Yeah. Okay, I’ll hold my hands up and admit it, the idea for this issue’s tips is a little on the reaching for it side. But we received a request, that will be looked at in another issue, and it got your friendly neighbourhood Z to thinking; how do you actually make that step from observing fandom, to participating in fandom? Written down like that, it seems like a really small step to make, but in reality, it can actually be kind of a big thing. So… how do you do it?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any sort of handy guide that can be given out to help with this sort of thing. And I’m not going to lie, these tips? Are just that. Tips. Trying to participate in fandom is entirely an individual thing. Everyone has their own thing to contribute, so there’s no point trying to do anything other than what you can. But here, have some tips, and see if it manages to spark anything in your creative little minds.
Take it at your own pace: This one is more advice for your own comfort than any sort of actual tip. Here’s the thing, it can be hard for people to be comfortable in new things. Even if that thing is online, and not in real life. Though please note, I am not dismissing online interactions as ‘not real’, I’m simply trying to use more familiar jargon in an everyday use sort of manner. The thing is that being in fandom is entirely up to you. If you’re not comfortable with it, then don’t do it. Simple as that, really.
Do feel free to ask questions: Yeah, that’s right. We encourage you to ask questions. How else can you be expected to find anything out? Asking questions is just a simple way of being in fandom, without being too deeply involved past your own comfort levels. Be aware though, there is a fine line between asking questions, and being that annoying newbie who all they do is pester people with endless questions. Google is your friend, be sure to utilise it!
Remember that there are/will be other people in the same situation: This becomes particularly useful to remember once you’ve made that move into being active in a fandom. A little kindness goes a long way, and frankly, it really isn’t going to take a lot out of your day to extend a little common courtesy to someone who clearly needs a hand. No one wants to be known as that jerk in a fandom, so try to be nice. But remember also, you’ve got to have your limits.
Try to enjoy yourself: I know, I know, this one is so obvious that I shouldn’t even be mentioning it, but, well, there is a reason for it. See, lately, in some fandoms more than others, there seems to be a rather large influx of negativity. Some is justified, others… Well, I wouldn’t be lying if I said they make it seem like they’re getting paid to be so negative. Frankly, in my humble opinion, that’s not what fandom is for. Fandom is for sharing joy, and being entertained by your media. Yes, criticize problematic elements, but don’t spend all your time actively hating on something that’s only there to entertain. Above anything, is it really worth your time? Probably not.
Z McAspurren (has seen a lot of fandoms, in her time)