When it comes to being a fangirl, sometimes you just don’t think about how you will be seen in the fandom. For me, I was that kind of fangirl. I went into the Backstreet Boys fandom with zero fucks given, but as I got older, I realized that’s not how I wanted to be seen.
This class is a lot like the last one – Fangirl Personas: In a room full of fangirls, who are you? – as in it talks about various types of fangirls. It just goes deeper than that.
“We are not Groupies. Groupies sleep with rock stars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids.”
— Penny Lane, “Almost Famous”
Pre-Internet vs. Today
I’ve had the luxury (I guess you could call it that) to be a fangirl in the pre-internet and internet world. To say that the pre-internet was different is an understatement.
You didn’t have to worry about what people thought about you. If you talked to other fans, it’s because you knew them in real life or they were some pen pal across the country or in another country that you met from some pen pal list in Tiger Beat and you only communicated by snail mail.
You also didn’t have to worry about your fave actually seeing what you say about them. Back then, Joey McIntyre never knew that I wanted to marry him. Joey had no idea who I was or that I existed. These pen pals knew nothing about my day-to-day life, what was going on with me daily or anything else.
Today it’s a totally different story altogether.
Nick Carter knows who I am, wishes me a happy birthday almost every year and sadly knows how to get me flustered in concert. He’s followed me on social media for like 10 years. While Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans may not follow me on social media, they can surely see my tweets when I tag them, so there is even the slightest chance you could get a reply.
The days of pen pals are long gone because you can talk to your “pen pals” throughout the day through text, messaging services like Facebook, or on social media. Those pen pals have become everyday normal friends who most of the time live in another city, state, or even country.
With social media, it has made everything different. Everything you post can be seen by the entire world and you have to think – how do you want to be seen in your fandom?
“They don’t even know what it is to be a fan. Y’know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.”
– Sapphire, “Almost Famous”
Obsessed or Dedicated?
To a lot of outsiders of whatever your fandom of choice is, you might look obsessed. That’s what a lot of people like to say to fangirls and fanboys. They just do not understand what it is to love something so much.
And to be honest, it feels like it’s okay for guys to obsess over something, such as a football team, they are dedicated, but when it’s a girl and a “silly” music group, it’s being obsessed.
Yes, there is the rare fan who is a little obsessed. There will always be that fan, but 99.5 percent of fans are dedicated. Because a sport can be such a manly and a ritual type thing, a girl loving a musician is no different. We are dedicated to our favorite artist or groups.
Going back to what we talked about in the last class, obsessive fans today are referred to as “stans” (Thanks Marshall!) and several psychological professionals have described that kind of obsessive disorder as a parasocial relationship.
According to Wikipedia, a parasocial relationship (PSR) is a “one-sided relationship that media users form as a result of exposure to media personas.” In fact, FindAPsycholist.org explains it as a “one-sided relationship where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time, and the other party, the persona, is completely unaware of the other’s existence. Parasocial relationships are most common with celebrities, organizations (such as sports teams), and television stars.”
Is it obsession or dedication?
Some psychologist thing that fans can become dedicated or obsessed to fill a void that they are missing in their life. But would they say that about an die-hard Green Bay Packers fan? No. It goes back to how females are more than likely to be called obsessed instead of dedicated.
If you catch yourself acting like a true, obsessive stan, just take a breath and think – “Is that how I want to be known in the fandom?”
What is your brand?
In the last class, you hopefully figured out what kind of fangirl you are. For me, I’m a professional fangirl. I have taken my fangirling to the next levels by starting a blog, running social media accounts, and becoming known in the fandom.
If you are a fan who wants to make that leap into starting a blog, or maybe even a podcast or vlog (video blog), you need to think about what type of personality is going to be the face of your “brand.”
To put it simply, your brand is what distinguishes you from others in the fandom. My brand is being an adult, yet professional, fangirl. It’s fun, which is why we have the glowing neon logos and bright colors that kind of come from the Backstreet Boys’ Vegas set.
