All my friends know by now that since I got my BlackBerry a few months ago, I have been almost joined at the hip with it. I never went anywhere without my old mobile anyway but now that I have all my emails, Twitter, Facebook, all more easily accessible and at a much cheaper cost than the old one, I am even more attached to it than before. Recently, one of my friends called me anti-social because I was checking Twitter while she was driving instead of talking to her, but the ironic thing was that I was tweeting with someone on the other side of the world or the other side of the country, discussing our common bond: White Collar and its stars Matt Bomer and Tim DeKay.
So putting aside the suggestion that new social media have made us more anti-social (another topic for another day), my obsession with the Twitterverse in recent months has revealed several things to me:
- There’s a whole different language that people use that makes NO sense to me (hands up if you know what “shippers” are? Anyone?)
- It IS possible to feel like you know someone you’ve never met before better than people you have known for 20 years AND like them more than people you see everyday
- On Election night, mark every tweet with the hashtag #ausvotes to get it trending as the number 1 search tag around the world, even if your message has nothing to do with the election
- If you want your favourite TV show to give you more shirtless glimpses of the show’s main star, you start a Twitter campaign to the show’s creator (@JeffEastin) and its writers (@WCWriters) and offer bribes for #MoreShirtlessNealInWhiteCollar (feel free to join in our campaign! It’s better than any Election promises you’ll ever find!)
Some might call my fanaticism over my favourite show a little OTT (over the top) but this, to me, is just a modern day, 21st Century version of fan-mail of the snail mail variety. And the more I learn about “fandom” the more I realise that my fanaticism is just the tiniest of the tip of the iceberg when compared to what else is out there. In the last couple of months, I have been introduced to the world of “fanfics” (fan fiction) where aspiring writers use characters from their favourite TV shows and create their own stories, either filling in story gaps from episodes or completely out-there scenarios that are not even imagined by the creators of the show; “fanvids” (fan videos) where amateur movie editors put together clips of certain scenes and put them to music; and “fanart” that range from photoshopping pictures of their favourite stars into something artsy to artists drawing/painting/sketching their own interpretation of the characters.
Fan Clubs have been around forever – they are, of course, now much more far-reaching across the world-wide-web than the old Fan Club Newsletters that you could subscribe to (in Baby Boomer days maybe?) when, for a small fee, the Club would send you a newsletter in the mail on a regular basis to give you news of your favourite celebrity. Nowadays, we have fan forums where like-minded people discuss online all about their favourite topic. And the best fan sites will give you more than you could ever imagine – literally tens of thousands of pictures of the actor/singer/sports star along with video clips of their appearances on TV or radio or at a public event (check out my favourite fansites: http://www.mattbomerfan.com/ and http://timdekay.org/ and you’ll know what I mean, and of course you can follow them on Twitter @MattBomerFan and @timdekayorg and @TimDeKayFan. Oh, and I would get into so much trouble if I did not also mention my sporting fandom in support of a fellow Sydney Swans fan: http://rttf.posterous.com/ or @RTTF_AU).
Certainly fan sites and other associated paraphernalia could only exist because of the fans. Fandom brings total strangers together, people who might otherwise have nothing else in common but have bonded over a common interest in an individual, a group or a thing. Personally, it has meant countless hours of tweeting and sleepless nights as I converse with people across the country and across the globe. But I have had the best fun and I think once you start, you will not be able to stop either.
So go forth and tweet! Find your inner fanatic and join in the fun! The lack of sleep will be worth it!