The topic for my undergraduate dissertation was:
What is the relationship between film studios and online fan activity: A study of Warner Brothers and the Harry Potter franchise.
Fans have existed in various forms for an arguably long period of time. But the modern day definition, specifically those associated with the entertainment industry, are becoming increasingly a subject of academic debate and criticism. Once again, I am not going to bore you with the theory, if you want to the read the thesis all you have to do is ask.
The most significant aspect that sticks with me is the participatory culture it encourages. These are activities attributed to active fans, so we must be sure not generalise all fans with the same brush. But the ability to make short stories, videos, artwork, gifs, drawings, songs, musicals, spoofs, etc. around a literary fiction, a musician, a football time, a film will always continue to fascinate me. I do engage with some of these activities, but I also appreciate the analysis of why we do such things.