I started writing this a bit ago, maybe a week after the action all went down. I have hinted about it and I’ve finally decided to post it. I feel that it needs to be out there in the universe…
If you don’t know me…
Before social media, in the time of fan forums and fan created fan sites, I found myself hooked by the Herc/Xena fandom. I learned so much about interacting with fellow fans, how I wanted to portray myself online, and the perils of being part of a group as a fan. I attended various conventions and met my fellow fans in person along with the actors and actresses from our favorite shows. I befriended like minded fans who are still my friends to this day.
I stretched out my creativity by writing fan fiction (go on, ask me about the Temple of Ares) as well as maintaining fan sites for different actors or singers. I was one of many Kevin Smith (“Ares”) fansites and the one for Erik Thomson (“Hades) as well as William Gregory Lee (“Virgil;” he let me use his name as my URL). I even had a Ryan Gosling site! I gathered up articles, screencapped tv and movie appearances, even recorded sound bytes! All in good fun, of course.
I don’t know when I stopped updating my sites. It was a gradual slow-down. Kevin died. Erik’s work was in Australia and I didn’t have the means to watch some of it. Greg’s gigs were few and far between and I eventually let go of the URL. I switched web hosting providers and lost some of my site files that way. My site turned into a blog, which works better for me now, I think.
I don’t have active fan sites on my own domain now but I am still a total fangirl. I just choose to show my fangirl love via social media. I do screencaps of my favorites and show them off (hello, Sullivan Stapleton). I’ve written my Listworthy posts, which are basically love letters to my favorites. I’m part of the Jacob Davis Squad (spreading the word on singer songwriter Jacob Davis), I can be found in various Tyler Rich fan groups, I’m all in for Jordan Davis. The aforementioned groups are loosely organized and I’m more a member just doing my part to spread the word than an actual driving force. And I’m happy with it. (Although it helps that I’ve met Jacob, Tyler, and Jordan and seen them perform live.)
Behind the scenes of a particular unnamed fandom
Then there’s Fans of Listworthy5*. (This isn’t about publicly calling out anyone and I don’t want to affect any tenuous relationship we might have with Listworthy5 so I thought I’d not mention him by name even though if you know me and my affiliations, you know exactly who he is and what the group is…)
We are a group whose purpose is to spread the word on actor Listworthy5. We support him and his work. We interact with fellow fans, hopefully in a positive manner. We have a blog as well as accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Pinterest. The Twitter and Facebook accounts probably get the most interaction and traffic due to their function while the Instagram posts get a fair amount of likes.
My friend started the endeavor and almost five years ago, she asked me if I would like to be part of it. After some reflection, I said yes. Yes, I had to take some time to consider it because I knew it would be a commitment and it had been a long time since I’d actually set myself to be more active as a fan. I wasn’t sure I could keep up but I wanted to try because why the heck not?
The Kickass Show (starring Listworthy5 and Listworthy6) was winding down at that point and we wanted to keep the attention active on Listworthy5. The Twitter and Facebook accounts were steady but could use more attention. The IG opened up about six months after I joined. We brought in another person, then another. One of them left then we added two more. We were a group of five for a year and a half or so until very recently.
What does it take to be one of our group? First and foremost– trust. When my friend asked me to join her, she trusted me. When we expanded our group, we trusted those invited. This is supposed to be fun and informative otherwise why do it? Contrary to what people might think, we aren’t doing all of this just for his attention. Do we want his attention? Sure! Are we willing to sell each other out for it? Umm, no. Do we want meaningful dialogue with our fellow fans? Of course. We’re not in it to stroke our own egos. We’re in it to share with each other and with our fellow fans.
When you’re in a group promoting and sharing the love for the favorite, you operate within certain parameters. Who sets those parameters? In our group, for the big decisions, we defer the one who created the space. More often than not, if a majority of us feel the same way, she will defer to us. But it’s supposed to be a group effort, especially in terms of the big things. My personal philosophy is this– you shouldn’t know if it’s one person or fifty in terms of who’s posting from our accounts. We speak with one voice, perhaps bringing our own flavor now and then. But we do for the group because we respect one another, Listworthy5, and our fellow fans.
The incident aka it’s not all sunshine and roses
One of our members took the initiative and worked the connection already established with Listworthy5. She managed to score not just one but three interviews with him under our auspice. The interviews were long and full of information. His responses were thoughtful and personal– just what fans love to read to learn about their favorite. It was a great thing for our fan group– not just for us behind the group but for the fans who adore Listworthy5.
Just after the third interview was conducted, this particular member decided– without consulting any of us– that she was going to take full control over the Twitter account. She changed the contact information and the password in an attempt to lock us out, even though IT WAS NOT HER ACCOUNT TO TAKE.
