Whether it's a band, a movie franchise, or a celebrity, we all have something we're very passionate about to a fault. We actually take the time to watch them, research every single fact about them, or simply admire them as they are. In fact, other people (including you yourself) might call it an obsession.
However, with being a hardcore fangirl comes all these overwhelming feels that we must express on social media. For some people, their pride in their fandom evolves into aggression and arrogance--which is exactly where toxic fandom originates. We've witnessed fan wars at least once on social media and it's not pretty. To keep from becoming part of a destructive community, here are a few codes we feel every fan should live by.
Do: Keep yourself informed. Of course, you'd want to keep yourself updated on your fandom but it's also important to keep yourself in-the-know when it comes to their rivals so when an issue comes up, you have all the facts and you won't be wasting your time on farfetched assumptions and rumors. Plus, you'll have solid foundations for your arguments and criticism.
Don't: Spread rumors or unconfirmed news about rivals. Not only is it cheap and rude, it's also very immature. You should always know better than to help spread a scandals and misleading information about other celebrities and shows to support your cause.
Do: Educate non-fans in a polite and respectful manner. If you see a non-fan curious or rising to the bait of erroneous information about your fandom, the best and only thing you have to do is explain what you know in a polite and concise manner. Try not to cram all the information you have down their throat. Instead of writing a two-page essay, include one link or two.
Don't: Use degrading vocabulary to prove your point. If someone else shares their opinion about your fandom which you do not agree with, refrain from using calling them names or using expletives. As a fan, you are not only representing other people in the fandom but as well as whatever it is you support.
Do: Give credit, warnings, and disclaimers. Always remember to credit the source of your information, photo, or video. You have no idea what lengths the source must have gone through to obtain the content. Also, when posting critcism or memes, be sure to call spoiler alert or start off with a disclaimer to avoid aggravating other fans.
Don't: Ruin the experience for other fans... Especially if they've only just begun getting on it! Whatever it is you're pouring your heart over, always remember that you do not have ownership over it. Whether it's a band, a TV show, or a celebrity, you do not get to tell other people whether they deserve to be called fans or not. Whoever it is you support will always want their fanbase to grow and reach out to more people. Your job is not to shut other people out, but welcome everyone who expresses interest.
Do: Spread the love. Fandoms have been and always will be a community based on support. The best way to keep it that way is to refrain from promoting hate directed at whatever it is you don't like yourself. Don't beat other people up for supporting someone/something else. Remember: Different strokes for different folks!
There's nothing wrong with expressing your opinions and sharing criticism on social media. However, you have to remember that you're going to encounter all sorts of people on the internet so the best way to survive is to keep an open mind and an open heart. Stop promoting hate and spread the love--there's enough for every fan to go around!
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