. Every time you make a new rule, you should consider the effect it will have on the internet, and you should know how to do so. Back to school for everyone.
unjapanologist: (Default)
New post up at Symposium: on regional releases and disrupting international fandoms.

In other words, on those pesky "not available in your location" videos ;)

unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
About a week ago, The Mary Sue reported that some major tech news sites are apparently using the fact that Pinterest has a majority of female users as an excuse to write sexist copy:Read more... )

I'm not on Pinterest myself yet, although several people have recommended it and it looks quite shiny. But I already feel so terribly behind for not having a tumblr. People on tumblr, why is Gizmodo saying that Pinterest is Tumblr for Ladiez, aside from that they're dumb? Is tumblr that dominated by male users? Just from browsing around on it, I never got the impression that tumblr is heavily skewed towards one topic or another. There are lots of porn tumblrs, apparently, but there are lots of porn everythings. I was half considering making a porn tumblr myself for the more mature A:tLA art that I'm too embarrassed to post under any of my existing handles.

ETA: More links and analysis at How to stop being a Pinterest sexist
unjapanologist: (Default)
I watch tons of interesting talks online every week, academic and otherwise, but I barely ever seem to share them beyond Twitter. Dreamwidth and all the places where I cross-post need more good and watchable non-fiction videos, as arbitrarily decided by me just now, so I'll be posting some on a semi-regular basis from now on. Enjoy!

Beware online “filter bubbles”: Eli Pariser on TED.com (9 min)

Description from TED's website:

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
unjapanologist: (Default)
The copyright crazy has been particularly strong on the internets these last few weeks, and I seem unable to concentrate on other topics and finish that blasted Textual Echoes post until I've burned off a bit of steam. So, please have a few random links on the general topic of "die, copyright legislation, die":

Links links links... )
unjapanologist: (Default)

Originally published at Academic FFF. You can comment here or there.

Yes, marketing across various media is hardly unusual these days, but this combination sounds particularly fascinating. A dating site? It's not as if I'm going to use it myself -it just sounds like a whole lot of fun. This is good marketing. It's gotten me interested in the product by virtue of being amusing in itself.

Read more... )


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