Computer Mediated Fan Culture
A qualitative study of fans expressions on the official homepage of Lars Winnerbäck
8. Summary In our presented work, we studied the guest book and the forum on the official homepage of the Swedish musician Lars Winnerbäck, where we analysed the expressions of his fans. The aim of our study was to see what possible dimensions the Internet adds to fan culture. To reach a deeper understanding we studied the fans’ Internet usage connected to Winnerbäck’s homepage. We were especially interested in the aspects of how computer-mediated communication is used to make a meaning of the artistic product, how identity and sense of community is constructed and what this adds to fan culture. Theoretically, our study is grounded in two fields: in a cultural studies approach represented by John Fiske and Göran Bolin and the research done on the field of computer-mediated communication represented by Malin Sveningsson et al. and Nancy K. Baym. We used qualitative methods to interpret the collected material. The methods constituted of a combination between discourse analysis and conversation analysis. The material was collected from the guest book and the forum that are to be found on the official homepage of the artist. We presented our result organised along the themes fan culture, making sense and identity. We came to the conclusions that the fans integrate their activities on the homepage tightly in their everyday context. The fan culture developed on the Internet can be seen as a supplement to the offline fandom. Social norms are also valid on the Internet. A warm feeling of community is developed, grounded in the appreciation of Lars Winnerbäck. However, if a person acts against the norms of the community, he/she is rebuked and called to order. The medium is thereby used to become explicit in language. The medium does not only create a feeling of closeness among the fans, but the fans express additionally that they feel nearness to Lars Winnerbäck. The musician and personality of LW play the decisive role on the homepage. He and his music link the community. The homepage is used as a platform to express and exchange thoughts, ideas and feelings about his work and him.