Ross – Introduction and Chapter 1

I was immediately drawn to the topic of water cooler conversations while reading this. We are all familiar with water cooler conversations in person, whether they be at the Grille, in public restrooms, or just literally around a water cooler. Nowadays, people are always talking about what they’ve watched, what they think and of whom they are fans. The only idea of the Internet as today’s water cooler is a beautiful picture for me. I can relate so well because I am constantly posting links and opinions about television shows on my Facebook profile (I have yet to upgrade to Twitter).

One important thing about the Internet version of the water cooler is that it is so easy to post links to instant replays of moments from your favorite episodes. We have learned from sports how important instant replay is, but when there are things that one may not notice in the first viewing of an episode of a television series, it’s important to have a link to rewatch it and not have to wait until the next time it is on air. For instance, last night I posted a link to this Youtube video:

I had already watched the episode of Community that these clips came from, but I did not notice what was happening in the background. The show is so full of meta moments that one can easily miss them. With a fan community (no pun intended with the name of the show) willing to take the time to share their findings with other fans, and with accessibility to clips and the ease at which one can mash them up on personal computers, it’s no wonder that the world of television is at our fingertips. It’s also wonderful how this not only becomes interactive in terms of conversation, but also in terms of how we see things. It’s common to mash things up to give them different meanings through forms of storytelling, such as some mash ups of characters from Lost that create a completely new storyline.

The online fan community does not stop only at television series. It could arguably be said that other fan conversation and participation on the internet may even be more interactive. I play a lot of fantasy sports online, particularly on Whether or not I’m playing against my friends or just against the world, the people that we see on television playing sports are now at our disposal in creating our own teams. There has even been talk of people buying teams as collectives on the Internet, as one team in the lower tiers of Premiership Soccer in England was rumored to be bought by a community of bidders online. Video games also have a huge online fan base, and aren’t only played online, but are discussed as well. There are some people that even sell gold and other goods for games like World of Warcraft on websites like eBay and Amazon.

The fan community for every form of media is right at our fingertips, and it can be a beautiful thing.