Superfans: A Love Story

From “Star Wars” to “Game of Thrones,” fans have more power than ever to push back. But is fandom becoming as toxic as politics?

Article & Photo: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/09/16/superfans-a-love-story

This article talks about the power that fans and fandoms have across social media and develops a story about these groups of people that recognizes both the overly fanatic and the more humanistic side of the pop-culture landscape.

It starts out by telling the story of Wanna Thompson, a freelance music journalist, and how her tweet about Nicki Minaj needing to be more mature in her lyrics created such backlash from her fans that she lost her internship and had her daughter’s face photoshopped onto a gorilla’s body. After even getting a nasty DM from Nicki Minaj’s official twitter account, Thompson was baffled at how one single tweet could bring her so many problems. The author continues by citing other examples of fandom power such as the extreme anger expressed by fans of Game of Thrones at the series finale and Star Wars’ Last Jedi.  

Besides the fact that it is quite funny and absurd, I enjoyed reading this article as a reflection of the increased power of audiences and the importance to create content that satisfies them. The story was good in emphasizing that wide, varied audiences are shrinking while more dedicated and demanding fandoms are rising. A media company’s main concern these days should be to write plots that truly fulfill the expectations of fans, since “there are certain things where you should listen to them, because they’re smarter than maybe the super-high-up execs are going to think.” Essentially, if companies want to effectively profit from their creations, they should work on finding ways to gather audience input on the development of their stories.

Aspiring psychotherapist Michael Asuncion contributed to the article by stating that “there are three needs that all people have: they want to be seen, they want to be heard, and they want to be valued.” All these needs have clearly been channeled into their favorite movies, series, books and TV shows.

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