TPTB and Social Media

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Related terms: TPTB's Involvement with Fandom
See also: Fourth WallFandom and VisibilityFan Service
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Throughout fannish history, fandoms have had different levels of involvement with The Powers That Be, the creators of their source texts. TPTB's Involvement with Fandom has varied in intensity, taken on several forms, and had differing end results. In the era of social media, TPTB/fan interaction is much more normalised, and creators are more likely to want to cater to the whims of their fanbase (or to appear to cater to them) than to deter them. However, this leads to a different set of issues including problems like queerbaiting, fan service and Breaking the Fourth Wall.

Types of Interactions


From a 2002 blog post:

Fanfic is also dangerously illegal. When the stuff was distributed the old-school way, in xeroxed pamphlets at S.F. conventions, it was harder for companies to crack down on it. Now that most fanfic is on the Web, however, bored attorneys can do a Google search and come up with 16 potential lawsuits in 10 minutes. [1]

Using Social Media Exposure for a Cause

In the 2010s, many fans have begun communicating to The Powers That Be via Facebook, Twitter &c., supporting their favorite slash pairings and suggesting storylines in which they could be made canon. They make strong arguments in favor of establishing relationships between male stars in shows with fannish appeal; science fiction and fantasy, magic realism, "buddy cop" shows and action-adventure series. These fans often cite the need for more visible LGBTQ characters on television, making their petitions in terms of a call for visible diversity rather than a personal obsession or kink.

This has particularly been the case with Supernatural. Fans claiming to be LGBTQ, or to be supportive of same, have lobbied heavily for canon relationships between Dean and Sam Winchester, and especially for Dean and the angel Castiel (Misha Collins). Dean has had relationships with women in the past, especially Cassie (Megalyn Echikunwoke), to the chagrin of slash shippers. When Castiel had romance with a woman (April Kelly, played by Shannon Lucio) at the end of season 9, negative fan response pinned the meters. WB executive Chad Kennedy's Twitter account blew up after he said that the producers had not intended for either Dean or Castiel to be bisexual. He clarified that he did not write the show; that no one had pitched him an episode in which the male leads had romance with one another; but that he would not rule it out if such a script did come to him. [2]

Sherlock has received similar attentions from fans, including online petitions, but creator Steven Moffat says he has no intention of allowing the famous pair to consummate their relationship physically. [3]

See also