Episode 3: What’s the Deal With Wattpad?

Episode 3’s cover, reading “What’s the deal with Wattpad?”

In this episode, we interview Aron Levitz and Samantha Pennington of Wattpad, and try to answer the question: what IS the deal with that platform?! Topics covered include noobs, the fan-to-pro pipeline, whether it’s weird to read fanfic on your phone, and Flourish’s newfound love of One Direction.


Show Notes

Note: When this episode was first released, it featured covers of One Direction songs that were not CC licensed or in public domain. It’s been edited to change the music, but there are still references to the old music in the audio. Apologies!

[00:00:00] As always, our intro music is “Awel,” by Stefsax, used under a CC BY 2.5 license.

[00:02:03] This is true and 100% not an exaggeration. There was not a lot of Harry Potter fanfiction available in 1998.

[00:05:32] Aron Levitz: @AronIsHere on Twitter and Wattpad!

[00:07:49] This is the moment where we realize that we set the levels on this to make female voices audible and Aron is just too deep and quiet. SORRY, ARON.

[00:17:03] “Feral” fans is a controversial term.

[00:21:04] The interstitial music is “Groddle Theme” from the game Glitch, which is in the public domain.

[00:21:23] Samantha Pennington: @sammietutu on Twitter, sammietutu on Tumblr, and samantha on Wattpad!

[00:32:02] Di & I is by Peter Lefcourt.

[00:37:51] Here is the Gillian Anderson tag on Tumblr for your viewing pleasure.

[00:38:38] The interstitial music is “Groddle Theme: Dreamland Mix” from the game Glitch, which is in the public domain.

[00:41:02] Read Flourish’s fanfic Just For The Cameras.

[00:44:07] Anna Todd’s interview with Thought Catalog.

[00:51:45] “Beatlemania, Beliebers, Directioners—why do they scream?" by Chris Richards.

[00:51:58] Two counterpoints to that WaPo article: Elizabeth’s takedown of dudes who aren’t cool with freaking out about Zayn leaving 1D and That Hairpin Article About How Hysteria Is Constructed, Also Did You Know That The Word Hysteria Is Literally About Wombs, Like Hysterectomy.

[00:54:38] The outro is “Groddle Theme: Snappy Mix” from Glitch, which is in the public domain.


[Intro music]

Flourish Klink: Hey, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish.

FK: Hello audience! Welcome to Fansplaining! It’s the podcast—

ELM: [laughs] Oh, I just talked over it. Wait—welcome to Fansplaining. Episode three.

FK: It’s the podcast by, for, and about fandom, and today I have a very important question on my mind, which is, “What the hell is up with Wattpad?”

ELM: That is not the title of the episode, Flourish. It is, “What’s the Deal With Wattpad?” It doesn’t have profanity in the title.

FK: OK, you’re right.

ELM: When you say it in a comical way: “What’s the Deal With Wattpad?”

FK: I can’t say that and sound like I really mean it [laughter]. What is the deal with Wattpad?

ELM: Yeah, what is the deal with it? Despite our very flippant introduction, this is a... I don’t want to say serious, I don’t want you to stop listening right now, but this is a deep look at Wattpad, which is a reading and writing platform and social media site.

FK: That happens to have a bunch of fanfiction on it, but—

ELM: Like a ton of fanfiction—

FK: —fanfiction that has a totally different culture than the fanfic culture that I, at least, grew up in, and I don’t know what that is. Even though some of my friends are on it, and love it, I’m a total newbie, and I think Elizabeth is a little bit, too.

ELM: Did you just say ‘newbie’? And not ‘noob’?

FK: I did.

ELM: What are you, a... noob? [laughter] So we’re going to be talking to two people from Wattpad. The first person is Aron Levitz, who is…

FK: Head of business development.

ELM: Yeah, head of business development at Wattpad. He was on our panel at San Diego Comic-Con. The lone man on the panel.

FK: Brave man.

ELM: Yeah. I mean... you know, whatever. Men.

FK: Men.

ELM: No offense, Aron! #notallmen. And then we’ll be speaking with Samantha Pennington, who I also met at Comic-Con, just not on a panel, as did you, whose title is Community Engagement...

FK: Specialist?

ELM: Specialist for fanfiction!

FK: And...

ELM: Which sounds exciting.

FK: It does sound exciting, and I’m pretty sure that her job is to read fanfic, and I want that job.

ELM: I wish that was my job.

FK: Don’t we all.

ELM: Though, you know... think about all the bad fanfiction you’d have to read. Would that be annoying?

FK: Well, you’re speaking to the woman who once had read every piece of Harry Potter fanfiction on the internet, whether she wanted to or not, so...

ELM: Yeah, think of all the bad fanfiction you read.

FK: Um... I don’t know. I mean, there’s usually something to like in every story.

ELM: Nope.

FK: [raucous laughter] And that’s the literature major, folks.

ELM: [laughter] Look. There’s a lot of stories... there’s a lot of written communication, particularly in the age of the web, that’s not great. It’s true! I’m not saying that everything needs to be prize-winning literature. I’m saying there are things that are literally... I’m talking about comments sections and Facebook, too. There are things that are literally impossible to read, because they are not written with even remotely correct grammar. So you’re like, “I don’t know what this says. I don’t know what these words are together.”

FK: That is—

ELM: Just face facts, Flourish.

FK: That’s true, but... it’s pretty rare, actually, unless you’re on the Pit of Voles, that you get fanfic that’s that bad.

ELM: I’m going to send you—I’m just going to arbitrarily search, I’m going to send you a hundred stories that are impossible to read…

FK: Anyway! So I have a lot of questions about what Wattpad is...

ELM: What are those questions, Flourish?

FK: I... have some [laughter] ideas about it. I feel like it’s probably for the teens. And...

ELM: Do you mean the youngs?

FK: I mean the youngs.

ELM: Uh huh, uh huh.

FK: I really should say the millennials, but technically I’m a millennial, so—

ELM: You’re more of a millennial than me.

FK: I am, in fact, officially a millennial.

ELM: You are two years younger than me, and I am still well within the millennial range.

FK: Yeah. So I think it’s for the youngs, is the right word to use. And I also have the impression that it is full of fanfic that is very tropey, and very wish-fulfillment, which... I have mixed feelings about that!

ELM: Yeah, what if it is? What’s the problem with that?

FK: I don’t know!

ELM: Judgey.

FK: I think I am judgey.

ELM: You just said—you just judged me for saying that not all written communication on the internet was good.

FK: I am the master of doublethink.

ELM: [laughs] Oh, is that that thing from that book that I haven’t read?

