Week 3 Readings

Temperance and Religiosity in a Non-Marginal, Non-Stigmatized Brand Community

First of all, I have no idea who Tom Petty is. I had never even heard of him until this assignment, which I imagine is blasphemy since it sounds like he's a key piece of Americana. 

That said, I'm left skeptical about the overview of this fandom... because they sound really nice. True, the policing of the fan site comments was skeptical but no one was causing a flame war. It was very moderate, and I can't believe that that's not the case.

And yet part of me hopes that it is true because how cynical is it to believe that there can't be fandom without the dark side of it? I think it comes from divisive issues within a fan object/fan text; Tom Petty seems to be revered overall and the only source of any contention seems to come from fans who make claims that go against his persona. But do stigma and temperance directly related? 

A lot of the anecdotes about Tom, especially in the touching greatness section, remind me of stories that I've heard from people who've met other actors or celebrities that they're fans of. But I'm confused between the distinction of a groupie with the fans described in the brand community. If you actually want to go meet the person, does that make you a groupie? The definition was a little nebulous to me - it sounded like there's a line between groupie and not and it's if you meet the person that you cross over. The author seemed to very adamant about not going to actually meet TPATH for some reason, and I wonder if being a groupie is considered a stigma. 

Imprinting, Incubation, and Intensification: Factors Contributing to Fan Club Formation and Continuance

Fan clubs seem like a subset of fandom in which people as a group perform fan activities. This to me is pretty reminiscent of online forums and the Tumblr fandom culture. To be in a fan club though, do you have to be face to face? Or is it that you can have the imprint phase happen independently and then incubate with people remotely? 

I would argue that the lifelong fandom doesn't have to be characterized by a moment in pre-adult life, though I think I'm just taking issue with the term lifelong. We talked about the bolt of lightning moment in class and that it comes at a time of personal upheaval. 

There are a lot of similarities between this fan club and the TPATH fans (brand community members) as well, so at what point is a fan club a fandom? Is there a distinction between a fandom and a fan club?