Fans’ Practice of Reporting: A Study of the Structure of Data Fan Labor on Chinese Social Media

Haoyang Zhai, Wilfred Yang Wang


Focusing on pop fans’ media practices of collective reporting, this study identifies fans’ role in the Chinese idol industry from the perspective of digital labor and the distribution of power within online fan communities. By analyzing 1,956 Weibo posts from eight online fan communities, this study found that the social influence of China’s fast-growing idol industry coincides with the rapidly advancing digital economy in which a hierarchical system exists in online fan communities. Fans who possess greater digital skills and industry knowledge have taken advantage of social media to become leaders in their communities to organize fan labor, and the efforts of ordinary fans are less noticeable and do not result in appropriate compensation.


social media, China, Weibo, digital labor, data fan, fandom

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