Cultural porters and banyun in Chinese fandoms on Bilibili
Keywords:Content creator, Digital labor, Transnational media flow
Banyun is the grassroots transnational media flow of foreign media content on Chinese platforms, particularly Bilibili. In this case study, we explore the role of the practitioners of banyun, the "cultural porters," in relation to other fans and the original creators of the "transported" videos. We propose to understand banyun in Chinese online fandoms as a practice of partial storytelling through free digital labor, which shapes interpretative frameworks shared among fans and facilitates engagement with the fan object. We find that porters can transform their identities from fans to influencers with great fluidity, but they are also confined by negotiations of collaborative roles and boundaries of power with the original creators.
Copyright (c) 2023 Leiyuan Tian, Fan Liang
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