What Is Fandom?

We’ve spent some time talking about fandom, and I figured it was time to talk about the phenomenon itself rather than aspects. For starters, here’s the Wikipedia definition:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

Well, that’s a fairly accurate explanation, if a bit bloodless. The thing is, as Spike said in the season 3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Lover’s Walk, “Love isn’t brains, children. It’s blood. Blood screamin’ inside you to work its will.” Fandom, above all else, is about love. Sometimes it’s a sick, deluded love that leads crazy people to become stalkers, but it’s still love.

The brilliant thing about it, is that it’s constantly evolving as we (the fans) do the same. With the advent of social networking and Twitter, fandom has exploded, and the lines have gotten blurred. When I was growing up, the people I was a fan of were untouchable. Now, I follow people on Twitter and sometimes, when I mention them in my tweets, they tweet back! The first time it happened, I was in a tizzy for days. I’m still pretty jazzed.

Fandom is quoting lines or lyrics, and spending hours listening to them to get them right. Fandom is reading and re-reading. Fandom is going to concerts. Fandom is studying interviews for someone’s “tells” so we know when they’re lying or when they’re accidentally telling on themselves. Most of all, fandom is sharing your love with someone else.

I’ve been a fan of Duran Duran since the spring of 1985. I wasn’t a part of that fandom until the internet led me to John Taylor’s (now defunct) website TTP and its chat room. Before then, I hadn’t known other fans. Now, I am part of a group of wonderful people who share my love for the band named after Barbarella’s evil sex fiend.

Fandom is, like the internet, a web. I fell in love with Duran, and from that I became a fan of David Bowie, James Bond, and the Harry Potter series, just to name a few. Being a fan of BtVS led me to my favorite author, Jim Butcher and to my current favorite television show, Castle. When we connect with other fans, find out what they like, we look into it. Fandom spreads its tendrils out, connecting along points of commonality like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

What is fandom to you? What is (are) your fandom(-s)? Do you have a favorite quote or lyric you’d like to share?

7 Comments »

  1. Amanda Rudd said

    I love how many things we have in common. Buffy? Awesome. David Bowie? Awesome. Harry Potter? Awesome. Castle? Awesome.

    I would add to your fandom list a few of my other favorites: Star Trek, Stargate: SG1, and Doctor Who. (Also I’m an enormous anime geek, but I’ll spare you that rambling gush of obsession). And, I’m completely and utterly obsessed with The Killers. I only discovered that band last year, and I can’t begin to FATHOM how I had managed to live so many years without them.

    • Gigi Salem said

      I’m with you on the Trek and the Who… need to teach you the joy of Duran *evil grin*

      As for anime… some I really like (Ninja Scroll, to name one) and some is sorta eh… I just don’t know much about it. I mean, I know I like bishonen (erm, is that term right? the pretty boys or something like that?)

      I have many MANY more fandoms, actually. It’s a little embarassing.

      And speaking of Bowie, our local movie tavern just showed Labyrinth and I got to go! It was awesome to watch it on the big screen!

  2. I really need to Tweet more. I would to get a Tweet from some of my heros and innocent little crushes!

  3. oops…obvious typo above. See, I got all excited about tweeting with my heros and forgot to insert *love* in its obvious place.

    • Gigi Salem said

      Now, they don’t *always* tweet back, and you can’t excpect them to, okay? I don’t want you to get your hopes up and then be disappointed if it doesn’t happen…

  4. Fandom – my earliest memory of Fandom was George Michael. YEP! I said it. I used to sit on on my swing set with my walkman and sing along to every song. Next, I moved on to Gloria Estefan, Belinda Carlisle and New Kids on the Block. I remember writing a love letter to a boy in the 5th grade and quoting a Gloria Estefan song – Oh, that poor boy! He had every right to run away scared. My junior high and high school Fandom belonged to Aerosmith, and still does to this day! I used to sit in front of the TV in junior high and sing along to every Aerosmith video on MTV. MTV – the day sof the actual music video. I’ve seen my boys Steven & Joe in concert at least five times that I can think of….Nowadays, I also can’t miss a Cold Play or Blue October concert either if they are playing nearby. I love being a FAN!

    • Gigi Salem said

      Hi Tiffany! **waves**

      Now I’m going to have Belinda Carlisle’s version of “Band of Gold” stuck in my head all day, and I’m kinda glad about it! And Aerosmith! I do adore them quite a bit. It’s such a shame that MTV doesn’t really stand for Music TeleVision anymore, although I don’t know what it *does* stand for now! Maybe sometime we can share fandoms? You can go with me and my gang to a Duran show and I can tag along to one of yours! Something. The best part of fandom is sharing it! :D

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