Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:56 pm
- Sometimes I get nostalgic for metafandom. Not the way it was before people stopped updating - basically having trended in the way of being totally about social justice, just like Tumblr, just like the blogosphere, and not really about fandom in particular - but the way it used to link to talk about the whys and hows of how fandom was done, in the beginning.
I am often nostalgic for earlier versions of how fandom was done, lately. Not necessarily because of the actual things that happened to and around me but because of the way it made me feel. The kinds of discussions and sense of community and etc etc cannot be replicated in the Tumblr-based successors to media fandom which have their own norms and which I'm sure someone will be nostalgic about in 15 years when they've long been replaced by something else. I even get nostalgic for mailing lists and I was on very few for a hot second before I largely switched to message boards for about six months in 2002 and then after that to LJ.
I lurked a lot on people's websites - especially the 'elite' archives full of the best fic from mailing lists - and then slowly circled closer and closer in to actual community. And then the grand era of LJ where I didn't ever feel like one of the cool kids but followed and was followed by hundreds of people and posted hundreds of comments a week. Ah, the vigour of youth.
- Speaking of fannish nostalgia, I've been occasionally randomly looking up fans of various size of name on Fanlore, to see who was a Big enough Big Name Fan to end up with a page about them. I totally ran with a lot of BNFs back in the day! And never gained any fame or notoriety of my own hahaha which is probably both a good and a bad thing. (Good: getting featured on fandomwank never looked fun. Bad: the people who got super popular and notorious now have book deals and huge followings and have made it and I'm still cooling my heels.)
Bizarrely, Fanlore has a page about my fanfic site, as though it ran from 2003-2005, when:
(A) It still exists (and this reminds me to update it); and
(B) I don't think enough people were actually looking at my fic site from 03-05 for it to warrant having a page about it on Fanlore. That's just bizarre.
- And in my nostalgia I ended up looking at old fic sites from 00-02 on the wayback machine, feeling nostalgic about websites with frames, old arguments about darkfic (Buffy fandom was a great place for gen, seriously), web rings and fanfic awards, all the different places fandom has happened for me. I know all the very valid reasons frames stopped being valid HTML and why it's a bad idea to do site layouts in tables; nonetheless, I did both. I had so many websites. It was so fun.
I feel like we talk about fandom, or at least fanart fandom and fanficdom, as if it all happens in one or two places, or in one way. Even now that's not true. Even beyond the almighty AO3, people still post fic to FF dot net, and there's all that celebrity RPF on Wattpad, and people post fic on Tumblr (terrible platform for it, jfc), and DW, and LJ. There are still fandom-specific archives, including those that are still (somewhat) active - I've read plenty of fic on the Kirk/Spock archive this year. There are still fanauthor websites, and I read fic on those, and not just The Sentinel fic I'm nostalgic about. (Seriously, note to self: update the damn website).
And fannish discussion happens in lots of different places, with many different community norms: forums (still), and Tumblr, and here, and communities that still live on LJ, and Wordpress, and the book bloggers on goodreads, and . . .
A lot of fandoms in the 80s and 90s and very early 00s flourished as their own discrete entities, building their own community norms, creating their own fan languages, many of which were then combined into the fannish soup when LJ started to be the big thing and pan-fandom communities started to organise. And some of those terms have fallen by the wayside: noromo, altfic, lemon. But I think the re-splintering of fandom en masse as LJ disintegrated into an increasingly unusable platform and people have fled to multiple different places has put the lie to the idea that there really is one big fannish community.
But I'm still nostalgic for some of the things that worked when fandom on LJ flourished, some of the people I knew, some of the fic and art and discussion - a lot of which has been lost to time.