FK: Yes. That is that thing from that book that you haven’t read. Thank you for noticing my shade. I though it was pretty good shade.

ELM: Uh huh, that was good, that was nice. [laughter]

FK: In any case, my point being that I realized when we started doing this, when we said we were going to have Aron and Samantha on, that I don’t have positive feelings towards Wattpad in certain ways. Because it feels like a different community, and one I’m not a part of, and one that has—maybe aesthetics that are different than my fanfic aesthetics usually are? I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting to hear them talk about it, and I think I’m going to commit to exploring it more and actually giving it a chance, and trying to figure out, really, what that community is about.

So, I think that we should welcome Aron Levitz from Wattpad to our show!

ELM: Thanks for coming on!

Aron Levitz: Hey guys. Thanks for having me.

ELM: So, Aron, what’s your role at Wattpad?

AL: So, my title is very fancy. I’m Head of Business Development.

ELM: Ooh, fancy.

AL: Yeah, doesn’t it sound really good?

ELM: Yeah.

AL: I get extra business cards made, just to leave them around, so someone will know me. [laughter] But what that entails at Wattpad and at most start-ups? It’s a lot of things. Part of that is: hey, how do we work better with other technology platforms, like the Googles and Apples of the world? But a good part of what I do is taking what we do at Wattpad and figuring out how that works with the entertainment industry, either from a Wattpad standpoint, or with respect to our writers. How can we be a bridge, and have better ties, and give different avenues for our writers on our platform? And access to our readers as well.

ELM: We’re working from a place of assumption that people listening will have some passing knowledge of Wattpad. It might be good… even for my own clarification, I know it didn’t start out as a fanfiction place...

AL: Absolutely not.

ELM: But fanfiction... came to it...

FK: Any place that is open to it— [laughter]

ELM: —a big open writing space... literally any place. And I don’t know, I’m wondering how— what was the trajectory and the timeline of that kind of shift?

AL: For sure. It’s actually a really interesting background. It was founded by two gentlemen, Ivan and Alan. They had worked together at another company, and decided they were going to try something new. And it started in 2006, so that’s what, eight, nine years ago now. And it started because they wanted to read, just read, on their little candy-bar Nokia black-and-white I-look-like-a-calculator phones. And that was really where it started.

FK: Wow, that’s a lot earlier than I thought. I guess my first consciousness of it was… it was several years back, but it wasn’t nine years back.

AL: In those early days, first of all, it was a mobile-only experience, which has always differentiated us. Even today, 90% of our users are mobile—if you look at the other archives out there, their mobile experiences are fan-created at best, or nonexistent on the other side. So that’s something that actually does set us apart quite a bit.

But because we started in that mobile world, it wasn’t really until you get into iPhone and Android becoming so successful that really helped to fuel our growth. I won’t say that’s the only thing. It wasn’t probably until about four years ago, a little over four years ago—we’re closing our first round of funding, where the growth really started to go absolutely crazy.

You saw some weird things in the early days, where our founders would sit down together—and when it started, it was literally only for reading, they added writing eventually—and they’d sit down together and go, “Hmmm, what should we do with this? We have a thousand users, what should we do?” And then all of a sudden they go back, and they have 300,000 users in Vietnam, because the whole country—a good portion of the country flocked there as a place for free expression. And then all of a sudden it grows around the world: UK, US, we’re at 40-plus million users every month now, that span the globe. A lot of that is on the back of mobile, it’s been in increased functionality on our side, the ability for people to write their own pieces...

Because our growth happens organically, it’s been almost 100% completely organic growth, meaning we’re not taking out ads places, or marketing us. We just have grown, and the reason that is is we fill the spot that wasn’t filled in the social networking universe, right? If YouTube is for video, and Soundcloud then came along, and that was for audio, there wasn’t a place for writers to really collaborate on any kind of writing.

There are specific fandom archives, there are specific romance archives, there are specific sci-fi writing contests, and there’s NaNoWriMo—but there wasn’t a place for a conversation to continue around writing all the time, where stories can grow and have their own kind of ethos and gravitas to them, and that’s what attributed a lot to our growth. You talk about mobile and all those other things, but we really filled the need—it’s almost counter-intuitive, right? Video was probably the hardest thing to start with on the interwebs. And text might’ve been easier from a technical standpoint, but we got to capture that part, which has been really quite amazing.

FK: So, you guys see yourselves as a site that is about writing holistically, and you happen to have a big fandom component to it, but it’s more of a, “Hey, this is where all writing can live, and all writing can connect with the entertainment industry stuff, if you want to…”?

AL: Absolutely. So when our founders set out, they didn’t go, “We’re going to have one of the biggest fanfiction communities on the interwebs.” They said, “We’re going to have—we’re going to create the best place for people to share, read, write, and love stories, and storytelling.” And what we found was that fanfiction… started happening. And has grown.

FK: As it will!

AL: As it will. I think what we’ve come to learn is that if we do something for the general writing population, it’s good for the fanfiction writing population. We actually don’t dissect the two. We say, “fanfiction writer”—we don’t say “fanfiction writer” or “writer,” they’re just “writers,” everyone’s a writer. If their subject is fanfiction versus sci-fi, original sci-fi, great. But they’re all writers.

So if we do updates or something, it’s good for all writers, that’s great. But what we’ve learned is that fanfiction writers actually have different features, functionality, that’s important to them, from where they grew up. Whether it was from AO3, whether it was from fanfiction.net, whether it was from Tumblr, LiveJournal, whatever: while all things for writers are good for fanfiction, it’s not always the other way around. There’s some functions that make more sense for fanfiction that don’t necessarily make sense for romance, so—

FK: What’s an example?

AL: How tagging works. How you grew up with tagging, where, I’m trying to think of the best example...

FK: Yeah! We expect that if we want to see, like, mpreg that’s about a threesome between Mulder, Scully, and Skinner, then we can just go and find it!

AL: So the good example is, if you’re omegaversing out next week for some reason, and you want omega/alpha stuff, that omega and alpha would’ve been two separate words. Now you can put that into a single tag, so you can search omega/alpha. Which is a really weird example to use...

ELM: Yeah, kinda the weirdest.

FK: Multiple word tagging is really important to fandom, and no one else cares.

AL: Yeah, it’s less important, right? It’s things that we’re learning from there, and then what you find out is: actually it is good for all writers anyway.

FK: Right, they just don’t have a mandate, because everybody doesn’t recognize it as something that’s good for them.

