My name is Christina Maxwell and I am a second-year graduate student in the M.A. in Writing program at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. In addition to my two courses, I am currently teaching Intensive College Composition I for the fall semester. In whatever free time I do have, I love to watch television. One of my favorite television genres is those intensive primetime soapy-dramas. ABC has tons of them on their fall lineup, but my favorite (along with 10 million others) is the Thursday night hit, Scandal. The show quietly premiered in April 2012 with little-fan fare, but with a strong lead-out in Grey’s Anatomy and the powerful/most-talked about performances from lead Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn, a second-season was green lit a month later and the rest is history. In short, Scandal focuses on a crisis management firm: Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her crew of political “fixers.” Quickly the show evolved into a high-octane drama integrating Pope and her crew into the dirty deeds happening in the White House. A mole in the CIA! A rigged presidential election! A White House baby! Perhaps the most shocking twist of all: the electrifying affair between Olivia and yes, the President of the United States (Olitz!). It sounds over the top, but it works for viewers, specifically the passionate clan of Scandal fans known as Gladiators.
This semester I will be archiving tweets from Twitter that contain the hash tag #Gladiators that pertain to the show’s rabid fan base. The timing is nearly perfect as the highly anticipated third season of Scandal kicks off October 3. I will be archiving tweets using Martin Hawkey’s GoogleDrive integrated TAGS 5.0. The project is also tied in with my Writing for Electronic Communities course that I am enrolled in for the Fall 2013 semester.
My goal for this project is to see how fans react before, during and after an episode has aired. I want to know how Gladiators prepare all week for a new episode; I want to see their reaction to shocking twists, turns and cliffhangers and conversations about what could happen next. I have noticed that the cast of Scandal is dedicated to their fan base and refer to them on a daily basis about the show. I want to see how much of a role the actors play in this community. Simply put, I want to learn how this fan base operates because I’m a fan of the television show and I want to experience the ride with dedicated #Gladiators.
If you have any questions about this project or would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me at @CMaxwell_ on Twitter. I will be updating this page throughout the semester with what I have found in the study thus far and how I am coming along with the certain technology I am using for this study.
Update 12/2: While my Twitter Archive has kept me busy over the last few weeks, I am thinking about contacting various Scandal fan sites/web blogs to discuss their perception of the Gladiators community and their interest level in this fandom: Are they more concerned with the show or giving back to the fans? If not, I may try my hand at some fan fiction, using themes discussed from Textual Poachers.
In a few weeks, I will post a video presentation of all of my research findings. Be on the look out for that and a few more blog posts loosely related to Scandal.
Update 12/10: In addition to my research presentation, I created a wiki-page as a gift to the Gladiators fan community. The wiki page is a recap of all of the controversy surrounding the Scandal411 blogger. I encourage other Gladiators to participate by continuing to update the wiki page if there are any new developments in the coming weeks.
Update 12/24: Below is an PowerPoint presentation (with audio) that represents the last few months of my researching the #Gladiators and Scandal fan community. What I found was pretty interested: I didn’t just find people shouting out their Scandal beliefs, but I saw connectivity in fans looking for connections between the actors, writers and producers of the show (driven by the #AskScandal live-tweeting episode nights) and replies between fans. I found substantial tweeting: asking quality questions, theorizing about future episodes, etc. Please check out my Pecha Kucha 6:40 minute presentation below, any questions, feel free to send me a tweet.