Fandom Life: The 90s Versus Today

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it feels like the 90s are back. 1999 specifically. A lot of things are back – tattoo chokers, mini backpack purses, even fanny packs. But obviously the most important thing is that the general public loves the Boys again. It’s crazy. At the same time, there’s a lot of little things that make sure to remind me that it’s in fact, 2018. (And no it’s not the fact I feel my age sometimes LOL.) More like, I see the boybands of today like BTS, In Real Life, or PRETTYMUCH…and more specifically their fandoms. How dedicated they are and the things they do. And it’s like…

WOAH.

Because it’s totally different now.

Us 90s fans – Our biggest worry was whether or not we voted enough times to make sure BSB was Number One on TRL

Fangirls Today – Well, I mean TRL still exists but it really doesn’t define anything or have that level or relevance.

 

Back Then – We called radio stations to requests songs on the charts.

Today – There’s been streaming parties on Spotify or YouTube to help them chart on the Billboard Hot 100. (Which how songs make it is a LOT more complicated than it used to be!)

Then – We scrambled to record songs on our cassette tapes and prayed the DJs wouldn’t talk over the song.

Now – People rush online when we hear a song leaked!

 

Then – No Social Media which was probably a blessing. I remember what the fandom was like and man, the NSYNC vs BSB wars would’ve been absolute madness if twitter existed back then!

Now – The stan wars…they’re intense. I saw a taste of it during BoyBand when teens would get mad at Nick for criticizing their favorites.

Us – Chatted on message boards, it was our main way of sharing information on a broad scale through the fandom.

Current Fangirls – They have Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter…you name it.

The 90s – There was a lot hidden. No girlfriends publicly, and when there was, many couldn’t handle it.

2018 – These popstars are getting married! Or like in One Direction, one of them ended up having a kid and while yes it was a scandal…I shudder to think how the BSB fandom would’ve handled that in say 1999.

Speaking of scandals…there’s a lot more now. Back then you could be a celebrity and have at least a semi-semblance of a private life. Now that’s not possible. There’s literally cameras everywhere thanks to smartphones. If you screw up, the world will know. Trial by social media follows. The most that could happen back during BSB’s original peak, was maybe hit some tabloids or entertainment shows.

So as you can see, there’s a lot that’s changed. But that’s not all bad. In many ways we’ve gotten closer…per-say, to the Boys than we ever have been. We can see who they are as people. Thanks to VIPs being so easily accessible compared to back then, many fans have been able to make their dreams come true when they meet the Boys. I know thirteen year old me never dreamed she’d actually ever meet them. If she knew what was to come? She’d die of a mix of joy and shock. And thanks to the internet? You don’t ever have to worry about missing performances or appearances. You can see shows that don’t even air in your country. Which we saw the starts of back then, but the video wasn’t the best and then I don’t want to think about how long it took to download it.

In a way I feel like our fandom has the best of both worlds. We grew up in our fandom before social media fully took over but during the main growth of the internet which helped connect so many of us over online forums, fan pages, or fanfic sites. We ended up in chat rooms and ignored our parents’ warnings not to talk to people we didn’t know mainly because we loved finding others who loved their music as much as we did. That was during their peak. Yes we had to see them fall a bit. But now they’re rising fast, and it’s in an age where social media does wonders. They can give us tastes of what the album might be like. They can see what we fans want to see and we can see what they want. We’re more connected now than we’ve ever been but at the same time, I feel like the fact we didn’t grow up in the social media age makes our fandom closer.

We can also appreciate how good we have it now.

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