AL: Exactly. And I think that the digital history of the traditional writing community is very different. I remember reading fanfiction on BBSes in the early 90s. The two things grew up in very different ways. So it wasn’t like we pivoted and said, “Now we have to go after fanfiction!” Fanfiction came, and now, the really fun part of my job is getting reassociated with that part of my life, learning how we can service that group on our platform in different ways.

FK: One of the things that’s been interesting with Wattpad, coming from the fandom side, is seeing how there have been other companies that have been for-profit companies that have come in and not succeeded at all—in terms of, fandom being like, “No, we reject you entirely. You’re making money. We don’t like you.” Wattpad is for profit, and although some people are suspicious, especially who are older fans who come from a very anti-commercial mindset—I think most people find Wattpad to be totally, “Cool, whatever, they’re doing their thing.”

ELM: But don’t you think, and Aron, I’d be curious to know your perception of this: I don’t get the sense that Wattpad is taking fanfiction people away from the places that they would be otherwise. Your AO3 reader and writer isn’t decamping to Wattpad—I get the sense that it’s bringing huge swaths of new people who wouldn’t be on any other place into this sphere. Because it’s such an accessible community. And it’s got a very young audience... I don’t know.

AL: I would gather it’s probably not too much different than other fandom sites. I don’t know for sure. Our audience, 85% of them are 13-30. We have a vast percentage that are 13-18. To answer your question, Elizabeth, are people decamping from AO3, or fanfiction.net, and only writing on Wattpad? To be honest, we don’t track that; I can’t say. Now, I do know we have lots of people who have been writing on AO3, and who’ve come over and loved Wattpad. Same with fanfiction.net. I mean, call a spade a spade, right? Fanfiction.net is a for-profit company, too!

FK: It is! But people don’t think it is, which is weird.

AL: It absolutely is, right? It’s an ad-supported site. It’s run by two people instead of the 115 we have, and they have not raised money, but they’re a for-profit site.

I think a lot of them come to our site, who are writing on these other sites, who are either community funded or smaller in purview, and we have a lot of amazing functionality and refinement that that doesn’t… especially from a reader standpoint. Being able to read well on mobile now is really important. 90% of our usage is on mobile. That means there’s a definitive need to read on your phone and your tablet, and mostly phone in our case. The other platforms necessarily can’t support that, so I think they’re finding their readership can be quite interesting, and the interaction around it is solid.

Now Elizabeth, to your point, we are getting new fans in to fandom—they might not even know what the word fandom is, and—

ELM: Yeah.

AL: Actually, that comes from—I know we talk a lot about, in fandom, the passing down, the oral history—

FK: Yeah!

AL: —of how things happen. That group’s actually helping teach them some of the history of what is the veracity of a ship versus… [laughter] I can’t believe I just used the term “veracity of a ship,” but that kind of thing gets talked about. I think we are finding traditional fanfic writers who are writing on other platforms really loving what they’re finding on Wattpad, which is either new communities, better functionality, a great community—that positivity that doesn’t happen in fandom all the time.

And, better yet, a community that stands up in a positive way. So what I mean by that is: it’s the internet and a troll can exist anywhere on the internet that it wants to exist, but on average, if that happens, the love that the readership has for the writer takes far more control than that troll will have, ever. If you compare it to YouTube or something, where—

FK: Right.

AL: —where there are many bridges for them to live under.

ELM: Well, is it still true that—I remember reading a couple of years ago that the writer of a Wattpad story can delete any comment. So if someone is harassing you, or is being a jerk...?

AL: Yup.

ELM: So—

AL: Absolutely.

ELM: That’s interesting. I brought it up on our panel, there was a big controversy about people leaving negative feedback on stories on AO3 earlier this year.

FK: Yeah, because of the way that different fandoms have treated that, and the way that it’s evolved over the years, which is interesting. I feel like one of the things that strikes me about Wattpad is about having been in fandom a long time. There’s some anxieties about the younger fans on Wattpad, among older fans, I think. But it’s funny because that same process has been repeated again and again.

ELM: Yeah.

FK: When Harry Potter fans started showing up, people were anxious about Harry Potter, because there are these new, like, feral [said “fear-al”] fans. And Elizabeth is going to make fun of the way I said feral, because I always say things wrong.

ELM: No that’s right! You say that word right.

FK: Finally! [laughter]

AL: What? It’s not “fair-al”? Why has no one told me this?

ELM: WAIT. Is it “fair-al”??


AL: Aren’t you like a—

FK: I’m always saying things and Elizabeth always makes fun of me—

ELM: No, you’re Canadian, we can’t trust you on pronunciation.

FK: Anyway, so— [laughter] the point being—

AL: If anyone knows feral, it’s us Canadians, first of all.

FK: The point being, though, that people said this about Harry Potter fans, and then they had this about Twilight fans.

ELM: Oh yeah.

FK: And then every time there’s a new sort of big thing, or a new big group of people who show up in fandom, and weren’t previously in fandom, fandom freaks out a little bit.

AL: I think Supernatural is always a really interesting fandom to me, because as it’s spanned 10, 11 years, it’s still going. People have already, I don’t know if the term is “aged out,” but have left the fandom—new people are coming in all the time. So that one is one I like to watch as the ongoing history of fandoms, the colliding of the young versus the old. You can go read anything from “Dean Winchester is my father,” because the girls now look at him as an old dude, who are coming into the fandom, to, “Oh, Dean Winchester’s my brother!” because back six years ago—

FK: Totally!

AL: —when it started being a write-in, you know, that’s how old Dean Winchester looked to these people.

ELM: Ahhh, “Dean Winchester’s my father,” that’s so good!

AL: —that’s a really interesting‚—

FK: When it started I was in college, and Sam was in college. I was like, “Aw, Sam and Dean!”

ELM: Yeah, now you could be someone’s father, you’re so old. [laughter]

AL: We find that really interesting, but again, because of the nonjudgmental way Wattpad kind of treats its community, I think it’s almost a safer environment for people to be able to interact around new things. Some of our biggest writers started writing on Wattpad because they just felt it was safe. They’re like, “I can do that.” And it wasn’t a big deal to start writing, it’s not like you have to be... the term “betaing,” that doesn’t really happen on Wattpad. You write raw. Everyone expects there to be errors, and the pronoun “you” can sometimes be one letter. That’s fine, because it’s about raw love and emotion of a topic that you want to write about.

So because of even how the writing happens, because of the way it’s serialized, it really has broken down barriers for people who may be intimidated in other places, where there’s definitively hierarchies in some cases—of who and what you can write, and when you can write it.

FK: That’s really interesting. Betaing, as an idea, and the editing process, as being something that’s instantiated as a barrier for people entering fanfic fandom in some other sites, it sounds like? I hadn’t thought of that.

