[ View the story "The power of pop culture" on Storify] The power of pop culture Can online fandoms drive civic participation?
The Stream· Tue, Feb 12 2013 09:40:36
Online fandoms are communities based upon mutual interest for a story or characters via television shows, movies or books. Fans in these communities engage in discussions and the creation of memes,
. Fans are increasingly defining themselves through the lessons and experiences of fictional characters and worlds.
Science fiction and fantasy fandoms have the largest number of followers. Via Cheezburger:
internet fandom by numbersAJstream
Some believe that fandom
might have negative aspects
, as it consumes individuals to the degree that they neglect other aspects of their lives.
HARDCORE INTERNET FANSdanisnotonfire
The Harry Potter book and movie series has spawned one of the strongest online fandoms.
Harry Potter related stuff, ACCIO!Pinterest
Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardryPinterest
As Potterheads, we made an Unbreakable Vow to keep the magic Harry Potter gave us alive forever. We can never break that promise! <7Ravenclaw Pride. ϟ
Andrew Slack, co-founder of the
Harry Potter Alliance
, explains the story of how fans used the message and social philosophy of Harry Potter to organise real-world charity projects, which include sending aid to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
TEDxTransmedia 2011 - Andrew Slack - The strength of a storyTEDxTalks
Its Potters world, were just living in itPinterest
Harry Potter isn't the only story where fans are finding moral lessons. From the Star Wars movies, the moral code of the Jedi has even inspired its own
Stormtroopers, Droids, and Vader! OH MY!!Pinterest
Some believe that fandom and pop culture can be useful tools to facilitate social activism.
In 2010, Palestinian activists in the village of Bil'in re-enacted characters from the movie "Avatar" in an unusual setting to protest the Israeli occupation. Many attributed the popularity of "Avatar" to the increase in attention they received from global media.
Bilin Reenacts Avatar Film 12-02-2010 By Haitham Al Katibhaithmkatib
In the following photo, a character from the "My Little Pony" television show is Photoshopped onto an image of Jewish persecution in Poland during World War II. One commenter writes, "This picture made me stop and evaluate. Putting [the pony] Rainbow Dash in made me actually look at what is really happening".
Pony among holocaust victimsAJstream
Fans of the cartoon "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" are known as "Bronies".
[Official Trailer] "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony"bronydoc
A longtime friend of mine just doesn't get #bronies. And I don't get her not getting it! I am very protective & defend you all passionately.Amy Keating Rogers
Bronies for Good
is devoted to encouraging individuals to become socially involved with their communities and partners with non-profits to provide humanitarian aid.
Bronies for GoodAJstream
The Stream asked our online community:
How are fandoms changing society?
<h2>Where does fandom culture come from? And how has the internet changed it?</h2>The Stream
@AJStream the internet allows us to connect with others in way that didn't used to be possible. We can collect and access ideas and art (ct)Jordan Pelavin
@AJStream (ct) in a way that just wasn't possible before. It lets us organize and obsess with like minded people in a great new wayJordan Pelavin
<h2>Can internet fandom communities be a force for social good?</h2>The Stream
@AJStream if they can mobilise enough people to get an official response for a #deathstar petition, then imagine if they voted for changes?!E=McHammer
<h2>In what ways are fandom cultures challenging traditional media?</h2>The Stream
@AJStream They force the authors to think more creatively with sequels, often fanfics end up being much better than the original.Muhammad Bilal Khan
<h2>Are our pop culture obsessions driving people further from reality, or can fan communities actually mobilise for social good?</h2>The Stream
depends what you define as reality, because those with an imagination create it (through inventions etc.). It drives them closer to their passions, and passions turn into reality.Devan Tangri