There was a time when I didn’t know what fandom was. This doesn’t mean I was a fan girl (I really was) I just didn’t know what fandom was or that I was a fan girl. I just knew I really, really liked the Beatles. I’ve since learned (in depth) what fandom is and that various fandoms have different names for their fans. For instance, when I really, really liked the Beatles I could have described myself as an Applescruff.* Not every fandom has a name for its fans and generally lady fans are called fangirls and gentlemen fans are called fanboys. Fanboys and fangirls got to cons and if you’re really obsessed you dress up as your favorite character. That’s called cosplay. Of course all this is a rather extreme version of fandom and there are a great many people (myself included) who take more of a back seat when it comes to fandom. I never got around to writing about this, but I am very much a lurker. This is because I’m naturally shy and have never really thought of taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet to break out of my shell. But I’m not alone in being a lurker. So those are kind of the two extremes of fandom at least from my perspective: Cosplayers and lurkers. As with everything there are loads of people who fall in between the two extremes and they probably make up the bulk of fandom.**
As you can tell by the chart I made (which doesn’t actually include everything) I consider myself a member of a whole ton of fandoms. That’s the thing about being a lurker: You can sample a lot of different things without giving up too much of yourself to anyone of them. I have friends who cosplay and go to cons and I can tell you they give a lot of themselves to a select few fandoms and pretty much invest completely in those fandoms. I on the other hand can be a part of 12 different fandoms and enjoy all of them to various degrees and not be invested completely.*** In my opinion fandom can be a good thing and a really awful thing and it depends entirely on how much of yourself you invest in the fandom. Fandom is great when it introduces you to like minded people and you make friends that can last a really long time. But fandom is really awful when you’ve become so invested in it that you start to blur the line between the reality and fiction. I’m not saying that investing in a fandom automatically means you’re going to go crazy. But there’s always the chance.
So how do I intervene in my fandom? I don’t. I’m a co-founder of the school’s sci-fi club (for what that’s worth) and I take a real interest in everything that goes in within my fandom. But I learned awhile ago that I’m not really meant to intervene, that I’m better off as a lurker. So, I took a photo of my fandom.
The “Family and Friends” section got a little squished because I tend to forget how many fandoms I was introduced to because of nagging from friends/family.**** Hopefully you can read my handwriting otherwise none of this is going to make sense and quite frankly my fandoms don’t make sense in list form. And if a fandom isn’t underlined it means that it hasn’t become inactive but I’m not currently “participating” in it either. So now I define active, inactive, and random outliers.
- Active – This means that I either a) follow one of the members/entity on Facebook/Twitter, b) am actively watching/listening/reading works having to do with the fandom or c) awaiting the return of said entity be it through new shows, new albums or tour dates I can actually go to.
- Inactive – This if fairly simple. I no longer give a rat’s ass about what this group/entity is doing. They once meant something but now I no longer care.
- Random Outliers – This group has no direct connection to any of the circled entities and generally speaking were discovered by pure chance.***** They may or may not influence participation in other fandoms, but generally speaking they just kind of exist in their own little worlds of awesomeness.
So that’s it. Those are my fandoms.
*Another example: Chiefs and Chiefettes for the Kaiser Chiefs, Whovians for Doctor Who and of course the most famous Trekkies for Star Trek.
**The crazies (cosplayers) are just more well known because they are crazy. And I say this as a friend of at least 3 hardcore cosplayers. This does not make them less crazy.
***I have some not fun experience in investing way too much into a fandom :cough:Kaiser Chiefs:cough: that did not end well. I kind of couldn’t listen to them for a good three months. I’ve since recovered and decided that being a lurker is better for my mental health.
****They don’t always nag. But sometimes they do. And then they force to me to watch things when I don’t pay attention to their nagging.
*****This is particularly true for the Killers who I discovered by watching VH1 on a snow day. “Mr. Brightside” is unlike anything I had ever heard before and Brandon Flowers is hella cute. A lot of my fandoms are based on the attractiveness of the members. It’s shallow, but you gotta start somewhere.