But with the popularity of quick social media platforms, like twitter and tumblr, fandom friction seems to be spreading like wildfire. Hell, everything spreads faster these days because of the internet, and the way twitter and tumblr facilitates this doesn't help.
Okay, but that's not really what I want to yak about. There's come to be this very active part of fandom that focuses on calling out other fans or making mean fun of the 'other side.' A thriving 'us vs. them' war. (Thank goodness I don't see it much on LJ; it mostly confines itself to twitter and tumblr these days.) Now, I'll admit to poking fun myself, but I do it mostly privately. There IS a lot of ridiculous behavior in fandom, to be sure, and it's tough not to lampoon that every once in a while.
But when it comes to pointing fingers and laughing at opposing fans and ships, what winds up happening is NOT “empowering victims” (and I have many feelings about what it means to be a “victim” in fandom, but that's for another day), it's making it nigh impossible for people who might want to enjoy all ships or all characters to do so. Say you're a Cas!girl who mostly hangs with Destiellers, but you want to explore a little Sassy in your writing. Do you dare?! Will that put you in the crosshairs of militant Destiel fans? Or even worse, you want to write Cas with Meg. Not only are you betraying the ship, you're betraying 'diversity'. (Wincesters are frequently no better; Cas is often a hated character and they make no bones about that.)
I guess what I'm suggesting is that maybe we shouldn't spend so much time focusing on one-upping and slamming each other or things we don't love. I'm in no way saying we can't discus parts of the show or characters we don't like, and of course we don't have to all get along—God forbid THAT ever happen, heh—but practicing empathy is almost a lost skill these days. If we did it more often and stopped the venomous in-fighting, there would absolutely be more cross-over between various camps. People wouldn't be afraid to branch out, for fear of not towing the company line and therefore being ostracized by their more zealous friends.
It's kinda unfortunate that I'm relegated to writing this on LJ, because like I said, LJ tends to see less of this brouhaha because most of it has drifted off to twitter and tumblr (Gee, I wonder why?) and it's easier to privatize and curate your flist here. But LJ is the best place for actual discussions, so here it be!
This post isn't meant to be pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but the phenomena in general. Feel free to ignore my boring ruminations or pipe up if it moves you! Just keep things respectful, and above all, empathetic. My goal here, actually, is to encourage folks to be MORE involved with the characters and fans they love, not less. :)