From Produsers to Shareaholics: Changing Models of Reader Interaction in Women’s Online Magazines
AbstractWomen’s online magazines have been constantly proliferating and increasingly supplanting print publications. Contributing to their success, these sites offer similar content free of change and significantly greater opportunities for interaction – often in the form of discussion forums. However, these interactive spaces are currently disappearing, being replaced by an ever-escalating emphasis upon social network sites (SNSs). This article critically examines this changing model of reader interaction in women’s online magazines, drawing on a study of 68 interviews with industry insiders, forum user-generated content, and a variety of trade material. The analysis demonstrates how the decision to close the forums and embrace SNSs responds to multiple determinants, including a corporate doctrine of control over users’ discourse and outsourcing new modalities of free consumer labour, constituting a new ideal worker-commodity online: “the shareaholic”. This exercise of power has varying levels of success, and potentialities remain for users to exercise some transformative subversion, for example through what the article theorises as “labour of disruption”. Nonetheless, the emergent SNS-based magazine model of reader interaction poses a serious challenge to ongoing celebrations both in the industry and in some scholarly work about an increasingly democratic and user-led digital media ecosystem.
tripleC is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal (ISSN: 1726-670X). All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Austria License.