Reading popular literature and digital media: Reading experience, fandoms, and social networks
Media and communication technology and its rapid development has had a revolutionary effect on the reading habits of readers and fans of popular literature. The main topic of this paper is “the new age readers”, especially their reading habits, interactions, fan activities and identity creation. Our purpose is to trace the transformations in reading habits that occur with digital media and social networks. We have conducted in-depth interviews with Slovenian and foreign readers, who view the Internet as an absolute necessity for reading popular literature products. The analysis shows that Slovenian readers who strongly connect reading activities with the Internet subsequently bring global fan activity trends, such as fan fiction and real person fiction, to Slovenia. There is also a strong support for an identity construction thesis and our findings are also congruent with the thesis of consumer tribes, since we argue that new age readers construct their identities in a weakly connected group of people, who prefer to communicate on different digital communication channels rather than in real life.