AL: It’s something that I’ve learned, too. Because when I used to write, that wasn’t a concept. But on our side, the editing process is an ongoing process. I mean, to the point where you can comment on specific paragraphs on Wattpad—we call it “inline commenting” because we’re super fancy, it’s a clever name, right? Someone can say, “Oh, I love this paragraph—by the way, you missed a comma.”

So it’s an ongoing process instead of—no one expects it to be perfect the day of. To the point where if you look at some of our biggest stories like After, which was written by this woman, Anna Todd—it was a One Direction fanfiction, has about 1.3 billion reads on Wattpad now. We helped her sign a publishing deal; that’s what she wanted to do, she had aspirations for that. It exists now, it’s a New York Times bestseller, but people still come back online to read it, it’s still there for free, because it’s such a different experience. Because it isn’t that polished, edited, published piece from Gallery Press.

FK: So it’s a different aesthetic, it sounds like.

AL: Yeah, it’s definitely a different literary aesthetic. It’s not meant to be that polished novel, day one, on Wattpad. And they grow into it. You’ll see lots of writer notes going, “Oh, I’m in the middle of rewriting.” Or they’ll literally rewrite a book as a separate story because they’re working with an editor at that point. So they’ll leave the original work up, almost like a raw manuscript.

FK: I really hate to say it, but I think we’re running out of time. So we’ll have to have you on again really soon. Aron, thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been awesome.

ELM: Yeah, thank you.

AL: Guys, I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for having me on. This has been a ton of fun.

[Interstitial music]

ELM: All right! We’re super excited to have a second guest from Wattpad with a somewhat different role. We’re super excited to welcome Samantha Pennington, who is the... Sam, what’s your title?

Samantha Pennington: Community engagement specialist for fanfiction.

ELM: Wow. That sounds like a title I want.

FK: That’s a fancy title.

AL: It’s pretty wild.

ELM: So we have super important questions to ask you, but obviously the only thing that matters is: how was the One Direction concert last night?

SP: The One Direction concert last night was almost a spiritual experience. It was honestly just pure magic to watch those boys perform. And then they released the new video today, so...

ELM: Oh my God.

SP: It’s been a while, 24 hours.

ELM: I’m so jealous—so many nice fandom things are happening for you right now.

FK: It’s a really cute video, too. I loved it, actually. I was like, “I think this is the song that maybe helps me, an old, get One Direction.”

SP: Yup.

FK: And my friends who are older than me and love 1D were like, “You’re not an old and we hate you. But we love you because now you’re into 1D.” And I was like, “I guess.”

ELM: As of this morning you’re into... it’s like 6:30 in the morning where you are. You’ve already become a One Directioner?

FK: I... some of my friends were very excited about that video. [laughter]

ELM: OK. Let’s ask you some official questions.

SP: Sure!

ELM: “Community engagement specialist for fanfiction.” I’m guessing that you read a lot of fanfiction before you started this job.

SP: I did—

ELM: Is that... true?

SP: —read a lot of fanfiction before I started this job. Like a lot of millennials, I think Harry Potter really got me hooked into fanfiction and fan culture and all that kind of stuff. Then I did a little bit of roleplaying on different Harry Potter forums, There were these really old ProBoards forums. I don’t know if you guys remember those?

FK: Oh yes.

SP: I role-played on those for probably four years or so, maybe throughout high school? And then it was actually my fannish behaviors that got me an interview at Wattpad. Just what I had been doing on social media, and being up to date on pop culture, and celebrities. It’s gone from just a regular fangirl to a professional fangirl, which is super exciting, obviously.

FK: Yeah, what has that transition been like?

SP: Honestly, it’s been very smooth, and I feel like working at Wattpad has only bolstered my fangirling. Seeing the sheer abundance of fanfiction on Wattpad, and seeing these new fandoms that I’ve never heard of, or different trends pop up—I think that actually incited more fannishness in me, because I want to learn about these things. I want to know what they are. I want to be a part of it. It’s been good.

ELM: It’s so funny, because I feel like as I started being a fan—you had your own fannish experiences and now you’re doing this on a broader level, and it makes you more excited? About fan stuff. But since I’ve started being a journalist and looking at fandom on a broader level, I’ve just gotten way more cynical. And annoyed...

SP: Oh, I feel similarly. I feel like I’m on the descent of becoming an acafan, and really just being super cynical about everything.

FK: Yeah. I’m really curious about what your workday is like. What does your job actually entail?

SP: So my workday, as you can probably guess, involves a lot of reading. I do a lot of content curation, so finding really good fic, sort of undiscovered gems, and finding new and interesting ways to showcase that content. It is kind of hard sometimes to be able to find the sort of niche things that you’re looking for, so bringing the great stories to the forefront is a big part of what I do.

ELM: How do you do that? Sorry to interrupt, but I’m just curious. Do you just randomly browse? Or do you have some way of searching...

FK: Yeah, what’s your strategy for gem-finding? Because I could use this skill.

SP: I hardcore browse. I have a lot of different strategies that I use. I search by tags. I search by titles. I search by mature, not-mature content. I search through other people, so if I find someone who I think has really good taste, I’ll sort of explore their network and see who they’re following. I explore their reading lists and things like that, other peoples’ curation. It does get kind of hard.

FK: You should create like a how-to video.

ELM: If you’re allowed to put it in a Tumblr post.

FK: Advice on how to find that one thing that you don’t know exists, but you really want to read.

So what’s different? I mean I know that there must be specific things that are different about Wattpad beyond the just sort of interface, in terms of the way that you find fic and the way that people interact with each other around it, on Wattpad. What are those, is the question!

SP: So, what’s different...? [laughter]

FK: That’s the question. There is a question in there!

SP: I think the thing about Wattpad is that it’s very, very open, so it literally is for everyone, anyone can use it. Fun story: I actually recently was helping a Toronto writer who’s 78-years-old, helping her upload her story onto Wattpad, so that was really cool for me. I think the openness—

FK: Was it fanfic?

SP: It was not fanfic.

FK: Aw.

SP: But it was still very cool. Also, the sort of interactivity that exists on Wattpad is a little bit different from other fan communities. I think inline commenting is one of my favorite features, so you can actually comment on a specific sentence, or phrase, or paragraph that really stood out to you. It’s cool to see those behaviors develop.

