Fandom’s the Same, Technology Improved
Posted by VersusTheFans
Expressing appreciation to favorite actors/performers, interacting with other fans, creating fan art, videos, writing fan fiction… All of these are regular fandom activities that seem impossible without at the very least a computer, especially in a world where it’s hard to function without technology for even five minutes.
The internet and social media has certainly become core vehicles of fandom, allowing fans around the globe to easily connect, interface and share their fandom creations. Really, how did a fandom ever do anything before the internet and social media? Turns out, they did the same thing fans do now, just with the technology (or lack thereof) that was available at the time.
Letter writing was a core staple back in the day. For example, Barry Manilow fans in the 1980’s would join a postal mail fan club (like with paper, envelopes, stamps and post offices) and write letters to each other. Not only would these fans talk about their favorite performer, they also kept each other apprised of their real life happenings, thus becoming a community. Same as what happens today, just with all that paper instead of the ease of social media. Oh, and of course letters were written to favorite celebrities.
In addition, fan videos could be created by splicing together parts of video from VHS tapes and music mixes using cassette tapes. Fans would write their own musical tributes and share them at sing-alongs at Science fiction conventions. Artists create their own fan art by hand, but instead of being able to scan and up load it online (or create on the computer in the first place), the art would be shown at conventions or through the mail. Just like YouTube, gifs and Photo Shop, old school style.
Fan fiction seems almost as old as TV itself, and, like other fan activities, has always been a big part of the fandom experience. Star Trek fans (as an example) would write their fan fiction and pass it out through a mail subscription service, at gatherings with other fans and by distributing at conventions. Now, thanks to sites like fanfiction.net, Tumblr and Live Journal, all of this is possible online. (Though, sometimes the wait time between updates is still excruciatingly long.)
So, while technology may have changed, being a fan and the type of creations fandom generate hasn’t really changed at all.