Communities of making: Exploring parallels between fandom and open source
Keywords:social media, Open Source Software, fandom, gender, platforms, labor
Studies of social media frequently focus on the most popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and fail to consider more unconventional platforms and communities that nevertheless fit the criteria of social media. A comparison of fan communities emphasizing different content structures (Archive of Our Own, DeviantArt, and Fanfiction.net) to open source community platform GitHub can provide insight into the practices of communities of making, regardless of even substantial differences in purposes and affordances, while expanding the traditional definition of social media. Study of both fan and open source communities revealed commonalities across platforms, such as non-market practices with deep market ties; gift economies that run on status; and a lack of inclusivity. We argue that the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, labor, and value on social media platforms can be illuminated by putting these platforms and their communities into conversation.
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