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This Vagabond Fandom Life - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
This Vagabond Fandom Life
Posted in full at: https://ift.tt/2rm7e5w on December 05, 2018 at 05:17PM


The first thing you have to understand is that no one wants us. No one has ever wanted us. And by us I don’t mean fans in general, but creative Fandom, if you will. Transformative fandom–writers and artists and gif makers and vidders and podcasters and podficcers and the community that supports them.

Don’t be fooled by the occasional mainstream media article that uses mostly respectful language or the academic study that talks about transgressive fannish behavior like it’s admirable.  People reading those news articles laugh at us and you don’t exactly see universities creating Fandom Studies departments. 

Nor do we have the buying power we like to think we do. Think about it. We wouldn’t have to transform media to suit ourselves if that media already existed. If Marvel gave a damn about Fandom money vs fandom money, they’d be the ones posting the explicit Cap/Iron Man pics. They’ll take our money, but it’s not as important as small-f fandom money because there’s nowhere near as much of it. 

So that leaves ue as exactly what we are: extreme niche hobbyists. And you know what? We’re not even nice, easy, safe, niche hobbyists like knitters or…idk, curling fans. We like trangressive sex a whole lot, we tread a very fine legal line in a time when intellectual property laws are a big fucking deal, we’re hard to advertise to, and, to make things worse, we have a nasty habit of dragging our platform admins into our petty, internecine Fandom Drama.

(seriously it’s like if the dude who runs the Giants SB Nation site went running to the SB Nation admins saying that the dude who runs the Dodgers site is a pedophile just because he implied Madison Bumgarner might be a little racist.)

But Telesilla, you say. Are we really bound to your fate? Destined to spend our fannish lives like you have, migrating from one site after another, always losing people and history along the way? This is so depressing! There has to be an answer!

Well, once upon a time I thought the answer was “by fans for fans” and wow, have I been burned by that one. Our greatest triumph is routinely attacked by its own users and our best functioning social media platform doesn’t have the bells and whistles corporate sites can offer. And AO3 and Dreamwidth are the success stories. Ask me about JournalFen. (on second thought, don’t. I don’t have the energy to explain without overusing the word “robust” and talking about ice weasels.)

I’m enough of a Old Time Internet Person to still think doing it ourselves is the best answer we have, but it takes a special kind of person to dedicate themselves to  serving a notoriously fractious internet community that has no money and wants you to cater to their every whim. It takes an even more special kind of person to do it long term. Fandom history shows us that those people don’t come along often. (personal history shows me that I am, alas, not one of them.)

Until they do, we’ll just lurch from corporate platform that doesn’t really want us to corporate platform that doesn’t really want us. Because that’s the bottom line–we’re an extreme niche hobby and there’s no real money to be made off us. Under late capitalism…well, I don’t want to be that Fandom Old, but really, what did we expect?

Tags:DWCrosspost, borrowed tags-reblog does not mean endorsement, fandom history, telesilla

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)

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