Where is Margaret Mead when you need her? Or someone should Explore the Phenomenom of Fandoms and Social Media STAT.

MargaretMead

Many people hide their real identities on Twitter, but I wish at least their ages were up there because I’m ‘Margaret Mead interested’ in discovering more about the psyche of people who spend time worrying, discussing, gossiping about and criticizing actors personal lives on-line. I’m talking about actors they’ve never met as if they’re owed more information and deserve to get it immediately.  During the last month or so, I’ve been watching in dazed bewilderment, hand over my open mouth, the Twitter wars that have been going on.

Full disclosure.  I worked in television and professional theatre during my ‘career years’ prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom.  So I really like TV and theatre.  I like watching shows, working behind the scenes, the entire process.  I’ve met and known many actors, some midling famous, some on their way up and some in the stratosphere.  One thing that never occurred to me was to wonder about their personal lives and relationships.  Never, ever, ever did I care about, ask a co-worker about or even ask the actor about their personal life even if I was sitting in a room with them for two hours.  I did sometimes wonder about their performance.  If it was bad, I wondered how the heck they got the job.  If it was good, I wondered if they took classes or went to University, then classes, what other plays or shows they’d been in, etc.  But, it never occurred to me to ask or want to know more.  Mostly because I wasn’t interested and I’m still not.

You know what an actor owes me? Nothing.  What I hope to get from them is a good performance that takes me along on a journey for 30 to 120 minutes.  If they do it right, their job is to tell a story in a way that makes me forget who and where I am for the amount of time they’re performing.  Maybe they’ll change the way I think about something, open my mind to new ideas,  or issues in the world.  Maybe their performance will be so good that it’ll help me resolve issues that I’ve been battling for some time like PTSD or the loss of a loved one.

I know for sure they don’t owe me one single bit of personal information about their lives that they don’t want to share.  You know why?  It’s. not. my. business.  Just as people are not allowed to knock on your door and ask what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with, you should not be allowed to do the same to them.  I know the argument.  This is what they signed up for.  Well, guess what?  Nobody, other than reality show participants, and maybe not even them, signs up for that kind of intense scrutiny or deserves it.  Real actors become actors because they have a passion to tell a story and they want it so much they’re willing to practically starve for years to do it. And that’s the truth of the matter.

What is going on in fandoms?  Are people so isolated from the real world and locked away in their own homes that they think the personal lives of actors are something that are owed to them?  I don’t even ask my adult children, whom I gave actual birth to directly from my own body, the kinds of questions being asked of actors on line.  If you really believe more is owed to you, than I suggest you start examining the reasons why because there’s something deeper going on and it needs to be addressed.  And in the meantime, I’m going to do some research and see if an actual study has been done on the subject and I’ll report back because now I’m a little more than slightly fascinated in this odd phenomenon.

15 thoughts on “Where is Margaret Mead when you need her? Or someone should Explore the Phenomenom of Fandoms and Social Media STAT.

  1. This is just so perfect. My thoughts have been the same after seeing all that went down on Twitter yesterday. Thank you for putting it into words for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here, here! Thanks for writing this as I have been so bewildered ever since I signed up for TW upon Outlander becoming a show. Didn’t know all of this kind of thing went on or exited previously. I can’t fathom the language or the attitude that these lovely actors ‘owe’ the fans information about their personal lives. They give so much of themselves as it is, yet people want more. It boggles the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said. I think maybe SM has created an isolation for some which is then turned into an intense personal relationship because the object of their affection is right there, on the screen looking directly at them,so they feel the right to be asking personal questions. Also the concept of politeness seems lacking in today’s society, another form of disconnection

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree. If I am a fan, I naturally have a curiosity about them. But I don’t invade their privacy or butt into their lives. Not. My. Business.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree! I’m a big ballet fan, and sometimes the same thing happens, and it’s weird and distressing. Some dancers are very open, sharing pics of babies and weddings, and some like to keep that to themselves, and either is fine. They “owe” me their performance, and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been seeing some exchanges going on and some being taken out of context. Inflection is missing on twitter and fb..which is why I use smiley faces so my comments are not read as abrupt statements. But these recent exchanges have had me shaking my head. So much blame and finger pointing going on…so many opinions.

    With so many passioniate fandoms out there, I’m glad some mediating is going on in Outlander..it’s needed!

    Great observation…love your insight 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree wholeheartedly, but I think the system is now rigged to promote fandom. Indeed, I’m guessing a part of an actor’s contract these days is to develop a social media (SM) presence – in addition to traditional publicity. SM puts people on a level playing ground and successful practitioners often “get personal” to build a following (look at Ashton Kutcher). I worked in television for many years, too, and always kept a respectable distance from celebrities. I now follow a few actors on SM, but if I comment it is always related to their profession and NOT their personal lives. While sometimes I’m curious, I can hit the override button knowing it’s not my business.

    Like

  8. This is so true and on point. Thanks for posting. The way some fans are carrying on, this has gotten out of hand, as if the actors owe fans more than a performance. We think it is sad that: 1) these people have nothing else to do, but be concerned with actor’s personal lives and delve into their every move outside of their work and 2) some of these people are starved for attention. Some of these people have very few tweets and followers, which leads us to believe they just created an account to be distractors/complainers. There are no other actors/shows that interact with fans like Outlander and we doubt there is anything in their contract that says they have to constantly interact with us. We love the show and actors for their effort, hard work and performances; that’s it. We could care less about their personal lives, aside from them being happy and NOT attacked by fans! That also goes for Ron, Terry and the rest of cast and crew. If we were Sam et. al., we would go on radio silence and get off SM for a while. They all need to take a break and enjoy a vacation before they have to go back to work. Well, the actors, that is, because the others are already at work on S3.

    Liked by 1 person

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