vlogs

thanks to facebook i was recently introduced to a modernization of pride and prejudice re-imagined and delivered twice a week via blog, the lizzie bennet diaries.  i began watching about 10 episodes in, and they recently published episode 54 (with a couple additional episodes in off shoots featuring Lydia and Charlotte).  a great blog was written highlighting the unique approach of a vlog to retell this story, and how it adds to lizzie’s prejudiced character.  with 54 episodes fans have been calling for Darcy to appear in an episode, something the producers have not done yet (they are in Hunsford, pre-first proposal).  despair of translators does an excellent job examining why not showing Darcy up to this point was a fantastical call by the producers, and where s/he feels Darcy should appear.  what i’m loving about this approach is the fan response, and the re-imagining of serial fiction delivery.  i am awed by fandom.  i’m working on a paper about romance fandom and the lengths women go to participate in their own fandom.  with this particular vlog, the producers are using facebook, youtube, tumblr, and now twitter (you can follow george wickham and mr collins on twitter).  while the twitter follower numbers are fairly low (under 50), the facebook and youtube fans are in the thousands.  100 or so facebook users like the videos each Monday and Thursday, with many also posting comments.  compared to the fandom that helped joss whedon get the Serenity movie made, these numbers are very low.  but, for serial vlogging, delivered twice a week, this is a large investment of time and effort by the fans, fans who essentially know how the story will turn out.  in addition, lizzie has several episodes where she answers fan questions (in the story of the vlog P&P is being told through lizzie’s diary vlog as part of a graduate research project – so the fan questions are questions for her diary vlog).  within these videos, lizzie thanks fans for their participation, encourages participation, and briefly discusses fanfic.  without breaking character, or derailing the story line, the producers have found ways to include fandom and reward fandom as part of their regular delivery.  they have found ways to allow fans to directly interact with some characters by creating twitter feeds for them.  they create vlogs to specifically address questions, concerns, comments left by the fans.  so while re-telling a classic (and obviously favorite story for many, myself included), modernizing it, and delivering it in serial vlog fashion, the lizzie bennet diaries also pays attention to their fan base to encourage continued fandom.  they’re able to empower the fan who chooses to participate.  so, when looking at vlogs, especially vlogs where we (the fans) know the outcome, it would appear that the producer holds all the power, creating their vision.  instead, it is the fans who hold the power, helping shape and shift how the vision is actually created and delivered simply by participating.  and it’s not just participating, it’s writing.  by writing, a comment, a tweet, a blog, the fan creates their power through writing their participation.

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