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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 identified.

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 respective translations.



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