Fandom Follies …

It’s been a rough few weeks for many fandoms …

Spencer Smith left Panic! at the Disco. (Awww!)

Nina Dobrev is leaving The Vampire Diaries. (How is TVD going to work with no Gilberts?! At least the Salvatores are still there …)

And Zayn Malik left One Direction. (*wipes tear from the corner of my eye*)

Not going to lie. That last one toyed with my boy-band-lovin’ heart. And I know I wasn’t the only one.

The morning after Malik’s announcement, it was a hot topic on my favorite morning radio show. They asked people to call in to share their #ZaynPain, and as I drove to work, I got to hear a couple of those discussions. And the whole time, I kept thinking, “Please don’t make fun of them …”

The callers were both in their teens. And both girls were pretty sad about this news. The hosts were gracious enough to let them talk through their emotions. They recognized that even though this might not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things … to 1D fans, it’s a HUGE deal.

It was interesting to watch the reactions to Malik’s decision as an older pop music fan. I easily could have been those callers when Kevin Richardson left the Backstreet Boys (dating myself!). The difference now is how quickly fandoms can come together. Within minutes of Malik’s announcement, I saw posts on several social media networks all saying variations on the same theme: If you need a place to talk, I’ll listen/We’ll get through this together/Support each other.

That, to me, is the beauty of fandoms. At some point, it stops being about Zayn or Kevin or whatever/whoever you’re a fan of and starts being about the friends you’ve made *because* you’re a fan of Zayn or Kevin or whoever/whatever you enjoy. And – together – you celebrate the successes and mourn the losses.

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