Netfan

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Synonyms: Net fans, Net fandom
See also: Feral Fandoms, Netfic
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A netfan is a fan who first discovered fanfiction and related types of fandom online.

The term is mostly used by fans who come from a traditional print Media Fandom background and is often used in contrast to 'print fans' or 'zine fandom' or other terms of this type.

Some fans found it offensive.

The term is almost obsolete.

Some Examples of Use and Discussion

1996

There was just small rumbles about [netfans] until recently. It all seemed to come to a head at Escapade this year, where the people who weren't on computer made it clear that we who are on computers and the 'net were actually depriving them of some part of the fannish experience by going on without them. Definite hostility, and from some pretty level-headed sorts too. In someways, I took it (jargon alert) as an expression of classism in fandom, as they were basically accusing the net fans of either being richer, or (for the many who have net access from college) at least younger/better educated. I found it all very startling.[1]

[comment]: I've been hearing about C&D's and other things going on involving the internet over the past year or so and I'm convinced of something: the net is either going to be the best thing that ever happened to fandom -- or it's going to be the end of fandom. It's too early yet for us to know which way it's going to go. Time will tell.

[reply]:

I've heard this from others in the last couple of years. I don't think I believe it at all. If fandom were that easy to kill, it would have been done before. It wasn't killed by Gene Roddenberry insisting that, well, of course Kirk and Spock weren't, you know, and insisting that fans stop. It wasn't killed by Michael Mann trying to shut down the poor woman who was running that MV newsletter. It wasn't shut down by Paul Darrow insisting that, well, of course Avon and Blake (or Vila) weren't, well, you know, and insisting that fans stopped. (Or any of the other little ebbs and flows of insanity in that particular tempest.) It wasn't killed by the various factions in the S&H fanwars. Heck, it wasn't even killed by the ever-so-slightly scary BEAUTY & THE BEAST, um, occurrences. If it does anything, maybe we take two steps sideways or even back: More of a circuit style to fandom again.

I actually think it's much more likely that fandom will sort of go into twin tracts. You'll have those who are die-hard "print" fans, who want nothing to do with the Internet (aka The Great Evil) or the fans on there and will insist that "It ain't a zine unless you can hold it in your hands." Then you'll have the 'net fans who think it doesn't count unless it goes past you on a computer screen. And could care less the way things used to be and be highly indignant if it's suggested that they didn't invent fandom themselves. ("Ma, what's a 'mimeograph'?") I think that in a lot of ways, this has already begun and will just become more and more the direction people will go in. And there will always be some who will go happily between both mediums, occasionally getting pissed at the hard-liners on both sides until they end up talking to themselves all day and doing reviews of zines that no one cares about... *Ahem*

I do think that the socialization is completely different in the two factions. I do greatly feel that it is jarringly obvious sometimes that some of the people who are 'net fans (and I do mean by that, people who found fandom through the Internet and whose primary encounter with it continues to be so) have lost out on the old great tradition of fannish mentoring. I also think that it's pretty obvious with some of them that the only socialisation that they do is via the computer and while that is far from isolationist, it is also quite different from dealing with people one on one or face to face. I saw some incredibly rude behavior this last Media West and just plain *odd* behaviour that I hadn't noticed before that I know was coming from some who were 'net fans. But, then again, it could be that I was just not paying attention before. Plus some of the rudest/looniest people I have ever encountered have been involved with fandom since the Dawn of Time. [2]

1998

I was on a panel at Escapade called "Crossing the Line," which was conceived of as an explanation to net fans of how to find print resources, and to print fans of how to find net resources. ...As I began to explain how to make connections to the print world, mundane details like the importance of SASEs, etc., the murmur began to rise of "but why should fans pay for zines when they can get stories free off the net?" Now, that's a fair question, but I wasn't very successful at answering it until Rachael Sabotini, who is fluent in both net and print fandom, explained something to me in words of few syllables.

Net fandom, she said, is about the stories. It's about the stories as *product*. That's what fans want. If they can get product free, why should they go to more effort and incur costs to get it?[3]

Net fandom encourages Instant Gratification Mentality, which most fans have to some degree anyway, whether they're more net or print-oriented. I Want It All, and I Want It Now. But I think fans who grew up with the potato-printed zines or entered into fandom when print was still king, when fandom was still quiet, more underground, kept in unmarked boxes behind the table, when you had to know someone or do a lot of digging to even find it, and then had to be guided along the way until you knew Who Was Who, Who Did What, Where Things Happened and How, and how to acquire fanfic, when you got zines by waiting for that editor who hopefully was still at the same address you found in the back of a 3-year-old zine and who hopefully was still in business and still had zines in a closet somewhere to get around to cashing your check and sticking the zine in the mail or by skulking about at gen cons whispering furtively to likely-looking fans who might have a slightly suggestive t-shirt or button on, when, in other words, slash fandom *took more time to get to know*, fans had more patience.

We still Wanted It All and we still Wanted It Now, but the fact remains that we *didn't get it* All & Now. We had to wait. We had to work hard to find fellow fans. We had no choice but to be polite and patient, though I like to think that most of the fans that I'm friends with came by that naturally. We knew that all good things take time and effort, and that you can't just Ask & Receive.

I first learned that slash fandom existed in 1988. It took me FOUR YEARS to find a local fandom mentor, other local fans to talk with, someone who would dump a closetful of zines and tapes in my lap. Before that, I sent lots of letters and checks off in the mail, got a new zine maybe once every 3 or 4 months, dug around for info at two gen cons, and basically knew no other way to go about it.

If you come into slash fandom today, you can get onto Yahoo and type the word in and get instant access. People to talk to, fanfic by the truckload. Takes no work, little effort, no time at all. Instant Gratification Mentality becomes rewarded; you get positive reinforcement for wanting it all Now, because you constantly get it.

If a fan then goes out and transfers that mentality into the Real World, it's no surprise that she would pop up on someone's doorstep to buy a tape and then get herself and her uninvited friend invited in for a four-hour chat, and it's no surprise that she would drop by without phoning first or fail to pick up on "I don't like you" cues. Getting everything you want without going through any social hoops or making any kind of concerted effort at earning it is the net fandom default, so why shouldn't it work that way in Real World Fandom, too?

Well, it shouldn't. But that's just my ever-humble opinion.

Meanwhile, I love the fact that when I get into a new fandom today, I can get instant access to so much stuff on the Net, and I don't have to suffer through four years of searching and cultivating first. This is a good thing. But acting as if that's the *only* way to handle one's involvement in fandom is not such a good thing.[4]


References

  1. Sandy Herrold private email dated 11/6/1996, quoted with permission.
  2. comment by Michelle Christian, November 1, 1996, at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  3. Panel report from a 1998 Escapade panel, "Crossing the Line", posted to Virgule-L and reposted to Fanlore with permission: Escapade 1998 Convention Reports: Three Different Perspectives Of The Same Convention.
  4. Alexfandra posting to a private mailing list on August 19, 1998 (quoted with permission).