Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Courting Supporters for Independent Media, Pt.1

Posted by tristendenney14 on April 12, 2017

After reading our assigned readings for Thursday, I would definitely have to say “(Sp)reading Digital Comics” by Geoffrey Long is my favorite. I feel this article not only talks about how comic books and the methods to share them have changed, but is also a great example of how one or a company can successfully “design for spreadability.” However, since our topic of discussion has once again changed, I also think this article shows great ways of how other companies should “court” supporters for their independent media. For example, Long introduces the idea of sharing and gaining supporters the normal way most people go about sharing their favorite comics. From physically reading the comic books, to participating in forums and sending your friends your favorite comic book links, there are a lot of different ways to join these fandoms today. On the other hand, aside from simply sharing your favorite comic books or links, the comic book industry has taken it a step farther and actually encourages the use of “user-generated content” on some platforms. This is seen through Long’s example of J.D. Frazer and his webcomic User Friendly. Though Frazer writes a majority of the webcomics featured on his website, occasional breaks for fans to take their shot at webcomic writing are not only allowing Frazer to continue posting, but also gives these fans a chance at experiencing what popular webcomic writers do on a day-to-day basis. The last part that stood out to me refers to American Elf and its paywall scheme. Though some content creators use this scheme of allowing access to many other media platforms for a small price, American Elf is unique in the fact that they already give access to webcomic archives, but also allow fans the opportunity to experience the “premium” webcomics as well. Therefore, I truly believe the webcomic industry has developed a very unique plan to gain supporters of their independent media, and I believe their success will continue for many years to come.


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