The end of the semester is here, so it’s time for me to wrap up this project (at least for now). Though liveblogging is a very small component of what is happening today with television and online fan communities, I feel like it’s an important indicator of certain trends in both programming and audience participation. This project has really helped me to understand the state of television in our current culture of convergence, and, silly as it sounds, quelled any fears I may have had about television’s irrelevance or impending disappearance. I think the real gist of what I’ve been writing about in this blog goes back to Henry Jenkins’ statement that I quoted in my first post: “What we are now seeing is the hardware diverging while the content converges” (Jenkins 15). Of course it’s possible that someday we will all have one screen in each home, and that television will be completely programmable without even the option of spontaneous viewing. It’s even more possible that television will become like radio: background noise, occasionally tuned into but usually ignored in favor of more personalized viewing. Currently, though, I’m fascinated by the way that television programming and Internet fan communities are working together and influencing one another. I don’t doubt that we’ll continue to see new program formats and modes of audience participation in years to come.
Another interesting thing I’ve learned throughout this liveblogging investigation is how the Internet will affect the future of the field of audience reception studies. The reason I became interested in liveblogging was because while writing a paper on Mad Men audiences for another class, I discovered that liveblogs are a new way to get honest and spontaneous fan reactions to media. Where scholars used to have to mine archives and diaries for a single mention of a piece of media, now they can scroll through liveblogs for thousands of audience members’ reactions to television shows on their original air dates. Though audience reception scholars have already begun to use Internet forums and listserves in their studies, it’ll be interesting to see the influence liveblogs have. As I noted in a previous post, I see liveblogs (both single-blogger and live thread) as important because they are changing the way audiences and critics respond to television. We are no longer trying to stuff television into the same box as films. Liveblogging acknowledges that television is completely different due to its flow and open-ended nature. We now have a way to address that, and to me it makes the process of reading and writing about television that much more enjoyable.
In conclusion, then, I’m sure I’ll be reading and participating in liveblogs in the future, and I look forward to seeing the format evolve. Perhaps one day I’ll be approved by Jezebel, and then I’ll really get in the game.