Fandom As… Anarchy or Democracy?

Okay, so here’s the deal Wanderers, this is another one of those … ramble until I get to a point style editorials, in which I try to share my vague thoughts with you and hope that something is gleaned from it all, mostly by myself. If you get something from it, more power to you, for you are a smarter person than I. ‘Cause, let’s face it, we’re not the ultimate authority on anything. Well, someone among us might be an considered an ultimate authority in a fandom they’re in; I’m not entirely sure. Anyway. Yes! Title of this piece. Well, recently in the gaming sections of fandoms, there has been the most interesting social experiment. I am, of course, talking about Twitch Plays Pokémon.

Now, for those few who had been lucky enough to not encounter at least one of the many memes this has created, I’ll do my best to sum it up here. Twitch, a streaming site that seems to be used a lot by gamers to allow others to watch and help influence their games, had a member. This member, from Australia, decided to see what it would be like if they let a mass amount of people play Pokémon Red all at the same time. The result is … something that will likely not be easily forgotten by any fandom. It was chaos, and yet it wasn’t chaos. People fought against each other, and yet they came together at the same time. Though I don’t think it was originally intended to be so, like I said, it’s been the most interesting social experiment.

And in a way, it reminds me of fandom as a general whole. Yeah, I know, that might sound a bit on the “Z, what are you on” side; but go with me here, it’s a ramble type thought stream thing. There has to be a better way to word that. My point is that the mob, as I understand is the general naming term for people involved in making the decisions of the game, acts like … well, how fandom acts. Which, yes I know it is a fandom acting here but I’m talking more in the figurative almost metaphorical sense, than any concrete thing. Fandom is a large beast, if you will, hard to tame. At the same time, whether you like it or not, it’s also kind of fractured, split off into its own sections, and capable of a lot of in-fighting and squabbles.

Except those rare times. You know the times I’m talking about. Those moments when you can’t help but feel warmed by a fandom’s (I’m using that word a lot this review) actions. When they band together to do something brilliant, something kind, something that deserves to be brought to attention and praised. And, really, it’s for those type of moments that, personally? I love fandom. Don’t get me wrong, being in a fandom can be great fun, discussing the show you like with people who also like it. But then there’s those times that it can just be… tiring. Sometimes, it feels like all people can do is fight, and then the media itself it doing things that people can consider triggering or problematic – in some cases, both – and it just feels like this constant cycle of endless noise when all you really want is a bit of silence.

I guess it’s time to work out what can be gleamed from this article. Well, for one, I personally like it when fandom bands together to do something really nice for someone else, or other people, or … just be nice in general. I’ve ranted on about this before, but I’ll say it till you’re sick of hearing it, just to see if anyone’s listening (not that I’m expecting them too, but it would be nice); manners are important. As is just playing nice with others. Fandom is a large scary place, but it’s also got nice people in it, who are willing to do nice things.

So yeah, let’s have more of the nice. That’d be fun.

Z McAspurren (wants us all to get along like we did in middle school)

This entry was posted in Fandom As..., Issue Forty-Four and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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