Social Media and Fandom: The Ups and Downs

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Fandom (definition: the collection of fans for a certain show, book, celebrity, etc.) is a fascinating thing.  In my opinion, it is these fandoms that will create the future of entertainment, regardless if it is for movies, television, or comics.  As such, I love conventions where we fans can get together en masse and discuss our passions.  With the rise of various forms of social media, not only has communication increased between fans, but between creators and fans.  There are some benefits and detriments to this use of social media by fandoms.

 

If you want to talk about fandom interaction, the first place that should be discussed is Tumblr, a social media network/blog site where members can post multimedia, follow other people’s blogs and much more.  There is so much fan-created material on Tumblr.  Fan Art, Fan Fiction, Fan Videos, Cosplay Pictures, you name it.  There are some fandoms whose majority actually interacts on Tumblr.  One such example is the comic Journey Into Mystery.  This comic seldom broke 25,000 copies sold (for comparisons: cultural icons such as Batman tend to sell over 100,000) however, it gained a massive following on Tumblr, enough so not only do major comic news sites but the writer himself acknowledged the presence.

 

Going further on just interaction between fans and creators, not only do creators use Tumblr but Twitter to announce projects and interact with their fan-base.  As much as there is a bright side to this ability, there are also some detriments.  The fact is that there are fans that can get rather…militant…about their opinions on the works that they are “fans” of.  This is fine; you are welcome to your opinion.  The problem is when these “fans” use social media to push their dislike of professional’s works into the face of the professional him/herself!

 

This idea of very verbally critical fans pushing their hate into professional’s faces through social media can reach almost dangerous levels.  This happened about a month ago when Steven Moffat, Executive Producer and Writer for Doctor Who and Co-Creator of Sherlock, deleted his Twitter account because of harassment from fans.  This is what happens when social media and fandom goes awry.

 

I love fandom.  I love being able to interact with fellow fans of the shows, books, and video games that I enjoy.  Social Media has helped me meet many other fans and we get to enjoy debating topics, looking at fan art, and even talking with the creators occasionally.  However, as discussed, it is imperative that social media is used responsibly.  Fans that have a dislike of certain creators really should not link to that creators Twitter feed or Tumblr page.  Remember, creators are people too.

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