Media, Communication, Digitalization
Touristic travel is an interruption of the everyday, yet people often engage with memories of past travels and imaginations of future travels extensively in their daily lives. The practice of tracing and sharing locations featured in South Korean television dramas is a good example. After a drama episode first airs, fans find and post directions to filming locations online within days. Over the next months, this information will be shared, copied, translated, collated, augmented, promoted, abandoned or forgotten, depending on the drama series’ popularity. Through interviews with dedicated Chinese- and English-language ‘location bloggers’, this paper examines how fans negotiate the tension between the personal motivations of imagining and memorialising own travel experiences, and the social rewards and demands of a growing readership. It argues that bloggers characterise their fan labour variously as ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ to maintain a flexibility that asserts their expertise, but also their autonomy from the wider fan community. Existing work on transcultural fan labour like fan subtitling emphasises collaborative work and the rewards afforded by the fan community. This paper presents location blogging as mostly individualised fan labour, where fans balance personal motivations with the rewards of recognition from others. It also presents a case on how linguistic barriers persist to reconfigure or reaffirm East and South East Asian national (and) cultural boundaries in online spaces.