April 19, 2003
Are weblogs the new Fanzines?

As I usually do when I visit Norway, I picked up the free, monthly culture-paper Natt og Dag. Their April-issue had an interesting article about so-called "fanzines" - more or less homemade (typewriter, scissors and glue, anyone?) magazines about anything the author cared to write about -- from manically extensive analysis of heavy metal rock-lyrics to trials of experimental drug abuse, via literature, politics and anything in between.

I found the article quite interesting, especially in the way I saw the parallells to one-man (or woman) / group-based web-publishing we see in the weblogging world today: fanzines as well as weblogs contain content added at the whim of a single or a small group of authors, not necessarily always sticking to a particular subject (e.g. by comparison no editors selecting / cutting / solliciting articles like there would be in a "proper" magazine/newspaper), fanzines as well as weblogs come and go (some last shorter times than others; some keep running). Neither fanzines nor weblogs have obvious sources of revenue covering anything except cost.

... is this just me, or do other people spot the similarity? Some fanzines have taken the jump from paper to the web: does this open up for a new branch of weblogging, or are webloggers just the online branch of the fanzine-tree?

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Jim Romenesko made the same connection in the Guardian, and I'm sure others have too... Not that that detracts from your observation at all, because it is an apt one.

What was great about fanzines was that they were cheap to make and everybody could get "published"... You just needed a small group of friends to help you. Still, they were usually rather geographically limited (because of lack of a distribution network), and even though cheap, there was still some cost involved... With weblogs you can reach the entire online world all by yourself, and it will only cost you the time it takes to type an entry.

It's probably the same phenomenon, but taken to a whole other level...

Posted by: Fredrik K.R. Norman on April 19, 2003 02:59 PM

I'm not clear on why you used the phrase "so-called" fanzines. do you not consider them real fanzines?

weblogs and other personal writing on the web do have a lot to do with perzines, the personal sort of fanzines. In fact, I did a print version of my online journal (but only managed one issue) to try to bring this connection to fanzine fans (of the traditional sf fannish fan variety) who weren't online at the time.


Posted by: Anita Rowland on April 19, 2003 06:14 PM

It's not just you.
It's for real.
It's just much bigger and greater.
Thanx for reminding me.

Posted by: Gunnar Langemark on April 28, 2003 04:38 PM
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