Just Because It’s Online Doesn’t Mean Normal Rules Don’t Apply

There was a bit of a kick up in the One Direction fandom not so long ago when the magazine GQ released their variant September issue covers featuring the boys of the band, and a memorable quote from each from their interviews. Now, you’re probably wondering why this is an issue – this sounds like the standard for most magazines when interviewing a highly famous music group. And, well, yeah, I think we here at FW would need to agree with that. All in all, it sounds pretty standard, and fairly tame considering how some stars have been portrayed in various magazines across the years. So why – I hear you ask – are we mentioning it now? Well, mostly, it’s because of the reaction of the One Direction fans. Vicious is a bit of an understatement when trying to describe the vitriol launched at GQ. Granted, this wasn’t all of the fans, but rather a highly vocal minority responded to the magazine with such hatred and unpleasant behaviour that we were all very shocked indeed. And you know it takes a lot to shock us.

We’ve spoken about this before, a number of times actually, but its one of those tricky little areas of fandom that we often have to revisit, just to make sure we’re all one the same page so to speak. Guys, like the title says, just because it’s online, doesn’t mean that the normal rules don’t apply. My dear Wanderers, it’s not that hard a lesson to get through and yet time and time again we see people abusing social media is various ways, acting in ways online that we’d hope that they’d not act in ‘real life’ as common vernacular goes.

We don’t like having to repeat stuff to you, dear Wanderers, especially not stuff that common sense dictates that we should all know without having to have it explained to us, but perhaps it’s the anonymity that being online can relatively offer. I’m not sure exactly what the root cause of the problem is, but for some reason, people can become incredibly vicious while online and say things that, again, I hope that they wouldn’t dare to utter in their real life. So we have to repeat ourselves, and you’re probably sick of hearing it. I know it’s getting to the point in which we feel sick of seeing it online.

Wanderers, you’re smart people, of course you are. You’re our dear readers and we think all the best of all of you and we know that when it comes down to it, you’re as sick of seeing the misuse of social media as we are. So it’s up to us, including you Wanderers, to try to help stem the flow of this hatred that seems to exists via social media sites for little good reason. (Of course, we are fully accepting that many will express hate online for acts that are downright deserving of the hate, and while we cannot openly condone these actions, we don’t quite know if we can condemn them either.)

When it comes down to it, we need to remember that while everything feels anonymous online, at the other end of this hate that’s been sent, there are people reading it and possibly being affected by it. You don’t know what state their life is in, and they don’t know your circumstances either, but does either reason excuse the hatred that person a is spewing forth? In this writer’s opinion, no, it really doesn’t. But how can we, a generalised we this time, stop this type of behaviour?

The answer’s really short of simple, when you think on it. It’s just… don’t indulge in it yourself. I know, it sounds so simple, and I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s something that needs to be said and – hopefully – is understood and followed. I know this article has been a bit meandering and perhaps it avoids really tackling the subject head on, but it is a rather tricky area to write about without sounding like we’re preaching at you. Wanderers, when it comes down to it, we are as lost as you on this subject.

But maybe, if we all try to show a little bit of decency when online, maybe that will help.

Z McAspurren (apologises for singling out 1D fans, as this occurs in many fandoms and this was just a recent example)

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