I Love You, Jerk
Donnie Lederer (@dtrain1813)
What makes a fan a fan, and when does he become a jerk?
In the age of social media, this question has popped into my head more frequently. Between Twitter and Facebook alone, the arenas for fans of all ages and of all things to voice their opinions (positive and negative) have multiplied extensively in the last three years alone. One can go to his or her favorite movie’s Facebook page and post a comment on its wall about how awesome the movie was. Someone can also go to the same page and write how horrific the movie was. Now, this type of expression is not exclusive to movies. It can be a TV show, book, movie star, stand-up comedian, pro-wrestler, and so on and so forth. Thanks to the internet, the possibilities are endless.
Some fans, however, don’t see this as a world of possibilities. They don’t see this as a place where opinions can be expressed and feedback can be given to produce even better product than the one they fell in love with. They see this forum as a battleground. These are the fans that take something they love and declare war on it just because they disagreed with something that happened. Or they disagreed with what someone said. Or they disagreed with how something was written. There’s no constructive criticism. It becomes rude, offensive anarchy.
Where is the line? Yes, it is the internet, and there is a lot more freedom of expression, which is why a lot of entertainers are starting to utilize it more and more. You can basically say what you want. “What you want.” Some think that phrase is like an invisibility cloak you get for Christmas at Hogwarts. People can go on the internet and feel that because there are less restrictions, there are no consequences. Well, I have news for you. Just because you are merely posting digital words on the internet, doesn’t mean they hurt any less.
It doesn’t matter who you are, whether it’s me, just a guy from Seattle trying to learn how to write, or a celebrity who has spent years honing their craft in the entertainment business. Being told, “Hey, you SUCK!” doesn’t feel good at all. “Hey, I didn’t like this thing you did/said, and here’s why” only takes about five more seconds to type, doesn’t make anyone feel like they should question what they are doing, and can help them possibly make what they’re doing just a little better.
So I guess one answer to the question: “When am I a fan, and when am I a jerk?” could be “Whenever I want to. It’s the internet. Screw You.” Another? “I’m a fan. Why would I want to be a jerk?”
Photo Credit: The Oatmeal