Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Minions and Things

Ceiling Fan
Flickr Credit: elston
I’m thinking about fan names.

I mean, it’s a little bit interesting how we come up with these things. Like, on the one hand it produces a great source of community and belonging, because you both associate with an idea or activity or name. I think of Whovians, even though I’m not one myself, just because they’re super funny to watch and rather clever.

You’ve got Whovians, Trekkies, Twihards, Loki’s Army, Sherlockians, Demigods, Mizzies, Browncoats, Cortexifans, and those are just the ones I recognize from this list.

I think sometimes it can backfire, too. Skillet fans are called “Panheads,” apparently. Like, I love that band. It is awesome. So awesome. But for the same reason I’m not so thrilled about some Harry Potter fans being called “Pottheads,” it just brings up some negative connotations for me. (Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean we all do it, thanks.)

Actually, at this point in my life, anybody who is referred to as an Xhead is pretty much on drugs, which I guess makes it easier for me.

That’s an interesting thought I had though—I mean, we belong to plenty of institutions like Girl Scouts or our schools (and we often refer to ourselves by our mascots), but very rarely do we come up with cute names for the things we do.

And people who are addicted to illegal substances and people who are addicted to Netflix are kind of in the same boat in that regard (not that there wouldn’t already be overlap).

So, I like the community aspect, even if sometimes the fandom name is unfortunate.

I like that bloggers do this, too, sometimes. I mean, if I were to say “HEY YOU” all of a sudden I imagine you would know that I mean you, who are reading this. I think you’d understand that I mean other people who would read the post as well, even though you’re probably alone when you read this. (That is a guess; I’ve always assumed that blogging is a solitary event because it certainly is for me.)

Cait and Aimee, for example, have been known to call their readers minions. It’s cute, although I wouldn’t do it myself. No offense, but if I’m taking over the world I need highly qualified people to stand at my side and you don’t come with any references. Sorry.

Over at Daddy Doin’ Work, everyone gets a Doin’ Work name. Readers Doin’ Work, subscribers, daughters, wives, etcetera. Which is also something I like.

And people try other things. Most recently I came across a blog that called readers ‘losers’ as a greeting, which I won’t link to because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. (But I was like, “Really?”)

It fascinates me how simple a name can be to be binding, and introduce community. Whether you like reading blogs, or participating in fandoms, or root for a certain football team, or anything else, how binding a name is to make a community.

I like it. I don’t think I would do it for my blog. As I mentioned before, you are probably reading this alone, so in a way it’s weird for me to address you collectively when you are not reading this as a collective, but an individual.

Also, I do not often feel an urge to address you when I start a blog post, unless I’m trying to get your attention. You are not my dog and I do not need to coddle you; you probably would appreciate it more if I talked and didn’t rub your belly, because that would be weird.

(Another aside; it’s a good thing I don’t have to write this in Spanish because I’d never be able to figure out whether I want to address you in tú form, or usted or ustedes. That would be a struggle.)

I’m not sure this post has a point, now that I get to the end of it. Well, there’s a little bit: even if I don’t have a name for my readers, and even if I don’t get called by name in my own fandoms, I am still amazed by the loyalty induced by a community name and the power it brings with it, and I am glad that even when I am never called by name I appreciate being part of the various blogging communities out there as well.

There you go.

What do you think? Yea to community names? No? What’s your favorite fandom name? Is blogging a solitary event for you? (Just curious, ha)

14 comments :

  1. I would't say I'm very fangirly because while there are books that I absolutely love, I'm not sure that I really fangirl over them, you know? So yea, I wouldn't call myself a fandom name. I really like Imps, though, which is the fandom name for The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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    1. That sort of makes sense. Maybe? I don't know—usually I know I've liked a book if I've started fangirling, and if I like them but I don't fangirl, I know that they're more of a four-star than a five-star book, for me. I can picture it, though, which is a start! I haven't heard of that book before, but that's still a cool fan name! :)

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  2. I really like this post! I'm a huge Cortexifan OH MY WORDD. So much. (And I love that TV Tropes site. So addictive.) I like community names. 1) they're cute and 2) you DO have to know that fandom in-depth to know where the name came from and what it refers to. It' like a club, like an insiders joke.

    I do talk to my readers on my blog, for example I'll try to ask a question at the end like you do, or I might bring up a point that longtime readers are already familiar with ("Some of you may remember my loyal friend, the Bookshelf!"). I've come across bloggers who are very "I, I, I, me, me, me,", which is not always a bad thing. Sometimes their experiences are interesting to read about, ie. personal blogs.

    But I don't label my readers because... well, even if reading my blog was their common trait, naming them after me feels kinda egotistical. I mean, how does Ashanabloggians sounds?! Ridiculous. Strangely enough, I don't mind when others do it because it's quite amusing. Cait makes me laugh with her Overlord and minion talk, and it's clear that it's all in good fun and not condescending.