Let’s stop right here for a moment. Let’s think about this. This particular member– not the founder, mind you, but someone who’d been with us for at most a couple of years– decided to take a part of our fan account for herself without consulting any of us. She didn’t reach out to the founder or any of us. She just decided on her own that she was going to take the fan account for herself. And she expected us to be okay with it.
We invited her into our group. We trusted her to do RIGHT in the name of the group. In her statement to us as to why she was taking over the account, she said, “Your motivation is attention from” Listworthy5. She accused us of not doing enough work. She took credit for the current status of the twitter account. And she ended thusly, “You’ve not been blocked from the page just from acting as an admin. Please do not choose to get ugly or hateful through the page. It will only reflect poorly on you and that would make this all the more sad.”
So the person who actually got personal time via interviews with Listworthy5 believes that WE are the ones only motivated by attention from him. The person who locked us out of OUR group account is telling us not to get “ugly or hateful” through the page. Isn’t the act of locking us out just a little ugly and and a touch hateful? Oh, and were we supposed to be happy that she didn’t BLOCK US from the account that she DID NOT create?
She banked on our own honor and civility, assuming we’d not call her out publicly for what she had done (we have not said anything publicly). She thought we would just swallow the bitter pill of her betrayal without action (we had plenty of words about it). She thought she could still be part of our group but have the twitter account all to herself (otherwise, where was she going to post the interview that rightly belonged to our group). She thought she could say nothing when we demanded the account back since it was not hers. She thought she could disrespect us and just get away with it.
The lockout did not last long. We were able to take back the account the same day (she did not give it back– she just wasn’t as clever as she thought she was) and we changed all the passwords to the other sites. She thought she locked us out but we ended up stripping her of admin rights to our group.
So what happened to that third interview conducted under our group name, you might wonder? Well, she posted on her other fan site as if it had been done for that site and not ours. She even re-posted the previous interviews to that particular fan site, the only concession noting that the interviews had been originally posted on a previous date but not WHERE they had been originally posted.
Here’s the thing– there were signs that she would go off the rails at some point. Re-reading the previous interviews, she injected a lot of her own personal experience into the questions. She conducted then posted the second interview without letting us know. She deleted photos (of Listworthy5!) that were cross posted from the IG to the twitter account because they did not go with HER vision yet she retweeted her other fan site’s posts when they had nothing to do with Listworthy5. She demanded that she be the only to post to the twitter account. For a lot of her time behind the twitter account, half of the posts did not DIRECTLY involve him. She accused us of not doing enough work yet we were too polite to tell her we weren’t comfortable with all the non-Listworthy5 posts on the twitter account.
Trying to shut us out by claiming an account that didn’t belong to her was a baller move, albeit one that backfired on her. From her statement to us, I could tell she thought she was doing the right thing by stealing from us. When we were trying to tell her to give back the account, we challenged her to create her own fan site. We didn’t care as long as we got our account back from her. She used her position as a group member to ingratiate herself into Listworthy5’s good graces. He will never take sides (and I don’t want that from him) but she framed her decision as one made *with* him. I’m personally suspicious of that notion but I’m a little naive at times.
(IMO, it just doesn’t seems like a good idea for an artist to choose sides in fan disputes, especially, if in his eyes, no one has done HIM wrong. You know what I mean? He doesn’t need to know about our “in-house” conflicts.)
What’s happening now?
Perhaps this is my way of getting my part of our side out in the open. Listworthy5 won’t read this but maybe the people who might have taken the former member’s side (and why are there even sides?) will see this and have a more complete picture of what went down.
Our trust was broken.
We were betrayed.
Respect was shattered.
Maybe it sounds melodramatic to state it as such but we were all genuinely hurt and angry by her actions.
What matters for our group is to continue to promote Listworthy5 and his work. We do this out of love and we want it to be fun as well. Knowing that we have even a sliver of his attention is enough (for me, at least). Knowing other fans appreciate our efforts is the best reward. Sharing our love and adoration for him– in fun ways, in serious ways, in thoughtful ways– is the important thing. We are a group because we want to bring different facets of fan adoration to the mix. The recent kerfuffle was merely a blip that could have been avoided if not for the ego and self righteousness of one who obviously believes there’s only one way to “fan” and that’s HER way.
Lesson here – there is more than one way to “fan.” There is no wrong way as long as there is respect for the artist, the fellow fans, and yourself. When you’re gathered into a group to promote a particular artist, there must be respect for your fellow group members. The artist appreciates it all if he’s worth anything. Making him choose between fans is disrespectful not just to him but to fans who have worked just as hard as you. Being a fan isn’t a contest– it’s enjoying the artist and your fellow fans. No fan is better than another. We’re all different. And that’s a good thing.