Oprah’s Message Boards, Soul Stories, and the Everyday Lives of Women
This chapter, which examines the kind of online community that is created by and for The Oprah Winfrey Show viewers, shows that on Oprah.com, Winfrey’s mission is at the center of the topics presented for discussion on her message boards. But similar to the existing literature’s argument for Oprah’s Book Club as politicizing, Oprah.com message board users claim agency for themselves and talk back to Oprah’s experts. Often they ignore the experts who are purported to know best about their lives. This may be the unexpected side effect of a genre (the talk show) that sought to establish all personal experience and opinion as valid. Regardless, even in privileging their experience, Oprah. com message board participants create their own meaning but only do so once that experience is filtered through Oprah-approved ideological constructs.
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