And I also think with Wattpad—it’s simultaneously a challenge, but also something that’s really fascinating: there are a lot of new trends that are created without any knowledge of older fandom lore, and that kind of thing. So you’re seeing sort of new behaviors be carved out, and I’m simliar to you guys, where we’re rooted in the old fannish behaviors from LiveJournal and places like that. It’s sometimes challenging because you want to teach them the old ways, you want to educate them about fandom history and things like that, but they’re also so open that they’re creating—fanfiction that’s a texting story, so it’s texting back and forth, which is really interesting, or there’s a ton of real person fiction, which was not super popular when I was at my fannish peak, which is also interesting.

I think back to when I was at my most fannish, and I was probably 15 or 16, that was when I was doing the majority of my internetting. I think it’s kind of a cool thing that there are so many young people, because I love seeing young people writing, and I love seeing young people write well. And I love that there are actually opportunities for them to take it to the next level, if they so choose.

ELM: I wonder if that actually can be a good thing, though, because on the flip-side, I feel like the kind of gatekeeping negativity you can see, “This is how we’ve done it”—

FK: Yeah. “This is how we’ve always done it, you need to learn, you need to come and…”

ELM: Maybe you don’t want those people in there, and that’s—

SP: I kind of agree—

FK: Translation: I don’t know that you want me. You might not want me.

ELM: You don’t want Flourish.

SP: We definitely want you! We definitely want you.

FK: I’m curious about within Wattpad—one of the ways that it’s definitely not like other communities, we were talking about with Aron, other fanfic communities, is that it’s original fiction and fanfiction together. And from my position as the official old man of this podcast, I’ve actually wondered, how is the dynamic between—is there a division between original fic writers and fanfic writers? Because my association with that is very combative. It felt combative when I was a #teen; at that point it was still a sort of contested relationship. Is it just chill? Do people just not see a difference?

SP: I actually do think it’s very chill, from my experience. Again, when Wattpad was first founded, it was not expected to be a place for fanfiction. It was something that just took off in a really crazy and substantial way—there was so much organic growth that it just became this thing. I think the dynamic between original fiction writers and fanfiction writers is really fascinating, because you can kind of see how the abundance of fanfiction, or their exposure to fanfiction, has actually influenced them to maybe try their hand at it.

I’ve seen a lot of original writers… there’s this screenwriter who was just so fascinated by fanfiction as an entity that he actually wrote a Lady Gaga fanfiction, and it was super cool and very dark and edgy. So I think the lines are beginning to blur, and I think it’s actually a positive thing, because there are a lot of similarities between fanfiction and original fiction, and I think for a long time people have really wanted to keep them separate—but I think having that flow is actually a good thing for both.

ELM: Do you think that that gets thorny, or will get thorny in the future? This is maybe not a question that is actually what your job focuses on, but there are so many publishing deals coming out of Wattpad, and plenty of them are coming out of fanfiction, and it’s legally kind of a super murky space. I’m wondering if you see that being a problem down the line—if there is a blurred line between original and fanfic, and then especially since so much of the fic coming out of Wattpad that’s getting sold is RPF...

FK: But actually, I think RPF is legally the least difficult—

ELM: No, I was just talking to this fic writer who’s a lawyer, and she said actually RPF can get very murky.

FK: Well, I’m sure it can, but you’re not dealing with—

ELM: Let’s get her on to talk about the law and her great AUs.

FK: We should have her on to talk about the law, but this is the moment where I get to talk about my favorite ever non-fanfic fanfic, which is a book called Di and I. It was a summer beach read for a hot second in the 90s, and it is a book about Princess Diana marrying a screenwriter from Hollywood, and eventually managing a McDonalds in the Valley.

SP: That sounds amazing.

FK: It was amazing.

ELM: This is like a total Mary Sue then, right? Like it’s written by the man who’s a screenwriter?

FK: Oh, and he’s very conscious of that. It’s really funny.

ELM: Does he have purple eyes and special powers and stuff? Classic Mary Sue.

FK: Uh, no, it’s more—

SP: Ebony hair!

FK: —kind of male Mary Sue, very self-consciously sort of about the male writer who’s like Philip Roth. Everything that he writes is about himself, but... anyway, there was coming out of that a real question. I think this is the episode where I admit all of the stereotypes I have in my head about Wattpad. From an outsider’s view, to me, it feels like a really formative part of the community is that there is a fan-to-pro pipeline, and it feels like that’s really central to the Wattpad community. Do you think that that’s true, or do you think that that’s just like, “Well, there’s this incidental thing where you can do that, but the heart of the community is somewhere else”?

SP: Again, I think writers come on to Wattpad for many different reasons. Some definitely have that aspiration to become published, or to make money. I think others are coming purely for self-expression or for entertainment or for an outlet where they can share stories and have fun with their friends. In terms of the fan-to-pro pipeline, if you’re looking for that, you can have those opportunities. But if not, you can also just geek out or write purely for the love of fandom. But I think that it is a nice part of Wattpad that there are opportunities for writers, and you can write for brands and get paid to do so. I think that is a plus for writers, for sure, but I don’t necessarily think that it’s—

FK: Within the community, it’s not a hot topic particularly.

SP: Yeah, it’s not endgame, you know what I mean? It’s definitely not endgame for everyone.

FK: I wonder if I’m writing on Wattpad… do people talk about that in their reviews?

ELM: “This should totally be a novel! This should be a movie!”

SP: I think people do do that—

ELM: Do people say that?

SP: —but it’s more just them... fangirling. “I need to see this as a TV show, I need to see this as a movie.” And again, some people don’t have those aspirations, right?

FK: Right.

SP: Sometimes it’s just like, “Oh, I’m just writing this for fun, and I’m just goofing off.” It’s definitely not a crucial aspect of the community, it’s not at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

ELM: Source of wank?

SP: Yeah, yeah. I don’t think it’s a source of wank.

FK: Because I have to say, that if that had been dropped into the middle of the Harry Potter [fandom]... uh, it sort of was. [laughter] If that had been dropped into the middle of the Harry Potter fandom way back when, that would’ve been the bomb that destroyed everybody’s...

ELM: But I think that just shows how much has shifted, too. Can you imagine ten years ago—not Harry Potter, don’t use that example. Some random fandom, on LiveJournal, and someone put in the comments…you wouldn’t say, “This should be published,” you would be like, “You’re a really great writer.” You would say, “You should take these talents and you should go write something else.”

FK: Right.

ELM: And you wouldn’t be mean about it, but... maybe you would.

FK: Yeah, definitely. The conversation would be...

ELM: Now you can be like, “This exact text should be a book.”

FK: Yeah.

ELM: Because that is a thing that happens.

