A while ago, I posted a blog about how great it is to be in a community of fans, to be connected to people through this thing that you really like. I was thinking about that today, after a conversation with Carolyn about being a fan on the internet. Because there’s two sides to it, really. There’s that great side, that connected side, that wonderful feeling of loving something, and then there’s the side that always has to exist on the internet, the side that takes it too far.
There’s a tendency, especially on the internet, to invest in things so much that it becomes an obsession. How many times have you seen girls attacking people over twitter for saying a bad thing about Justin Bieber, or investing so much into a relationship between YouTubers and then ending up devastated when they break up, or ‘shipping’ relationships between actors rather than characters?
When you think about it, the word fan comes from the word fanatic; but there’s a difference, I think, between being a fan and being fanatical. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, and when you’re a teenager and you find something you love, you just kind of invest everything you have into it, and I don’t really do that anymore. Sure I joke here about my love for Matt Thiessen, and I really do look up to Ze Frank quite a bit, but I think the difference is, that it’s very clear to me that these are actual people. It’s their flaws and their ability to admit them that make me like and admire these people. When people put all of their hopes and dreams and desires into a figure, be it Edward Cullen, or Justin Bieber, or Orlando Bloom; they have some control over that, they have made these people into what they imagine they should be, and when they realize that that isn’t true, it gets scary.
My wish, I guess, is that people could be fans of something without getting to that point where it’s ruined. Just chill. They’re people too.