One of the most important aspects of New Media
- Internet-based media specifically - is that they constitute a much more direct link to their audiences than older print and broadcast media, while reaching far larger viewerships than the traditional in-person forms of storytelling.
A Web Comic
, for example, does not need to justify itself to a publishing house to get distribution; the author can post it on a web site, and rely on word of mouth and search engines to get it out to it market, no matter how small that market is. Getting mentioned on this site (or any high-traffic website with a compatible demographic) also helps.
Furthermore, web-based authors and artists get immediate feedback from their fans and critics, through e-mail, comment boxes
and fan message boards
(often within minutes of posting a new entry), and can respond to them with the same ease, even with a large fanbase. This immediacy can have considerable impact on a series, ranging from frequent shout outs
to fans and forum in-jokes, to changing how they write their stories. Many of the best Internet artists make a determined effort to keep in touch with their fans this way, though it can lead to Continuity Lock-Out
if they end up relying too heavily on their existing fans without expanding outside of that bubble to a wider audience.
See also the Interactive Comic
, which explicitly relies on its readers to drive the story.
- In College Roomies from Hell!!!, Maritza Campos originally intended for Dave's death in "Mushroomies from Hell!!!" Story Arc to be permanent. The fan outcry was so immediate and intense that she reversed it, which eventually led to a much more dramatic storyline in the long run.
- The series also features numerous shout outs, including the infamous Maximum Fun Chamber, which began as a forum in-joke.
- More than a few webcomics have recurring characters which are based on notable fans, such as Pi and Pronto in Schlock Mercenary.
- The author of Grey is... regularly answers questions and takes requests for sketches from the fans on her website.
- Questionable Content's author is involved in the comic's forum, though it often creeps him out.
- In the Whateley Universe, the most famous line from supervillain Dr. Diabolik (so far) is actually a line from a piece of Fan Art which a canon author liked.
- Randy Milholland, creator of Something*Positive, sometimes responds to emails with "off-stage" comics or just notes in the tagline that address the mail he gets. Occasionally this has influenced the direction of stories, or almost: one tagline read "I almost made Davan the father just to spite some mail I got. Then I realized that would be as stupid as the mail."
- It's not uncommon for video reviewers such as the members of That Guy with the Glasses or obscure Youtube authors to choose their next review based on what audience members are asking for.
- Its also not uncommon for reviewers or commentators to post follow up videos based on feedback providing further defense of their positions or retracting them.
- Tales from the Pit debuted on Twitter and was expanded to a regular feature due to positive response from followers. The author, Mark Rosewater, regularly responds to readers' questions about the comic and (mostly) about Magic: The Gathering game design.
- Axe Cop was originally a game played between the artist and writer, meant to be shown to family, which then became expanded into a full comic. It was after the first few strips became successful that the comic became spread wide.
- Eat Your Kimchi viewers are invited to comment on the videos and to vote for music videos they would like to see reviewed.
- Quite a few online shows record with a live chat. The direct conversation often influences the show as it's being made.
- Andrew Hussie definitely pays attention to Homestuck fans, though at times it appears to be expressly for the purpose of trolling them and doing whatever they beg him not to do. Many character names (the trolls in particular) are fan suggestions, though.