SP: People are definitely amenable to converting their fic into original fic, or romance, or whatever it might be. From my experience working at Wattpad, I’ve torn down my own pretensions. Like you guys, I studied literature, I did my master’s, I was super into James Joyce. And I think Wattpad allowed me to have the best of both worlds. I can still read those kinds of novels, but I can also indulge in fanfiction and get a similar value out of it.

FK: And not feel like you’re indulging anymore—

SP: Yeah, yeah!

FK: —but rather feel like it’s just a thing you’re doing?

SP: Exactly! It’s just something that I’m doing, and something that I enjoy, so it’s not a guilty pleasure. It really just is a genuine passion that I’m not embarrassed about or ashamed of. I think what you guys said is a really valid point, because I’ve tried to pick apart my own… not prejudices. What is the right word?

ELM: Biases?

SP: Biases! Yeah. And try to be a little bit more open-minded. Especially as I go from these highbrow novels to reading fic, or reading romance, or reading YA, and things like that—

FK: Right.

SP: —because it all just sort of merges together for me in a really natural way now. So I think it’s...

FK: I think it’s really cool, yeah, I think it’s really cool that we’re all talking about this. It’s not like you didn’t read plenty of fic before you had this job. It’s not like fic wasn’t a part of any of our lives for so many years. But over time I feel like… I started off with all of these feelings, no pretensions...

SP: Yes!

FK: ...no ageism. And then the world beat it out of me for a little while, you know what I mean?

SP: Yeah!

FK: And now I’m having my own journey, which probably Wattpad is going to be a part of, because I have to break down some of my stereotypes about it, and break down my stereotypes about newer fans. Going on this new journey, of “Wait! I don’t have to become that old man.”

ELM: I think that one thing that really helps—because I’ve experienced this, too—one thing that really helped was the last time I fell into a fandom, aggressively falling hard—

SP: Which fandom was that?

ELM: —all of that was gone. This is Sherlock, which I have now fallen away from.

FK: Yeah, it’s helping—the X-Files revival is helping for me because I literally feel like I am 13 years old again and I all I can do is look at Gillian Anderson pictures. [laughter] I mean, back then it was TV Guide, and now it’s on Tumblr. Hi, Gillian Anderson, hi.

SP: You keep scrolling!

FK: You’re so pretty.

ELM: She’s probably listening right now.

FK: You’re so wonderful.

ELM: But it’s like—

FK: You’re so pretty and wonderful.

ELM: But if you feel that immediate deep connection, a lot of this goes out the window, and you’re like, “I want more stories. I don’t care. Give it to me.” And then that does fade.

SP: You just consume, yeah.

ELM: It’s hard in a kind of abstract, intellectual way to sustain that, but.

FK: Well, I hate to be a party pooper, but I think that we are running out of time. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Samantha.

ELM: Yeah, thank you.

FK: This was awesome.

SP: Am I signing off, too? [laughter]

FK: Yeah! You’ve got to say something in response to that.

SP: Thank you guys so much for having me. This was so much fun, and I hope that we can do it again.

[Interstitial music]

ELM: All right. So we have a little time left—by design.

FK: By design.

ELM: To debrief, and talk a little bit about Wattpad, in a way we couldn’t with those Wattpad people. [laughter] No, no, no, I’m joking, they were both wonderful. Thank you so, so much to Wattpad.

FK: Yeah, it was great. It gave me a lot of food for thought.

ELM: I don’t want to be like, “Oh, I was so surprised!” Because I think Wattpad is complicated and interesting. I definitely learned some stuff.

FK: Well, I’ll be honest: I hadn’t realized… context: it’s been a little while since we talked to them, and I went on Wattpad and have, in fact, been talked into writing a One Direction fanfic, which I’ve been doing.

ELM: Wait. Can I just say that I got off the call five minutes before you did, and this seemed to happen in the five minutes that I was not on the call. All of a sudden you were like, “I’m writing 1D fanfic!” What! She [Samantha] shouted at you as you were like, “I’m hanging up,” and she was like, “No, no, no wait!”

FK: I think that what really happened was that I had seen their [One Direction’s] new video and I was like, “Oh, I think I kind of get 1D.” Then I was talking with her and I was like, “You know, actually, I think that the best way for me to figure out Wattpad would be to write something and try and actually interact with people in the community as opposed to just lurking like a creepy old.” So I was like, “I’m going to do that.” I’ve never really given it a big, a proper chance before. I’ve put stuff up on there, but not anything that people in the community would particularly care about, so.

ELM: Yeah.

FK: So I did. I started writing.


FK: And I’ve been enjoying it.

ELM: Give me your summary. What’s the story called…?

FK: The story is called Just for the Cameras. It’s my first-ever second-person fic.

ELM: Oooh.

FK: And Harry and Louis are in a relationship, and “you” are Harry’s fake girlfriend, but then maybe you’re falling in love with Harry.

ELM: Oh my God, Flourish. [laughs] This is amazing.

FK: I’m enjoying, I’m really enjoying writing it, actually. It’s very freeing, because the thing that I realized—and this is something that I hadn’t thought about: in the early days of Harry Potter fandom, when I was in it, when I was a teenager, there was a lot of fic that looked exactly like the fic that’s on Wattpad. First of all, there’s lots of different kinds of fic on Wattpad, but I think it is true that the community is pretty young, and there’s a lot of wish-fulfillment stuff there, and fantasy about your life. And there was a lot of that in Harry Potter fandom. That was something that drove me.

ELM: I think there’s a lot of that in any… this is a very long and complicated question, because it’s a question if why, when women grow older, do we oftentimes try to distance ourselves from the kind of wish-fulfillment and self-indulgence that we might have been really into when we were teenagers.

FK: Right! I think that I’d been working really hard to distance myself from that, even though I would say “Oh, I think it’s cool, I like it.” I think that I felt embarrassed by it personally: I thought it was cool for other people, but not for me. And then I started writing this fic and I was like, “This feels so excellent. This is so self-indulgent. I love it.”

ELM: And that’s great. I feel like it’s a sign of male maturity to desire wish-fulfillment. That’s what porn is, right?

FK: That’s true.

ELM: You know? It’s as black and white as that. And that’s seen as a sign of growing into a man. And somehow growing into a woman… I’m just going to get angry and feminist right now! But for some reason, I think we’ve talked about this before… part of my thing right now is that in order to legitimize fanfiction and make myself seem like a serious person who’s an expert in it, I have to disavow that part. And now I’m just like, “Yeah. Screw it!”

FK: Yeah! What’s funny is that these feelings… I’m not sure that they really have to do with Wattpad qua Wattpad. I feel like Wattpad was just a convenient website for me to pin these feelings on or to have these feelings about. Because there really are a lot of different people who are using it with very different stories.

