OTW Fannews: Defining Fans

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  • In The Washington Post Alyssa Rosenberg claimed that political discourse was taking over cultural conversations. “We treat people whose interpretations differ from our own as if they are acting in bad faith…we demand that significant figures in cultural commentary have something to say about every big event so we can check their reactions against our sense of what they ought to feel to remain in good standing. It is impossible to measure membership in fan communities the same way we measure party registration or church membership and attendance. As social media has made conversations that once took place in fanzines and on message boards more visible, it has become quite common for users to include the teams they root for, the shows they watch religiously and the movie and book franchises they love in their online biographies, along with information about their work and family lives.”
  • A number of fans objected to their portrait in regards to Dashcon by Alex Goldman at TLDR. “What is there to learn from this? Well, it speaks a bit to the nature of interaction on the web and how poorly it can translate to the real world. So much of fandom is organic and has a sort of perpetual motion to it. It requires no organization. Fandoms mutate, coalesce around certain concepts and ideas, and slowly change over time. And if you want, say, Scott McCall to fall in love with Jacob Black in the bathroom at a Denny’s in Lawrence, Kansas, you don’t need to consult anyone. You can just will it into existence. If people like it, it will become part of fan canon.”
  • Meanwhile, the Baltimore Post Examiner suggested the problem was focusing a con on a social media site. “While I have no experience in running conventions, I do have quite a bit in fandom. And that’s what this was, really: a fandom convention, just for the fandoms that Tumblr thinks are popular. The key word here is ‘thinks.’ The top category of content on Tumblr, according to founder David Karp? Fashion. The amount of fashion-related events and panels at Dashcon? Two. But hey, a lot of people are vocal about liking these British TV shows, so let’s put that on our top priority!”
  • While fans define themselves by their passions, Wikia is trying to quantify fans for others, claiming they fall into nine personality profiles. They also provide data on their users. “Wikia’s fan base is more dedicated, influential and valuable than other social platforms in a variety of instances. Wikia fans are 71% more likely to play video games for over 20 hours per week (compared to Facebook’s -1%, YouTube’s 8% and Twitter’s 17%); Wikia fans are 106% more likely to consume over five movies in theaters in the past month (compared to Facebook’s 17%, YouTube’s 35% and Twitter’s 66%); Wikia fans are 201% more likely to have spent over $200 on online music in the past six months (compared to Facebook’s 42%, YouTube’s 43% and Twitter’s 67%).”

How do you define fandom, and what events were key to your view? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.