So What Is Fandom?
Fandom is defined as being "the collective fans of something such as a sport, hobby, or series of books. Typically the members of a fandom feel interconnected by their common interest, and a fandom can often be a subculture as well. Only the most devoted fans are included in a fandom, separating them from the people who may casually enjoy the thing in question." Fandoms can take many forms and exist multi-modally on platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, etc. Within these Fandoms, fans find a sense of understanding of one another which can promote a sense of community, sociability and creativity, while providing a place to which many individuals who may otherwise feel loneliness or social anxiety can belong. In essence, fandoms connect strangers. Fandoms were originally formed around sports in the early 1900s but have been shown to have had lowered the barriers to entry with the introduction of widely accessible internet and social media. In turn, these fandoms, or fan "kingdoms" have widened to include pop culture, books, interests, hobbies, etc. Fandoms often feature a sense of empathy for those in the community as well as provide a place to communally discuss and admire characters or figures relative to that fandom. Often times, these fandoms are creators of remix culture, in which the creation of new materials and representations of their praised figures are constructed. The fandoms are also notable for their ability to raise money and support causes in the name of their celebrated idol, as well as join together for impactful fan conventions. However one of the greatest benefits of fandom is the sense of victory and pride that individuals in any given fandom community can feel when their idol succeeds or their sports team wins. Fandoms play a crucial role in developing popular beliefs about characters and social icons as they are constantly evolving and are far too grand databases for the dispersion of knowledge about their idols to be contained, controlled or filtered by PR companies or entertainment groups.