And the Nerds Came Out

I don’t know if nerds are finally getting lured out by free wifi, or if I just recognize them more often because I’m on Tumblr now. I saw a guy wearing a Don’t Blink Don’t Even Blink T-shirt in Walmart the other day. Not even a nerdy place. Just a regular old Walmart, in regular old small town Georgia. I think it’s really cool that people in fandoms are getting outspoken enough to display their fandom pride. It’s sad that crazy sports fans don’t get a second glance, but people who wear fandom stuff get labeled. I bought my first fandom merch today: a Hogwarts button. And I’m going to put it on my bag, because Hogwarts was real for me.

Nerds have tremendous power. In the past, you had to be able to speak in front of other people to have an impact in your lifetime. A lot of writers never had anything published while they were alive. Emily Dickinson, for example, only had a handful of poems published in her lifetime. Her contemporaries thought she was strange because she wouldn’t leave her room. Imagine if she had had an Internet connection, tweeting her little poems. Wouldn’t she have been one of us?

In January, this happened.
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Justin Bieber is Justin Bieber, obviously. Jared Padalecki plays one of the main characters on my favorite American TV show. This tweet resulted in an uproar that taught me two things.

One, know who your allies are. Justin Bieber says his fans are dedicated. When they saw Jared’s tweet, they called for a boycott of Supernatural. They had no idea who they were messing with. Supernatural is one of the Big Three of Tumblr. (Fans of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock basically control the Internet.) And the thing about Supernatural fans? They’re also in other fandoms. They used Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, EVERYTHING, to get people to watch Supernatural. The Supernatural episode on the Tuesday after Jared’s tweet, the night of the boycott, had the highest views the show has had in three years. The fandoms united, and it was beautiful.

Two, use your platform. Most of these people don’t have irl friends in their fandoms (unless they converted them). The fandoms united across the Internet without ever meeting each other, to support one complete stranger against another complete stranger. This was made possible by social media. I mean, I use Facebook to stalk my friends as much as the next person, but just like anyone else, I have the tremendous power of an Internet connection in my own house. I don’t think I take as much advantage of that as I should.

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