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    1. YOU LIKE FRINGE TOO? IT IS AWESOME, NO? We own four of the seasons on discs—it's awesome. (So is TV Tropes.) But yes, cuteness and inside jokes are what makes it fun!

      *nods* I guess there's a balance between reaching out and staying focused: sometimes we post discussion posts, but a blog, in my opinion, isn't the best forum to have real conversations with other people. There's also something to be said about personal blogs versus other kinds; it would be weird for a business's blog to take the approach I do, and would probably invite more focus on something to share, rather than any one person. On the other hand, in a personal blog if the focus told people how to live their lives instead of reflections on her life, I think we'd probably feel a little different about the "I, I, me, me" stuff.

      XD Other people are better at it, and some blogs are better suited to it than others. And, of course, it's always in good fun, which is the important part. (Whereas for me, it wouldn't be in good fun and that would be rather a problem, no?)

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  3. I think there's a balance - like Ashana said above, it comes across as kind of egotistical. I like things like 'minions' and 'you lovely people' and often 'friends' because it's kind of cute, doesn't come across as pretentious, and makes readers feel like the post is more personal. At least, that's how I feel, at least. I like it when a blog makes it personal like that.

    And fandom names are adorable. It's an inside joke and a lot of fun and gives a sense of community.

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    1. Absolutely, and adding a personal note works really well sometimes. Of course, you don't want to make people feel like they're six inches tall, but you don't want them to feel like you're talking to the wall behind them. I like the way you do it, too. :)

      Yes, yes they are! :D

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  4. I actually go out of my way not to be a 'fangirl' or join fandoms.
    a) Because I like my own little bubble
    b) I don't want some name tacked on me because I happened to enjoy a book
    c) What goes on in a fandom very rarely interests me. I just want to be left to enjoy the book the way I like

    However, I do think for bringing people together into a community, a name is a good thing. I tried calling my readers minions, but even though I plan to take over the world (I HAVE COMPETITION), I just didn't feel comfortable. Most of the time I don't really address whoever is reading my blog.

    In the end, I guess I try to treat my readers as equals.

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    1. Hm, I can see how you would probably want to avoid that sort of thing. I really enjoy fandoms, but hey, to each her own.

      But treating people as equals is good, too. I mean, when you refer to someone as a minion, you're acknowledging that he or she is your subordinate, which could be construed as rude in some circumstances. Other times, I think it's good to give other people shout outs—I'm thinking of your post where you recently mentioned blog posts you like. Even if you didn't address anyone, you still did a good job reaching out to others. So we can achieve community in a number of different ways!

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  5. YAY! Fellow Cortexifan! :D I'm binge watching the seasons all over!

    Interesting post, I do agree that I've never been a big part of fandoms, but then again, I've always been a more solitary person, less inclined to the large groups and associations.

    Having a group, an identity, is important for some people - a collective whole, so to speak, bonded by their love for something. It's no different to how society itself works - we have families (our surnames link us), our schools (our uniforms and titles links us), our nation (you are an American, Australian etc), or even our planet (you are a humanoid from Earth).

    You missed something though: the product creator never gets to decide what the fandom name is chosen. Therefore, I motion that all followers on your blog should call themselves 'Raptors' - you said you identify as a velociraptor ;) - and that our standard should be a silhouette dinosaur on a field of white! :D

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    1. :D *hives* YES! That is a great way to spend your time. XD

      I get that too, and maybe I'm less involved in fandoms than I claimed... What I really like to do is read "Best of Tumblr" pictures on Pinterest, but maybe since I don't actually add anything to the fandom... Eh. They're fun to watch, is all I'm saying—so keep that in mind.

      That's also true, too. I know that people have often acted on things because of family tradition, or because not doing it would be "uncountryist." Like during WWII—if you weren't helping your country, then you weren't really being a good citizen. And it's that kind of thing that binds us all together.

      Oh, I didn't think of that. XD I am a velociraptor, and if you want to call yourself a Raptor, then you feel free to pass that motion. XD I don't know where to get a silhouetted dinosaur, though, so best of luck in that department!

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  6. I can't believe you didn't mention Cumbercookies! I find that pun one of the best in the fandom community. I'm still trying to come up with a fan name for my readers, but a) it'd be awkward to give a name to a community that's maybe 20 people and b) I might still change my blog name a couple more times, so no point in changing it. Really liked this post!

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    1. :O I didn't realize it was that, now. I've only heard of the Cumberb*tches name, and I am not a super big supporter of that idea. Mostly because why would you want to call yourself by a curse word?

      It does make sense to hold off on reader names if you're still a work in progress, though. Good luck with the changes!

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  7. I feel the same as you! I refuse to be called a Panhead (even though I LOVE Skillet), but I am totally a Whovian, Sherlockian Demigod in Loki's Army. Among many other things :D


    Alexa S. Winters
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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    1. Skillet is AWESOME, right? I'm just not quite a pan. And I'm with ya on the Sherlock and Loki, and maybe the other things. They're kind of the awesome of the awesome, no? :)

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