The initial idea proposed for this telenovela research was to follow
previous research in entertainment-education that utilized letters
written to the soap opera as the main data source for the study.
However, by chance, the telenovela-world.com forum was found after
an Internet search for anything “El Clon”.
Following the posts and threads was fascinating, and for hours this
researcher kept reading and observing the message exchange. Due
to the logistic problems in obtaining letters, either from the networks
or from the telenovela’s writer, or actors/actresses, using
the messages posted in the forum for the research started to be
more appealing. The more this researcher thought about it, the more
it made sense to just transport the research to cyberspace. Then,
a search was implemented to investigate the different forums available
online for the telenovela “El Clon”. Globo had already
discontinued its forum when the search started; besides, the main
interest was to research the telenovela in the US. However, Telemundo
no longer offered a forum for the telenovela at that time. Now,
with the rerun, a forum is available at the network web site, but
it is not offered in the threaded format. The telenovela-world “El
Clon” forum was then confirmed as the site that would be used
to collect the data. Even though the content analysis is the pillar
for this research, this researcher also spent numerous hours reading
the messages, following their conversations, and getting to know
the participants in an incognito way. As previous discussions in
this study indicates, it is rather important to know the context
and the environment of the study. For the purposes of learning how
the system workes, one meaningless message is posted; however, that
was is the only active participation in the forum by this researcher.
A brief history of this web site, will tell us that it is initially
created as Rinconlatino, where fans of telenovelas can converse
about their preferred programs in English, Spanish, and “Spanglish”.
Univision likes the idea and buys Rinconlatino, creating a different
site. The original creators then organized telenovela-internet.com,
which is also bought by Univision. Without one of the pioneers,
telenovela-world.com is set up to continue the work of providing
a friendly forum to discuss the novelas (Diane & Ben, telenovela-world.com).
In the first page of the forum we can find links to telenovelas’s
sites, general forums, telenovela forums grouped by country, television
networks, foreign broadcast available in the US via cable or satellite,
actors/actresses forums and web sites. There are also different
advertisements displayed throughout the web site. The studied forum
for “El Clon” is under telenovelas in the United States,
Telemundo. There is also a different forum under the same legend,
with the specification TDM.
This “El Clon” forum is a World Wide Web based bulletin
board system. A bulletin board system allows for asynchronous interaction
where messages are posted from other participants to read and reply
at their convenience. Other forms of asynchronous online fan organization
are Usenet discussion lists, where the messages come directly into
the registered member’s mailbox. Synchronous discussions are
chat rooms or Multi-User Dangeons (MUD) (Nellis, 2002).
In this forum, guests have access to all the messages. There are
three rules for participation: mark spoilers well, no rude, abusive
or foul language, and treat one another with respect. Participants
may post messages in the US forums in English, Spanish, Spanglish,
or Portuguese. The web site administrators reserve the right to
remove any postings that are abusive or contain obscene language.
There is no registration requirement to reply to the messages. There
is a reply form on the end of the page with name, e-mail (optional),
and space for the message. There is also a check box to be marked
if the poster wants e-mails replies to the message. Posters are
participants that write messages. Lurkers read without contributing
to the discussion (Baym, 1997). The messages are formatted in threads,
which make it easier to follow the dialogue, resembling a conversation.
With the exchange of ideas, the flow of the discussion is easily
The copyright disclaimer for the news and summaries is that the
content may be distributed freely, as long as credit to the web
site is given and proper citations are kept but it cannot be sold.
There are also links to various web sites dedicated to the telenovela.
Globo’s web site for the telenovela “El Clon”
unfortunately is disabled. It has pictures, summaries, and information
about the three different themes that the telenovela embraced. It
presentes some of the scenes of the telenovela and explaines the
culturally related issues that are portrayed. It also has a list
of the most common used Arabic phrases from the novela and their