The concept of fandoms are a truly weird phenomenon. Based on 20 years of varying degrees of involvement in famdoms I can see both positive and negative behaviour of fans as well as positive and negative ramifications for individuals and entire fandoms. According to Lisa Lewis in her book ‘The Adoring Audience: FanCulture and Popular Media’ heavy involvement in fandoms involves writing fanfiction or articles for fan newsletters, attending fan get-togethers, calling other fans on the phone or writing emails to them, participating heavily on mailing lists, and most importantly thinking about or engaging with material on a very regular, almost obsessive level.
Lewis discusses that peripheral involvement consists of recreational engagement with a topic such as reading occasional stories, checking the occasional website, talking about that particular show only if it comes up and she attributes this semi-participation as the reason it’s possible to see the shows, and fandoms, from the ‘outside’. Lewis adds that observing fans and fandoms from an outside perspective allows us to easily separate negative fan behaviour and trends from positive. Fans with a great passion for a TV show, movie series, games, novels, comic book, etc, can also become competitive and often cruel, forming cliques and shutting out ‘newbie’ fans o order to prove their own dedication. Now of course, I understand that this happens in real life as well, however, it’s not so easy to detect and much easier to ignore, with the mind set that as long as it doesn’t directly affect me ‘what do I care?’
On the other hand, Internet fan community communication resembles gossip in a small town: it gets around. This goes for both positive and negative trends and with the latter it’s easy to see when ‘fannish’ behaviour mirrors the worst behaviour from the real world. Fandoms are extremely enriching endeavours when wanting to connect and share with other enthusiasts, however, I think many fans participate in and perpetuate the ugly side of fandom without even realizing it. We should be aware of our actions in any given fandom so that we don’t make the mistake of subscribing to a clique or mob mentality without even knowing it. I will now leave you my personal favourite fandom and the reasons it will never die.