Cross-posted from Dreamwidth for the recent Snowflake Challenge
Day 14: In your own space, talk about what you think the future holds for fandom.
I miss the days of Yahoo groups, when Stargate fans could and would chat for hours, discussing eps, characters, fics, dispensing challenges, getting dozens of responses for every post. I miss all of the myriad Stargate sites that have disappeared over the past few years. I miss seeing the stars at conventions, seeing all the thousands of fans wait in long lines for autographs. It’s an era that’s over, and that is difficult to accept.
My fandom is aging. As am I.
I’ll never leave Stargate fandom, but my fics, my discussions, are fewer. I have a core group who continue to do re-watches and discussions, who will always have a read of something I write, but the excitement, the immediacy of fandom has passed on to a gentler, nostalgic vibe. After all, real life situations of health and family care have changed quite a bit since the show (SG1) aired in 1997 (22 years ago, how did THAT happen?). We’ve changed, the internet has changed, so fandom has changed.
I’m grateful for AO3, for Dreamwidth, even for Facebook and Twitter some days. Who knows what the next big thing on the internet will be. But, my hope is more wistful than anticipating. Wondering.
What worries me is that, back in the day, the internet brought us together. We gathered on-line, became friends, family, brothers and sisters – and then we made plans to meet in real life. To touch hands, to look into each other’s eyes, to connect more thoroughly. But it seems our younger society does not use the internet that way. They prefer distance. To stay in their homes and rarely venture out. Order food. Order clothes. Talk to a doctor. Physical presence is considered drudgery, a chore, and a hated chore, at that.
Interaction on the internet is also more problematic. One misspoken (typed) word can get you treated as a criminal. One accusation is enough to black-list any artist. One tongue-in-cheek tweet can get you shunned and cursed at. Honest discussion, with people who can disagree sincerely and yet respectfully is all but eliminated. Feelings are hurt by the lightest breeze of discord.
Media is also changing. The characters are less compelling. The remakes are horrendous. The writing is awful. I cannot think of a new fandom I’ve been interested in for quite some time, not one that hasn’t fizzled out because of what I just mentioned above. They treat my old fandom loves with scorn and dismissal – making parodies to mock them rather than homages. My fandoms are old, like me, I guess. While others are excited about GoT or Vikings, I feel like that curmudgeonly old grump who lives on the corner and yells at the kids to get off my lawn!
On another day I might be more hopeful for fandom. I do hope fanfic writers write – safely posting for the joy of others. I hope fanartists create. Poets versify. Meta-analysts do that thing. I hope there will always be a place to come together, like this, a place ruled by grace and compassion and empathy. A place for teens and moms and old curmudgeons like me to celebrate fandom in all of its odd, mismatched beauty.