The ‘fourth wall’ is an invisible barrier that separates actors from audience members in theatre. The fourth wall is a fanwork-based fandom that refers to an invisible “wall” of silence and pseudonyms. This shields fans from outside judgement. However, the Internet makes it easy to find fandom information. As more people join fandom, they learn about fandom. This pushes fandom closer to the mainstream. Creators of fandom-inspiring works, such as RPF (or Real Person Celebrity Fanfiction) and other fanwork, often find out about their fandoms.
Two interesting examples of the fourth wall breaking down this week showed how fandoms react to the possibility of being watched.
First, Tyler Seguin, a popular Boston Bruins forward, tweeted a link for Tyler Brown, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect.
The link took you to a pic-filled post, also known as picspam. It featured comments from online hockey fans and a link to an intro guide to the Tylers’ possible slash romance.
Seguin and his teammates have made slash comments about themselves before. Jesse Blacker, a Toronto Marlies hockey player, tweeted a link for a cute fanart of Seguin and Segs in July. He called it “awesome.”
This incident occurred just weeks after the Daily Dot had to stop an article about hockey fandom online and offline. The reaction of members of hockey fandom to the article as it was being written ranged from anger and fear to the blocking of Celebrity Fanfiction, previously made public. Although Seguin’s mention about the picspam appeared to be in good humor, many commenters deleted their comments so that Seguin and any of his 200,000 followers could not access their journals. rsadelle was also asked to delete his poster and remove the link to the beginner’s guide. Meanwhile, fans continued to secure links to their Celebrity Fanfiction on the Archive of Our Own, AO3, and elsewhere.
While debate raged within hockey fandom over the proper manner of “outing” fans as RPF writers, another corner of fandom saw a creator discover Celebrity Fanfiction and went on a search for more.
The film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones, has a huge following and won two awards at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and one Hugo. Jones was also excited when Alison Wilgus, an artist, tweeted about Moon Celebrity Fanfiction.
“Wow! Jones was delighted to share the link with his Twitter followers. Jones shared the link with his Twitter followers and then went to an AO3 fic that featured “lots of robot-feels” and “clone hugging”. He left Wildgoosery a thoughtful review.