8/26/12 10:28 PM 0 Comments


     What makes a fan a fan, and when does he become a jerk?  Being in the age of social media, this question has popped into my head more frequently.  Between Twitter and Facebook alone, the arenas for fans of all ages and of all things to voice their opinions (positive and negative) have multiplied extensively in the last three years alone.  One can go to his or her favorite movie’s Facebook Page and post a comment on its wall about how awesome the movie was.  Someone can also go to the same page and write how horrific the movie was.  Now, this type of expression is not exclusive to movies.  It can be a TV show, a book, a movie star, a stand-up comedian, a pro-wrestler, so on and so forth.  Thanks to the internet, the possibilities are endless.

     Some fans, however, don’t see this as a world of possibilities.  They don’t see this as a place where opinions can be expressed, feedback can be given, and in the end produce an even better product than the one they fell in love with.  They see this forum as a battleground.  These are the fans that take something they love and declare war on it just because they disagreed with something that happened.  Or they disagreed with what someone said. Or they disagreed with how something was written.  There’s no constructive criticism.  It becomes rude, offensive anarchy.

     Twitter, which I love as a form of communication, seems to be a magnet for this negativity.  One of the people I follow on this site is Chris Hardwick (@nerdist).  I listen to his podcast religiously, and even met him at this year’s Comic-Con.  He’s a great guy.  I also understand that he may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Heck, HE even knows that.  If you go to iTunes and read reviews for The Nerdist podcast, for every multitude of five-star reviews, there are a few one-star reviews. Within these one-star reviews, the listeners say what they didn’t like about the show.  It was constructive, even if negative, criticism, and that’s how a better show can be made.

     I apologize for the exposition there.  Let’s get back on point.  A few weeks ago on Twitter, a person asked Chris to “re-tweet” something for a film this person was trying to get funded.  Chris did not do this.  Now we have to keep in mind that Chris has close to 1.6 million followers.  Things may have fallen through the cracks.  I myself have tweeted him a few times, to no response. (If you happen to read this Chris, I forgive you. J ) This person, however, was not amused.  He proceeded to not only lay into Chris with a plethora of profanity-laden tweets, he convinced a few other people to do the same.  All because a request of someone they are a “fan” of didn’t automatically ask “how high?” when told to jump.  Chris almost threatened to reach out to law enforcement because of the material within the tweets.  From what I could tell, nothing was reported, but it was seemed Chris was really shaken up and bothered by the harassment.

     And that’s an example of what makes me ask this question:  Where is the line?  Yes, it is the internet.  Yes, there is a LOT more freedom of expression when it’s on the internet.  That’s why a lot of entertainers are starting to utilize it more and more, because you can basically say what you want. “What you want.”  That’s the main problem.  People think that phrase is like an invisibility cloak you get for Christmas at Hogwarts.  People can go onto the internet and feel that because there are less restrictions, that there are no consequences.  Well, I have news for you.  Just because you are merely posting digital words on the internet, doesn’t mean the words hurt any less.  It doesn’t matter who you are, whether it’s me, just a guy from Seattle trying to learn how to write, or the aforementioned Chris Hardwick, who has spent years honing his craft if the entertainment business.  Being told, “Hey, you SUCK,” doesn’t feel good at all. “Hey, I didn’t like this thing you did/said, and here’s why.”  That previous sentence took me about five more seconds to type, and doesn’t make anyone feel like they should question what they are doing, but it can help them possibly make what they are doing just a little better.

     So I guess one answer to the question, “When am I a fan, and when am I a jerk?” could be “Whenever I want to.  It’s the internet.  Screw You.”  Another answer could ALSO be:  “I’m a fan.  Why would I WANT to be a jerk?”

By Donnie Lederer

@dtrain1813 on Twitter


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents