Photos from Vishnu Nair on Unsplash, Alamat and BINI on Instagram
I just fanboyed my way through college—attending concerts, joining shoots with Parcinq, spending money on merch, and making my academic papers all about pop culture—and no, people don’t fully understand. It was more than just a whim or a series of events.
While others may dismiss it as a fruitless pursuit, the reality is far from trivial. In fandom culture, we cultivate connections that go beyond the tangible. We create friendships with online companions who share the same burn as us.
And engaging with my friends, whom I’ve formed bonds with through the stan Twitter community over the years, provides a testament to the depth of these connections.
Community and Connections
One of the key elements that make these communities so powerful is the sense of belongingness they provide. In a world where we often feel isolated or misunderstood, finding a group of people who appreciate and understand where we came from can be a comforting and fulfilling experience.
For Anj, a fan who has been expressing herself on the internet for seven years, shares that having friends in the same fandom means we’re being seen in a way that other people can’t.
“It’s as if finding a person who loves to read the same books as you or watch the same movies a thousand times just like you did,” she adds.
Her words echo the sentiment felt by many within these communities—the joy of discovering individuals who appreciate the nuances of our passion, and this kind of connection only reveals itself to those who are fervent supporters.
Pat also nods in agreement with Anj, expressing that there’s a sense of energy and a special motivation derived from knowing that we have a community equally passionate. This community, told by Pat, offers “invaluable support,” validating even our excitement over the most random and most mundane things.
Even though we are only united through phone screens, the connection transcends physical and geographical boundaries. JP, who has been a fan for 15 years, mentions, “it feels like we are beside each other, crying, laughing, and experiencing all kinds of emotions for our idols, even with the long distances at times.”
And in these moments of shared emotion, distance becomes inconsequential, and emotional proximity rises—even if we’re from the other sides of the world—as the digital threads of friendship know no bounds.
But, can it be real?
Well, in digital connectivity, the question of authenticity in online relationships remains an inquiry. Delving into the fandom culture and virtual communities formed, the resounding answer emerges – the connections built within these spheres are undeniably real.
The realization is not lost on Algelou who affirms that a few of the connections she has cultivated through fangirling transcended mere online interactions. She has personally met and spent time with them, even attending concerts together!
“Because of this,” she elaborates, “our conversations don’t just end with the idols we support but also personal matters. Through them, I’ve found people, not only with the same interests as me, but also people who genuinely care and support me in my endeavors, as much as I do to them.”
While the authenticity of connections in various aspects of our lives hinges on the individuals we encounter, it’s the mutual understanding that breathes life into the intricate fabric of our relationships beyond screens.
This sentiment aligns seamlessly with Ishiro Incapas, a Polaris - Star Magic artist deeply entrenched in both the fandom and the artist’s perspective. Having navigated the roles of a fan and an artist himself, Ishiro declares that having a sense of community is the greatest blessing one could ever ask for.
Drawing from his own journey as a fan before becoming an artist, he emphasizes the rarity of true connections in the digital world and underscores the importance of treasuring those who we share similar interests and passions with, even after our stanning journey ends.
“It’s a hard thing to find true connections," he quips, "but finding people who you truly connect with and have the same interests and passion for something as you is rare, so it is important to treasure those people and each moment you have spent together.”
In a digital landscape often criticized for fostering disconnection, these communities stand as beacons of friendship, proving that a common love for something can go beyond the digital divide and bring people together in some extraordinary and unconventional ways—sometimes unexplainable, and that's the beauty of it.
So today, don’t forget to give your fandom friends a shoutout and some virtual hugs!
*Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the official stance of Parcinq Magazine, its affiliates, or its staff.