Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fans, Friendships and Frauds

By Pam

A lot of people join fan forums to make a connection with those of like minds and interests. Some join just out of loneliness, hoping to find a more personal, intimate connection. For whatever reason, these people are really not your best friends, or “sisters/brothers.” You don't know anything about them, other than their thoughts posted in a forum. "Mindy1982" could be 16 year old Anthony from the Bronx. "Puddinkitty" could be a student doing a study on gullibility.  "IHEARTTHATGUY" could be a person with mental issues, playing with whoever will take the bait...sucking you in. "IamMe" could be someone who has the need to control someone else.

It amazes me that complete strangers who have never spoken feel close enough to one another to trust each other explicitly. From what I've seen, and mind you I have only had a taste of fan forums for three years, any one of those "sisters/brothers" will throw the other one under the bus should the occasion arise. You're only a sister/brother if you agree with all the other ones. Once you decide to have your own thoughts, or deviate from the majority, you're no longer a sister/brother in solidarity. You have broken from the fold and will most likely be ignored, or your posts will be buried. Might as well stick your head in the oven. Your life is over as you've known it. Pity that you'll be talked about, rather rabidly, in PMs. It's unconscionable how some people are treated just for having a differing opinion.

Bottom line, don't be a lemming or a minion. They get no respect in life. Stay away from the "mean girls." They give no respect. If you must attach yourself to someone, choose that person wisely. Don't just jump on the first person who tells you you're awesome. Take the time to read posts and seek out the person with your own sensibilities. Also, try to find the "smartest" person and see whose posts s/he comments on the most. They would be the ones to follow. Don't be afraid to express your own thoughts. You may need to test the waters on several fan forums before you find the one that suits you. Remember, be careful, but have fun. Once the fun stops for you, consider finding another hobby.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I did find someone on a fan forum that has become a terrific long distance friend. Without her, there would be no O'Laughing Press. She's Carol, my writing partner and confidant.

I wish everyone could be so lucky.

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