Contrary to what those who denigrate telenovelas as simplistic shows believe, this television genre is fascinating because of its many facets which beg analysis. There isn't a boring angle to the study of telenovelas. It's a highly competitive genre that generates passionate debates and discussions among its followers.
There are many Internet message and discussion boards focusing on telenovelas. Below, some of them:
Foro de Puerto Rico
Foro Telenovelas en España
Foro Televisión Venezolana e Internacional (TVVI)
Foro Recordar es Vivir: Las Telenovelas del Ayer
These communities have their own rules of coexistance and communication. Their participants sometimes are under the misperception that they are representative of the population at large. However, we must always remember that each message board is only representative of its active participants.
These message boards offer a wide range of content. From valuable information to the repetition of gossip and press speculation of the worst kind. We can also find in them specialized voices coexisting with small campaigns designed to manipulate these virtual communities. Participants range from those who see telenovelas as an art form, to those who consider it exclusively as a source of entertainment gossip. Here we will find polite and impolite people.
In these communities there are enlightening in-depth discussions. At the same time, we often observe how contradiction and speculation reign. Some times arguments generate more heat than light. For me, however, the observation and understanding of these boards is essential because these inflection points help me deepen my knowledge about telenovelas. Furthermore, it's in contradictions where the paradoxes inherent to this genre live, and where the questions that need to be answered are hidden. And, it's in these message boards when I can find and read people from around the world who are passionate about telenovelas.
There's a delicate and important aspect of these boards that I need to touch on. When one observes them we need to be aware that behind the participants' pseudonyms and nicknames there could be anyone. For personal and/or professional reasons, some participants feel the need to hide their true identity. They usually lurk and participate very little. It's rare that they would do any harm. There are others, however, who take advantage of the anonymity that their "nick" provides them, to carry a particular agenda: either promote/defend or denigrate/attack a particular telenovela product, network, artist, etc. These latter kind of pseudonyms merit close attention. If you follow them through time, their agenda is eventually evidenced. And these agendas are great pointers to the strong competitive undercurrents present in the telenovela world. (Sometimes in time even their true identity becomes obvious).
These people who hide behind a "nick" to promote their agendas are part and parcel of these virtual scenarios where we can also find the true lovers of the telenovela genre. For those of us who study telenovelas (and those who participate in these boards), it's essential that we learn to distinguish between agendas and genuine opinions, and between those who use a pseudonym to manipulate and those who honestly and generously exchange opinions and knowledge about telenovelas.