*Builds protective pillow barricade*
I dislike fandoms.
*Dives into fort and prepares for siege*
Okay, maybe I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones. But, in all seriousness, I don’t understand the phenomena of the fandom. I don’t feel a sense of community in the virtual midst of people who supposedly love the same thing as me. It may just be me, but I honestly feel more attacked in fandom settings than supported. Many fandoms appear incredibly judgmental about the people who “join.” If you didn’t read and love every book and every short story and every author tweet, you simply don’t belong. You don’t love it enough to be in the fandom. Which, of course, begs the need to define fandom.
What is a fandom? By being a fan of Lord of the Rings, am I automatically a part of the Lord of the Rings fandom? Do you consciously have to engage in fandom activities to be part of the fandom? What are fandom activities, then? How do I explain to someone that, even though I adore Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I’m not part of the Rick Riordan fandom, and I would really rather discuss the variation in the character arcs in the Olympians series than joke about Heroes of Olympus memes? Are there factions or niches within the fandom for that kind of thing? How does this work, and am I the only one that feels the need for an explanation?
I despise myself for disliking something I don’t fully understand, but I feel that my lack of understanding is primarily why I feel so attacked by fandoms/fan-people. This is a concept that I struggle to express, and fandom people tend to seize up instead of attempting to explain because I probably come off as condescending. I don’t look down on fandoms; I would never judge or criticize anyone for how they prefer to celebrate and process the media they enjoy. But the reality is that fandoms are a huge part of the literary world and I feel like I need to understand them to better embrace that world. (aka THIS IS GOING TO BE MY CAREER AND I DON’T WANT TO STARVE FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER TEN YEARS OR SO) And, honestly, I am seeking a community that relishes the same content that I do. I just haven’t found it in fandoms.
SO PLEASE HELP. Talk to me about your fandom(s). Why do you love them? How do you feel like part of the community? Can I better involve myself in fandoms? Or should I just give up and move on? (BUT TO WHERE?) How can I, as a literary/pop-culture blogger communicate with the fandom generation?