catalenamara (catalenamara) wrote,

Where are all the fans? Thoughts on LJ, yahoo lists, zines and usegroups

It was recently brought home to me how utterly retro I am. I have been, up until a few weeks ago, accessing the internet through dialup. OK, there are extenuating circumstances – i.e., there aren’t any DSL providers in my area – but the truth is, I wasn’t all that bothered about using dialup. This might be because the DSL service at work is unreliable (we’re at the tail end of the DSL service in that area). My home dialup, OTOH, has always been rock steady. I’ve been able to download many megs of music vids with no problems whatsoever.

Recently, the local cable TV company began mailing me flyers about their cable modem service, so I finally decided to join the 21st century and get broadband. (Downloading is sure a pleasure now...! Zip zip zip! Instead of “walk away from the computer for hours”...)

(Pausing for a moment to contemplate that, up until my father passed away in the mid-80s, he still had a rotary telephone and was on a party line.) Cue the Monty Python skit!*

So I start to feel I’m totally oldfashioned. Until I contemplate a small group of friends who get together every once in awhile. All of us are fannish, most of us are still actively involved in fandom, and all of us got into fandom in the 1970s or 1980s.

I’m the only person in that group with broadband, and I’m the only person in that group on LJ.

It’s not that all these people are into pre-net fandoms. Two of them are very much “fannish butterflies”, always trying out the latest fandoms. And they’re aware of LJ. Even though they don’t have LJ identities they do visit LJ to read fic, via various reclists.

So, my question - where are all the fans? Everywhere!

Comments in panel discussions at recent slash conventions (Escapade 2006, BASCon 2006) have ranged from:

- Yahoo lists are dead; all the action is on LJ, and nobody posts to lists anymore.

- But wait! One woman commented in a panel discussion that there was just *too* much traffic on the yahoo lists in her preferred fandom; she found her fandom smaller and easier to manage in LJ. (Her fandom is contemporary; one of those forensic detective shows.) So much for yahoo lists being dead.

- Recently – very recently - on a yahoo group, a new member commented that she guessed much of the action in her particularly fandom had migrated from usegroups to yahoo lists, so she had just signed up to this particular list. I hadn’t known there was still *any* fannish participation at all in usegroups; which just shows what I know.

- And then there’s the zine world, in which I’m very much an active participant.

Of course there are some people like me, who dabble in a bit of everything. Including, finally broadband.

Do I have a point with all of this? Not really. It’s just that I’m amazed at the sheer number of venues people can participate fannishly these days.

And I still can’t figure out why there aren’t any DSL providers in my area (I called *everyone*). I live in the middle of Los Angeles County…! How can there possibly be a DSL black hole in the middle of Los Angeles County???

*** Cue the Monty Python “We were poor” skit...
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