This thesis set out to explore the identities formed by members of online fandom communities, and to determine the ways in which those identities affect their real life, offline identities. This qualitative study encountered elements related to stereo types of young women who are fans of mainstream pop music, and provided insight on their experiences through interviews with five long time boy band online fandom members. This study asked if fans prefer to keep their fandom identities internal or let them reflect outward, how one's online identity affects or translates to their real life identity, and what experiences in the online fandom were the most impactful to the individual's real life identity or led to new knowledge. It was revealed that online community platform is the place where fans gather to enjoy a similar passion, but it is the relationships and discussions held on the site between fans that truly affect an individual and their identity, rather than the more superficial elements of being in a fandom. Through fandom discourse, members found social support and solidarity with one another.
Ratka, Aimee, "Exploring Identities in Online Music Fandoms: How identities Formed in Online Fan Communities Affect Real Life Identities" (2018). Honors College Theses. 174.