Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.
Júlia Dariva is a senior majoring in English Language and Literature at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) in Brazil. Currently on the third year of her research internship, her interests focus on the intersections between fan productions, Queer Theory, and Linguistics. Today, Júlia talks about her article in issue 35 of Transformative Works and Cultures.
How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?
I’m actually not sure whether this was something that existed outside of Brazil, but when I was a pre-teen in the late 2000s we had this social media website called Orkut, which worked sort of like Facebook does, I think, in the sense that you created a profile for yourself so you could interact with friends and join communities. There were communities for all sorts of stuff — from “I hate typing errors” to “never have I ever died before” to “I’ve never used a whole eraser” and whatnot — and the communities you were in would show up at the bottom of your profile, so the ones you chose to be part of worked very much as ways to describe yourself to your friends.
Among the communities you could join, a lot were dedicated to the discussion of different characters, shows, celebrities, etc. In these, people would engage in fan activities such as writing meta, sharing their video editing, role playing, and writing fan fiction, for example. There were communities dedicated to fan fiction writing in general, too, where you would find more or less random assortments of fandoms.
Though some fan fiction authors would post their work from their real-life profiles, I believe the majority of us would interact in these communities through what we called “fakes”, which were basically role-playing profiles made up of random names and pictures of different characters and/or celebrities.