Branding is also about consistency. Your look, such as logos, graphics, etc., should all have a consistent look with your brand colors, fonts, designs, etc. That also goes for your attitude and persona online. Yes, we all have off days and I definitely don’t always stand by my professional fangirl persona, but I try to. You have to find what works for you.
For instance, BSBFangirls is different than the other major Backstreet Boys fan blogs. For one, we are home to several writers because I wanted our brand to be inclusive to everyone. We all have our strengths. We all do things differently.
“If you’re keeping the right company, then you’ll have surrounded yourself with women who want to conquer just as much as you do. TV and movies love to trick us into thinking that two women wanting the same thing are destined enemies. But the faster you learn to stop competing with other women, the sooner you’ll realize that keeping them in your camp is the best thing that could have happened to you.”
– Kathleen Smith, The Fangirl Life
So, when you are thinking about your brand, think about how people want to identify you. Will your podcast, blog, or vlog offer something different than the others? You want to be the original when you create something and if it’s good, people will imitate you. Imitation means that you are doing something right and you have sparked interest in someone else. They may never claim that you did, but that’s what it means.”
When you are making your fangirl brand, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my fangirl vision? What do I want to be known for?
- Who is my target audience? Will it be younger fans or older fans? Male fans or anybody?
- How will you be consistent with your branding?
- Will you be the same fangirl online that you are offline? This comes into play when you are in a “fandom situation” such as a concert or cruise and people who visit your socials and blog come up to you in person.
“Music, you now, true music – not just rock n roll – it chooses you. It lives in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the cast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.”
— Lester Bangs, “Almost Famous”
So, who are you?
So why did we talk about the difference between dedicated and obsessed before discussing finding your brand? Because obsessed is what people think of when they think of a fangirl. Do you want your brand to be an obsessive fangirl who cries every time Harry Styles comes on television or do you want to be professional about it? Dedicated, but professional?
That is something I have worked on over the past few years. A few years ago, I may have come off as obsessive, or at least rude. I mouthed off at anyone who said something I didn’t like and got a reputation. I’m still working on that. It’s all a part of making myself better, more professional. Although you will catch me sometimes lusting over a photo of Nick Carter or Chris Hemsworth, it’s usually kept to private messages. LOL!
It’s all about how you want the world, the entire work on the Internet, to see you. Before you put anything out on the interwebs, think about that.
Fangirl Reads & Watches
In Class 2, we didn’t give any Fangirl reads and watches, so we are going to make up for it this time by introducing you to some fangirls that you may already know and may not know. They have taken their fangirling to the next level to become content creators and/or masters of marketing.
Brianne – If you watch Fangirls Night Out, you already know Brianne. She is a marketing guru who has used her fangirling ways to incorporate into her career. One of my favorite posts is “Jessica Simpson’s Brilliant Tips to Build Your Online Presence.” Also, check out her podcast!
Kelsey – Another Fangirls Night Out host and one of our bloggers, Kelsey, has started her own website to discuss her brand and other musings. Her site is still new but look for big things coming to it! Also, check out her business with her co-writer Britt where they use their fangirl loves into branding.
Taylor – Taylor has ran a podcast called “Backstreet’s Back Whatever” for over two years and has developed a following naturally by giving honest opinions and has recently begun interviewing other fans.
Boy Band Break – Boy Band Break is a podcast made up of four Canadian fangirls who love boy bands. They have taken a podcast and built a simple brand around it. They are consistent in updating and being true to who they are.
Next Class: Getting Social – The Basics of How To Run A Fan Account and Make It Marketable. This will be an overview of social media and the next four classes will focus on the top social media platforms. Will also touch more on branding, especially on social media.
<< Go back to the main “A Fangirl’s Guide to the Internet: How to Become a Professional Fangirl in the Digital Age” page.