Tumblr fan aesthetics

Authored by: Louisa Ellen Stein

The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638921
eBook ISBN: 9781315637518
Adobe ISBN:


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As fan communities move from one digital platform to another, the tenor of fan communication and creativity changes. Fans choose particular platforms because they seem to better fit the needs of a fan community or the evolving foci of the larger multifannish culture. At the same time, fan aesthetic traditions evolve in response to the affordances and limitations of the particular platforms in use at a given moment (Stein and Busse 2009). Each interface used by fans develops and maintains its own community norms, expectations, and limits of code and culture. In some cases, fans will use a given interface in a way consistent with its officially stated intent. In other instances, fans use interfaces in unintended, negotiative, and even resistant ways. This chapter focuses on fans’ negotiative use of the visual microblogging site Tumblr, with special attention to the emerging aesthetic traditions that have evolved out of the friction between fan and interface.

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