Kingdoms of the Internet

Cover to Sam Maggs' The Fangirls' Guide to the GalaxyIn The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sam Maggs describes seven prominent “kingdoms” of the Internet: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and so on. Each of these realms is a locus for fandom, with its own “currency”—the thing that is valued or exchanged—as well its own rules and mores.

Fan communities cluster around more than just these seven kingdoms. And if we expand “fangirl” to mean any community that seeks to empower women around shared passions, there are even more kingdoms to consider. What online spaces are missing from Maggs’ list? YouTube is a surprising absence. Wattpad or other fanfic sites are other striking absences. What about wiki communities, if not Wikipedia itself? A case could be made for Snapchat. Or cam sites. Or even the dark web.

Magg’s list seems to be an implicit invitation to think about other online spaces as distinct realms where fans of all identities can geek out about what they love. That’s what this assignment is all about. It is divided into three parts: (1) an analysis of Maggs’ kingdoms, (2) your own contribution to the idea of fan kingdoms, and (3) a synthesis of your findings.

Part 1: Analysis

Carefully reread Maggs’ guide to “The Seven Kingdoms of the Internet.” Zooming out from the specific details she offers of individual Internet spaces, what sort of broad patterns emerge? In what ways does Maggs idealize the Internet? In what ways is she pragmatic? What assumptions does she make about fangirls and fandom? What sort of absences structure her argument?

Consider these and other questions as you analyze “The Seven Kingdoms of the Internet.” (500 words)

Part 2: A Missing Kingdom

Borrowing the voice and style of Maggs, identify and describe a new “kingdom” of the Internet. Your kingdom should have the following components:

  1. Kingdom Name and Icon
  2. Currency (which Maggs defines as “what sort of stuff you can share”)
  3. Terrain (what Maggs calls “the site’s main interface” though you can think of it as how the site arranges its contents)
  4. An overview of the kingdom (about 100 words)
  5. A list of tips, advice, etiquette, and warnings about the kingdom in 6-8 paragraph-length bullet points. (75-100 words per bullet point)

Part 3: Synthesis

Consider both your analysis of Maggs’ Internet kingdoms and your own contribution to the map of the Internet. What do you know now that you didn’t know before starting this project? What do you know now about fandom? About Internet culture? (500 words)

Criteria

The best projects will share the following characteristics:

  • Successfully mimic the tone and style of Maggs’ original guide to the Kingdoms of the Internet.
  • Explain what your kingdom has to do with fangirls or fandom, broadly conceived.
  • Offer non-obvious advice and suggestions about the kingdom that demonstrate you had a deep understanding of that online space’s community and values.

Other Details

  • Due in class on Wednesday, February 14.
  • Also shared as a Google Doc with masample@davidson.edu. I’ll copy Part 2 from your Google Doc and paste the contents to the course site.