June 12, 2017 / Guest Author Rachel Martinmaas and Bethany Lemmon
Fandoms. You’ve probably heard the term. But do you know the benefits of being immersed in them?
Despite outward appearances, being part of a fandom, or several presents us with benefits that cannot be ignored.
“So, what exactly are they?”
A fandom can be defined as the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etcetera. They are often regarded collectively as a community or subculture.
“Okay, what are some of the benefits of being part of a fandom community?”
1. Emotional Benefits
Fans are happier knowing that they belong to a community bigger than themselves. Being able to connect with others due to a common interest can lift a person’s spirits like no other thing can. It gets you excited about being involved in whatever it is that you’re interested in.
2. Social Opportunity
Perhaps the most beneficial piece of taking part in a fandom is the social aspect. Members of a fandom can gather via social media and in person. Not to mention a plethora of sporting events, conventions, clubs, and library activities.
With the tight interconnectivity we have, you can find anyone who likes some of the same things you do.
3. Fans are now able to express their thoughts and creativity through the media
Nancy Baym, an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas and online fandom expert says, “it’s important to understand that online fandom has been around since the earliest days of electronically networked communication. It existed well before what we’re now calling ‘social media’ (as though telephones weren’t social!)… [The media] has made online fandom much more visible and important to content creators and marketers. Online fans used to be obscure pockets of fringe activity with amazing potential. Now that potential is starting to be realized in that fans are gaining more power and influence. The online media that have been developed in the last decade or so also enable fans to create a lot of things like videos, artwork, or game mods they couldn’t make or share anywhere near as easily before.”
Rachel: Involving myself in fandoms has really made me want to express my creative side and expressed my emotional side (Why must fictional characters make me cry) I have really been getting into drawing my favorite characters, making animations, and have started writing my own stories. I encourage you to put yourself out there and express those feels of rage and love for your favorite fandoms.
Bethany: I probably inherited my love of Star Wars and 80’s music from my parents. Sharing a love of something with my family was the first step. As I’ve gotten older, the fandoms that I’m a part of have been a big part of growing into independence. Knowing that I have the ability to be interested in different things has helped me, in some cases, to develop my identity. Not only that, but my immersion in various fandoms has led to many friendships and social opportunities. I think it’s really important for people to discuss things that they are important to them – whether it be sports or sci-fi films.
So the bottom line is that there’s a fandom out there for everyone. So get out there and reap the advantages of being a part of them!