The Internet has changed everything; we all know that, and it’s being proven time and again. The latest and best example is the US elections of last month, where the Internet played a crucial role in raising awareness.
Did the Internet help fan the flames of Twilight-mania? Of course they did! From endless numbers of articles about the movie, bloggers have been discussing it, emails are being forwarded, fan forums are inundated and fan fiction being written (and read) daily.
Stephenie Meyer, the author of Twilight, was also extremely smart in that she used her official website, http://www.stepheniemeyer.com, to keep in touch with her fans. Her posts – which are sometimes endearingly enthusiastic – make her all the more real to her fans, who can email her and (so I’m told) eventually get a response from the Queen of Teen Vampire Fiction herself.
‘Twilight’ has a strong Internet connection, claims Susan Carpenter – and I agree.
Mania is almost too sedate a term to describe the ongoing frenzy surrounding “Twilight,” Mrs. Carpenter tells us, going on to explain that like so many success stories, hers was a combination of hard work, dumb luck and being in the right place — and doing the right things — at the right time, including a brilliant and strategic use of the Web.
Apparently Stephenie Meyer’s entrepreneurship was sharp enough to catch on the fact that the official website set up for her book didn’t manage to pick up on the book’s subtler themes — the bridled desire and self-deprecating humor that connected with fans and were representative of Meyer herself.
Mrs. Carpenter makes an excellent point; the only way an author has of sharing herself with the public is through her writing. Had Stephenie Meyer limited herself to the books, would the themes underlying them that are an integral part of her shone through? I’m not too certain.
I also have noticed that, as readers go through Meyer’s website, they develop a deeper understanding of what the themes in the book are about. I asked one teen I often talk too to take a look at the website. She called me a couple of hours later and admitted that she had never understood the depth of the underlying themes of the saga. “I just thought it was a love story,” she said.
This got her to go read even more, which might just be the real power behind any true social phenomenon. Could it be that this is where Twilight will shine, a place where Harry Potter hasn’t? After all, Twilight is touching chords so deep that, when challenged, many of these young teenagers go out to read – including Stephenie Meyers’ website. This seems to increase their thirst for understanding.
Ironically enough, this thirst for understanding often leads the young girls away from the saga that had first caught their imagination. At first captivating, these young ladies go out to read more and more about their favorite subject, only to realize that the critics whom at first made them so mad are actually right. “I think I appreciate literature more,” one teenager I struck a conversation with in a local bookstore admitted. She was holding, amongst other books, The Time Traveller’s Wife. “I still love Twilight, but not like before. Like… When I first read it, I was obsessed, and my mom was a little upset, so she started putting newspaper clippings about Twilight on my desk. I didn’t read them at first, but then I did, and I got really interested in what other people had to say. I have been reading blogs about it and you know what, they are right. Twilight has major issues. But it made me read, thanks to Stephenie Meyer, Bella and Edward.”
Congratulations Stephenie – you made them read. That’s more that can be said about many others out there!