Looking around it,actually there is a huge diversity of stories, and there’s a lot of people who don’t like fanfiction on it, and who say, for instance, “I don’t want to critique your fanfic.” There’s a lot of different perspectives on it...

ELM: I wonder, it’s a speculative long-term question: I was just reading an interview with Anna Todd yesterday and this is under the pullout heading: “Even the young readers are going to grow up.” That’s in quotes. He writes, “And she sees Wattpad gaining some more mature readers, ‘and they want to stay as far away from fanfiction as they can.’ She encourages writers of all kinds to try material on the site. ‘Even young readers are going to grow up. I’m starting to see some memoir. That’s great. I think everybody should consider putting their work on Wattpad.’”

Most of that paragraph is fine, but I was frustrated to read the way they framed it—I have no idea how she actually said it, and how he took that quote in that context, but to say that mature readers are going to want to stay as far away from fanfiction as they can...

FK: Right. That’s the point. I feel like that’s what we’ve been saying, what we’ve both been struggling with, is the idea that if you’re a mature reader, you’re supposed to stay away from wish-fulfillment as a woman. And that means fanfic, because of course to a lot of people all fanfic is wish-fulfillment, which isn’t true.

ELM: Not at all.

FK: Not at all. At all, at all. But anyway.

ELM: Yeah. All right: real talk. Why do people in old-school fandom hate Wattpad so much?

FK: Remember how people used to call, still do call, fanfiction.net “The Pit of Voles”?

ELM: No. I’ve never heard anyone say that except for you.

FK: You’ve never heard anyone say “The Pit of Voles”?!

ELM: Nope.

FK: You were not lurking in the parts of fandom I was lurking in, it turns out. We used to call—

ELM: That’s a very diplomatic way to say that. This has been a problem, because I just went to school for the internet. I just did a master’s degree in the digital humanities, and constantly people would be like, “You must know about blank.” And I’d be like, “No! Like, the internet is big and different!” Big and varied!

FK: The internet is big and varied.

ELM: Anyway! You Den of Voles or whatever, go ahead.

FK: People used to, and still do, call fanfiction.net the Pit of Voles, because it was—

ELM: It’s a cesspool.

FK: Yeah, it’s a cesspool, it’s full of stuff that is not edited, no one cares, there’s no community that has any norms.

ELM: It’s ugly to look at.

FK: It’s ugly to look at. There’s nothing.

ELM: No offense, guys!

FK: Right.

ELM: But I don’t like your UI.

FK: But what’s funny about it is that that was something current around the time that we were founding FictionAlley. There were a lot of people founding other archives in the early 2000s, and those were the complaints: there wasn’t a community that was really into improving their writing. It wasn’t interested in that.

I think that what’s funny about it is that that my assumption on Wattpad had been that people were giving lip-service to critique and not really doing it. But actually, it’s only taken me 12 hours to discover that that’s not true. [laughter] That was the most ignorant thing that I’ve ever assumed in my life!

ELM: That’s funny. So that’s why you had a bias against it?

FK: I think that there are other people who have a bias against it, too, because they feel like there are a lot of self-inserts, a lot of indulgent, tropey stories that aren’t very good and that people aren’t interested in making better. What’s ironic is that there’s such a culture of critique on Wattpad, and there’s no culture of critique on the Archive of Our Own anymore. None at all.

ELM: Not allowed.

FK: Not allowed. And it’s so ironic.

ELM:, I don’t think that old-school fandom’s lingering issues, however justified they are, with Wattpad, entirely stem from the content on the site. I think you’ve talked a lot about your biases, but I haven’t talked about the biases that I had entering this.

FK: What were your biases?

ELM: The thing that has been frustrating me for the last few years, as someone who is also a books journalist in addition to now a fandom journalist: I’ll be in a lot of book spaces, and I think we’ve already talked about this, to some extent, and I’ll mention that I write a lot about fanfiction or fandom, and they’ll say, “Oh, Wattpad!” This is people who work in publishing. They’ll be like, “Oh yeah, Wattpad,” and I’ll be like, “Uhhhh, sure! But also…”

FK: Right.

ELM: I get a little annoyed with people in fandom when they go, “Well, AO3 [Archive Of Our Own] does this, and Wattpad does this,” because it’s really apples and oranges. AO3 is a very dedicated community, but those are tiny numbers in comparison to the bazillions of people using Wattpad.

FK: It’s true.

ELM: And that’s fine! Also, I feel like it can get a little... AO3 was founded by, there’s academics involved, and it’s a non-commercial enterprise, and it’s for people who have the privilege to make that a non-commercial enterprise. Not that I’m saying that somehow that makes Wattpad—

FK: I was going to say, to be fair—

ELM: —altruistic, that they want to cash in or whatever. But! You know what I mean? It’s just a weird, muddled space, and I don’t want to say to people in publishing, “Stop going to Wattpad, go on AO3,” because Wattpad is actively creating that space where people in publishing can go. There’s a reason why that’s all they know.

FK: Wattpad was built so that they go out—I was recently in a meeting at a major entertainment industry corporation, and they were like, “Oh yeah, we were just talking to Wattpad about doing this thing,” and I was like, “Great!”

And the funny thing about it is that the way they were talking about Wattpad and working with people, I think probably has done a lot for—I’ve never heard people in that context talk about other fanfic organizations as having changed their ideas. I’m also weirdly uncomfortable with the enclosing of fandom, and I think that that’s something that people feel, with Wattpad...

ELM: You mean, like, some movie sponsors a contest and you write fanfiction for that? That sort of thing?

FK: That, and also your fic being suddenly a resource. Your fic is a resource that they make money off of. Which fanfiction.net does, too.

ELM: Right.

FK: I think that some people have a problem with that. I mean, some people don’t use fanfiction.net for that reason, also.

ELM: Because they don’t want to see fanworks monetized.

FK: Users of Wattpad are the product for Wattpad. It’s not just Wattpad.

ELM: Right! It’s—

FK: —every Web 2.0—

ELM: If you are not paying, you are the product. That’s how it goes. I knew there was a pithy way to say it.

FK: It’s every Web 2.0 site. I think people are uncomfortable with that. I don’t think, though, that it’s a special thing to Wattpad.

So why don’t we talk about what we, um…

ELM: Learned?

FK: Yeah!

ELM: How we grew?

FK: How we learned and grew. This sounds silly, but I feel like this has been kind of a journey for me, and not just because now I understand the appeal of Larry Stylinson.

ELM: You can say whatever you want, but that is the only reason you feel like it’s been a journey. I can tell.

FK: Because now I understand about Larry?

