If you’ve been around long enough in any way in fandom or through any social rise on through the internet then you’ve seen words like “like and subscribe”—you’ve seen words like “like and RT,” “rate,” and perhaps that could probably be annoying. Well if you’re telling me to, asking me to, then no I don’t want to. Or perhaps in a world of influencers where platform has sometimes been used wrongly, you wonder/don’t want to be the reason someone gets paid.
The internet is a vast, wildly massive place none of us can really comprehend. The conversation behind algorithms, legitimately always makes my head spin. They (y’know, the ones we all know are listening and programming all our ads a la The Social Dilemma) are setting up what we see and when we see it? Yikes. But then there’s new apps such as TikTok that’s been a huge platform for so many content creators and our current favorites—Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, co-creators of the Bridgerton musical! This is what happens when content is played, liked, and shared. And it matters. It really, truly does.
Get to the point, geek squad! We know, we know—we’re getting there. Here’s the thing about us, we’re proud fan girls, each of us skilled in a different area of media bringing it to the page to analyze. We have met a lot of fan girls through this who’ve now become lifelong friends, and whose works we adore tremendously! (Meredith Loftus over at Fangirl Forum, Madison Marrow of Temple of Geek, Katie Kawa of Nerdy Girl Notes, Heather of TVExamined, Lizzie, Raquel and all the lovely ladies over at Fangirlish, Marianne Paluso of The Girly Nerd!) If we adored them and their work any less, we might be able to talk about them more—point being, fandom is beautiful and explosive, and we’ve all entered each other’s orbits by seeing the work that’s been shared.
The thing is, it doesn’t always have to be some grand, huge comment. But it matters. It always matters when something is shared. It matters when you follow, it matters when you subscribe, it matters when you like. But most importantly, it matters when something is shared because that’s what tells people that whatever the thing is, it’s worth reading. It’s worth looking into.
Tumblr now hides things. So many content creators (gif makers, fan artists, fic writers) depend on reblogs because their work doesn’t always show up in the tags. Algorithms and weird nuances screw with these things and people always, always put in so much time to create that we all likely miss. If you read a fic, like it, if you know someone else who’ll love it, pass it on, if the person is on Tumblr and you’re on Tumblr, reblog it. If they’re on Twitter, share it. This is how people’s time and energy gets rewarded. (Don’t forget, none of your favorite fanfiction writers are getting paid for writing what they do and all the amazing feelings they evoke!) That’s why words matter so much. You’ll never, ever hear a person say: “ugh another comment? Can they just stop!?!” Granted of course you’re not cyberbullying or anything of the sort, people are going to be grateful for the time you put in to tell them that their work was enjoyable to you. You could also be the very reason someone gets an amazing job where their work found its way to the right people at the right time.
Clicks matter. And sometimes, sadly, larger outlets will use what you’ve all heard as clickbait to get those clicks. We aren’t discussing misleading articles, which we’ll say could often be recognized immediately, and you’ll always know about midway through if it isn’t easy to recognize. But we’re talking about the content creators on social media who aren’t doing things just to meet a quota, but the people who are creating for readers/viewers/listeners like them. Podcasters who are working out of their homes, geeking out over their favorite things. YouTubers reviewing the things they love. Writers writing fic for whatever fandom. Journalists writing thought-provoking reviews and not just focusing on headlines that’ll lure an audience.
The point is, it matters to us—it really, truly does. Social Media is has brought cancelled shows back from the dead. (Imagine if it was as explosive during Pushing Daisies times. Someday. It’s still talked about, and one day, we’ll see that movie. We will.) As fans of things, we have the power to help our peers in beautiful ways. We have to power to make sure our friends and favorite artists thrive. (Look at the amazing things K-Pop stans did to stand on the right side of politics.) Sharing is caring, simply put, it matters, and we know we speak on behalf of so many of our friends when we say it means so much.