Restricted confessions? Blogging, subcultural celebrity and the management of producer-fan proximity

Bertha Chin, Matt Hills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article we argue that "citizen journalist" debates surrounding weblogs, or "blogs", have tended to displace attention from the ways in which specific media professionals (e.g. those working on television drama) have used blogging as a promotional tool. Rather than challenging forms of media power, we suggest that this blogging actually reinforces the cultural and symbolic power of media producers, positioned as knowledgeable "insiders", versus fans strictly defined as "consumers". Our particular focus is on cult television media professionals who can be thought of as "subcultural celebrities". We contrast two different approaches to subcultural celebrity blogging, which we term "official" and "unofficial", considering how these differential registers of formality/informality and strict gatekeeping/apparent accessibility both work to reify cultural differences and inequalities between subcultural celebrities and their fans. Rather than enabling confessions from behind-the-scenes of television production, these blogs remain significantly restricted in their confessional form. Our analysis suggests that professional identities are conserved and protected, meaning that any information that could potentially damage television brands or careers is kept firmly off-stage, either through controlled interaction with fans via an "official" blog, or via the less formal cultivation of codes of privacy/professionalism in "unofficial" blogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-272
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Semiotics
Volume18
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

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