ELM: Yeah! You can use your fancy words and talk about the entertainment industry and growth media value, or whatever the term is, but really it’s just because you have a new ship. Obviously I’m jealous because I want a new ship, too.

FK: What’s the deal with Wattpad? Answer: Larry Stylinson. [laughter] See, but it’s the opposite, because that’s what my stereotype was going in. I think that what I learned is—

ELM: [laughs] And you embraced the stereotype! That’s fine! Fine!

FK: I think that what I learned is that the stereotype is true, but I also love it.

ELM: Uh, Flourish, if One Direction comes to New York anytime soon, I will go with you.

FK: I feel so blessed.

ELM: I’ve been before. I’ll do it again. I had a really great time. I paid $9.50 for a Bud Lite, because I needed it. It was really loud. It’s loud, I’m not gonna lie! There was that awful article that was like, “Why do teenage girls scream?” No, sorry, that should’ve been in a man’s voice. [Speaking in the deepest voice] “Why do teenage girls scream? Dumb girls.” It was obnoxious.

FK: They scream because Harry’s hair is like its own little animal living on top of his head. That’s why they scream.

ELM: I don’t know what’s going on with them these days. They sort of seem like they’ve ventured into late-Beatles territory in terms of style, out the window. Which is fine. It’s just confusing to me. They have man buns, don’t they?

FK: I think they’re cute. Hmmph.

ELM: [laughs] I liked their fresh-faced look, back when they were underage.

FK: OH MY GOD, ELIZABETH. You heard it here first. [laughter] ELM: lusting after underage boys—

ELM: No, not when they were underage. When they were 19.

FK: As though 19 is not—

ELM: I had a serious point. What was my serious point? OK: what have we learned? I think that my journey didn’t happen throughout the course of these few interviews, but rather throughout the course of the last two months, because I actually was at Comic-Con and then GeekyCon, and Wattpad had a presence at both of those. I remember before I went to San Diego, I was like, “Oh, they seem nice enough, but that’s not my scene at all.” I feel like over the course of both of these times and the more I hear about it, the more it’s like, “why isn’t it for me?” I don’t know.

FK: Because you don’t like to read fanfic on mobile.

ELM: This is an actual thing, though. I don’t. And I don’t see that changing.

FK: It’s funny, because part of my sudden I-actually-am-going-to-be-part-of-this-community feeling is that I realized how nice it was to be able to read fanfic on mobile, in a better way. With inline commenting! The inline commenting is amazing.

ELM: Yeah, this has really been sold to me, the inline commenting.

FK: It’s been sold to me, too, and it worked! Because it’s cool.

ELM: Yeah. I respect that people like to read on mobile, generally. I’ve given it a shot. And I’m not just saying this because my screen cracked when it flew out of my Harry Potter track jacket at the Harry and the Potters concert. [laughter] It’s just not really for me. I also don’t understand people who download the PDFs of fanfiction and just read it elsewhere, read it on their tablets or whatever.

FK: Oh, I do that.

ELM: For me, ever since I got a laptop twelve years ago, I like to curl up with my laptop, and read it in-browser, on a computer. That’s it. It is what it is.

FK: See, back in the X-files fandom years and years ago I was the person who printed out fanfic and read it.

ELM: That’s good.

FK: Like a book.

ELM: Yeah, I can’t. I wouldn’t do that.

FK: And then I would share it with my mom.

ELM: That’s really good.

FK: That’s interesting. It’s about, like, different ways that people read and I think that—

ELM: I think that makes a huge difference. This is also something I learned in internet school. [laughter] Actually, you probably had better cognitive reading comprehension when you were printing out your fic.

FK: Probably.

ELM: Because your brain isn’t actually capable of remembering a lot of what you read when you read on a screen.

FK: Well, the good news is that I still can quote things from Iolokus by Rivka T and MustangSally from memory today, because that was a fic that ruined me.

ELM: Is that a fanfiction from the past?

FK: It is an X-Files fic, a very famous X-Files fanfiction from the past.

ELM: I can’t quote any fanfiction, but I do have a doc on my desktop with hilarious one-liners.

FK: The other thing Wattpad has, by the way?

ELM: What?

FK: The other thing Wattpad has, that was not sold to us but I think is hilarious: they have a tool whereby you can pull a quote out of a fanfic and make an Instagram image from it.

ELM: That’s amazing.

FK: It is, and I can’t wait to you use it. I’m going to quote all—

ELM: For your own stories. For your self-promotional tool.

FK: Probably for my self-promotion, but also for other people, because it’s just fun.

ELM: That wraps up our Wattpad episode, though I’m sure we’re going to be checking in with Flourish as her Larry obsession takes over her life.

FK: [laughs] If I start making a tin hat, you have my permission to literally put me into a straightjacket.

ELM: Oh. That’d be great.

FK: Because I don’t want to become a tin hat. BUT I COULD.

ELM: Yeah, I can see it in your eyes right now. Next time: who do we have? I think we have Amanda from Tumblr!

FK: Amanda! The Meme Librarian.

ELM: Amanda is the greatest. And hopefully she’ll be talking about Tumblr itself, but if not, she’s going to be talking about the internet in general. She went to library school, and studied memes.

FK: She’ll definitely be able to tell us all about why cinnamon rolls are too good for this world and too pure.

ELM: I mean, she’s probably like nine memes beyond that right now.

FK: This has been wonderful. We need to thank some people, I think. Probably.

ELM: Yes. We need to thank Wattpad itself.

FK: Yes. And obviously Aron and Samantha.

ELM: We also need to thank Emily at Wattpad, who we were hoping to talk to as well, and who helped facilitate this. Someday we’ll get you on!

FK: Also thanks to Zak Kerrison, Sahej Multani, and Amy Best for providing our interstitial music in that order. You can find out more about their music by looking at our show notes. [Note: this is no longer the case, because the music has been changed to podsafe Creative Commons licensed songs.]

ELM: Yeah. Thank you guys.

FK: Anyway. Thank you to everybody, and thank you to our listeners, obviously, because hearing from you guys has been great. We would love to hear more comments from you, particularly if you have burning opinions about Wattpad, or fandom, or anything, or Tumblr or memes. Just tell us things.

ELM: Yeah, questions for the Meme Librarian in advance. We will take them and we will put her on the spot.

FK: All right.

ELM: All right. Bye Flourish!

FK: Bye, Elizabeth.

[Outro music]

FK: [over the music] The opinions expressed in this podcast are not those of Stratus Media Ventures, Chimera Media Group, Chaotic Good, or our clients, or our employers, or anyone’s except our own.