Wizards, Muggles, and the Internet

Overview image of Wizards, Muggles, and the Internet
  • Portfolio piece: #7
  • Published: 2013
  • Created for: University of Maryland, University College (CMST 301 Digital Media & Society)
  • Capabilities: social media, digital media, culture, media convergence, user-generated content, fandom, writing, research

This project is available for download as a PDF.

This project was the final thesis paper for a course in media and culture I took in Spring 2013.

The course focused on the effect of emerging digital media technologies on both individuals and society, with a concentration on social media, participatory media, and local and global culture. The goal of the final thesis paper was to demonstrate a thorough understanding of society’s consumption of digital media by researching, analyzing, and presenting a comprehensive commentary on any topic related to social issues with digital media.

As a former organizer of a Harry Potter community and a speaker at an international conference in 2007, I selected Harry Potter fandom as the topic for my thesis. From the paper’s abstract:

Harry Potter fandom had taken the world by storm, and continues to grow even today, nearly six years after the release of seventh and final book, in part due to the influence of the internet and digital media. In the modern convergence culture, fans expect certain rights and permissions when interacting with the Harry Potter universe, but the original creators often have different expectations. Fan fiction and wizard rock are two forms of fan-made derivative works that have used the accessible nature of the internet to grow fandom, but are also not without their own issues.

The paper illustrated the rise of fandom based on the Harry Potter book series, analyzed user-generated content in relation to the fandom, discussed wizard rock and fan fiction, and presented ethical issues regarding intellectual property and adult content in fan-made materials.