Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sharing Fandoms: A How-To Guide

If you know me, you know that I love lots of things. Some of the things I love are related to each other, but quite a few are not. For example, I love the organ. I've been playing for eighteen years now. (Geesh...) But I also love Japanese anime. Are those things related? Not at all!

I am someone that tends to get sucked into fandoms very quickly. If it's recommended by a bunch of people, I give it a try. Stranger Things was one of my more recent obsessions, all because everyone started obsessing about it over the summer. (I'll never look at Eggo waffles the same way again.) It's not exactly FOMO, but more of a hope for enjoyment.

Because I'm so open to trying new television shows or movie genres, I mistakenly believe that other people are the same way. It kind of feels like this:

Person: "Hey, have you heard about ****?"

Me: "I've heard about it a little."

Person: "Ugh, it's SO GOOD. I just binged it all the way through. You'd totally love it!"

Me: "I should give it a try!"

Later

Me: "Person, I just finished ****! It was incredible!"

Person: "I know, right?!"

Later

Me: "Hey, have you heard about %%%%? You should give it a try - it's really good!"

Person: "I'm too busy for that kind of stuff. Geez!"

Fin


I am exaggerating a bit, but not that much. But it's frustrating to try to get friends and family to join you on a glorious road of storytelling and they shut you down!

Before we can think of solutions, let's look at the reasons - most of which might have more to do with me than people in general:

I'm too aggressive on the marketing

If I am all-in on a fandom, I might get a bit obsessed. I tweet about it a lot. I immerse myself in fanart. I start saying catchphrases. I rewatch it. I research it to death. 

After all of that, then when I finally find the time to promote it to someone I know, it's almost like I'm trying to get them to make a life-or-death decision. "You have to watch this! It's the best thing you'll ever watch! If you don't, someone close to you will die!" 

(Okay, I don't say that last one.) 

The persuasion turns more into force at this point. 

Example: Doctor Who. In 2013 this turned into my livelihood. But I pushed it too far, unfortunately. Even though my family is a bunch of science fiction fans, not many of them were interested in the British show. Give credit to my parents - they tried several times to start, but always fell asleep.

I don't understand their interests

Not everyone is going to enjoy the same things I do. While they're talking about Game of Thrones, I'm off geeking out over Naruto. They are getting excited about the upcoming NFL season, and I'm confused why they aren't talking more about the Summer Olympics. 

They are my family and friends, but the more they try to get me to enjoy their hobbies, I'm stubbornly resisting and trying to get them to enjoy my hobbies. Instead of mutually admiring the other, it turns into a competition.

Example: Star Wars. Doesn't everyone love Star Wars? Well, no. Some people like Star Trek. Some people dislike science fiction. I sometimes post things on Facebook - like my 100-day fanart countdown to Star Wars: The Force Awakens - as if everyone loves Star Wars, but that's not actually the case. I hope no one blocked me during those 100 days.

Not everyone gets obsessed

You can see a few examples of my fandom in the article already. But not everyone takes it to the extreme that I do. 

To reverse the idea, let's look at people who like the McRib. I can always tell when the McRib is coming back to McDonald's because all of a sudden a smattering of people are posting everywhere that "THE McRIB IS BACK!!!!!!!!!" They pretty much make McDonald's appointments so they can get their McRib fix. I have eaten and enjoyed one McRib in my day, and it was fine, but I certainly don't count down the days to when the McRib will come back. 

So when I geek out over new episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender (coming back next Friday!), I know that some people will enjoy the episodes and simply move on. It was enjoyable, but there's other stuff to do.

Example: Disney - especially the parks. I know families who have gone to Walt Disney World, and I try to hide my look of absolute horror when the mention that they bought their tickets when they got there or that they usually showed up to a park around 11:00 a.m. Didn't they hate the crowds and the lines and why would you wait so long in line if you didn't have to and didn't you catch all the little intricate details like the windows on Main Street?! Well, they had fun and yes, there were lines, but that was the vacation, big whoop! 


With all that in mind, here are some steps I need to follow:

Don't be so crazy pushy

Mentioning Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to my brothers is great once, or maybe even twice. But pushing it any further than that is probably a bit too much, and it will drive them away from watching it, ever. (Good work. You failed.)

When someone expresses a desire to enjoy something you enjoy, don't prune their fandom to death

There's getting excited, and there's sharing-fanart-texting-theories-pushing-them-to-branch-out-into-the-books-and-comic-books excited. Just express happiness, and do the Happy Dance in private. 

No being self-righteous. EVER

When someone starts watching something, it's easy to start telling them all the little details as they watch so that they can come to the same conclusions you have about things. But if someone disagrees, it is wrong to tell them how wrong they are! It's perfectly okay to have discussions and agree to disagree on some point in some fandom. But never take their excitement and squash it just to be "right." (I'm looking at you, Prequel bashers.)

Some people will just never watch anything

They have lives. They might be married, with children. They might have jobs with crazy hours. They'll just never have time. Be okay with that. Move on.


With all of this in mind, I do have one success story I'd like to share. 

Back in 2013 when my Doctor Who fandom was at its zenith, I was telling everyone to watch this show. I had gotten the Christopher Eccleston DVDs as a present and bought myself the David Tennant DVD box set. I put all the DVDs in a case and offered it to anyone I knew, just to get a few more people who know what the heck a Dalek was.

I had a few takers, though most didn't get through them. But my friend Michelle watched them, and then watched them with her husband, and now she's going through the classic series with her husband! She'll text me cute TARDIS gift ideas and tell me how excited she is to have a new companion with Peter Capaldi. We have manya wonderful discussion about the Doctor and his travels.

At this point, she's probably a bigger fan of Doctor Who than I am. And for that, I am very excited. I wanted a friend with which to share a show, because I wanted to see their reactions to twists and turns of the series. I knew how I felt at that moment, but I want to see if they react differently. Will they cry? Will they get angry? How many exclamation points will they text me when that happens? 

Sharing a fandom means I get to share in their joy. I just have to make sure my joy doesn't spill over to madness!


I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for TouringPlans.com. I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or facebook.com/blurbmusings. 

1 comment:

  1. This Is Us. You can take that phrase as a comment, or as my latest fandom obsession.

    ReplyDelete

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