Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Understanding the US Soap Opera Part 2

Posted by faythleighann on March 8, 2017

Taking a last look at soap operas, this essay brought up a new factor in the networking behind the production. This being the soap opera fandoms, but more specifically the fandoms functioning as a series of networks that shape the TV shows. A primary focus in the essay was to connect the understanding of fandoms and the ideas before virtual activities to more modern online communities.

Bringing the discussion back to social networking, Ford states that “soap operas are dynamic social texts that are created as much by the audiences that debate, critique, and interpret them as by the production team itself.” Meaning that when viewers interact with one another and invest a connection not only with the show but with other viewers, it builds a community that goes beyond just the series. Examples of this investment to a soap opera are fan mail, and fan clubs. As mentioned in the essay, both outlets act as a way for viewers’ opinions and interests in the show to be recognized, but it’s also an organized way to bring together fans with the same appreciation for soap operas that can share ideas and thoughts throughout the seasons. Specifically, the fan clubs are more direct and add a sense of involvement that an audience craves. Because social media is a go-to for these clubs, due to convenience and accessibility, the clubs contain thousands of people all over the world with the same interest, which is exactly what soap opera productions want in an engaging audience. Though it is more noticed on social media, live discussions and clubs for soap operas still exist and it’s the idea that a TV genre can be so impactful and involve so many people that it becomes a part of their lives.


One Response to “Understanding the US Soap Opera Part 2”

  1. nathanpowers22 said

    I don’t know if social media was really a “go-to” for soap opera fans. Honestly, I feel like the opposite is true and helps explain their decline in popularity. More often, there are fan sites solely dedicated to a specific soap, which I feel isolates them from the larger social networks that currently exist (but didn’t exist at the time these webpages were created). In other words, part of the reason soap operas have fallen out of public favor might be their failure to integrate into modern social networks.

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