Why RA?:Part 7 – Why Blogs vs. Boards?

[This post is not intended to be a comparison between which medium is superior, blogs or message boards. I’m not presenting laundry lists for or against either.   Until two weeks ago, I had not a clue there existed any bone of contention.   Instead I want to reiterate my opinion stated in the “Who Is A ‘Real’ Fan” post: that there are different types of fans who would prefer different media.]

A thread developed under that post regarding the merits of blogs versus message boards.  Because some people described having different preferences, one commentator said there was a “divide” between the two venues.  I don’t see why that should be the case.

As I stated in the post, there is no such thing as a ‘real’ fan.  Fans come with different opinions, experiences and outlooks.  The only that matters is their personal enjoyment in their object.  With such differences, it’s not unreasonable to expect that a fan might prefer one medium over another.  This does not mean that blogs are intrinsically better than boards or that boards are the way to go.  Saying there is a ‘divide” to me implies to me a certain disharmony between the two media, if a fan prefers one over the other.  Why can’t they exist side by side solely based on preference?

I’ve belonged to several message boards through my years in fandom.  They were a great source of information for crushes and before the internet explosion were, at times, the only medium available.  Then along came other media like blogs, tumblers, Twitter and Facebook and I had more choices.  Based on my personal experiences and idiosyncrasies, I decided that blogs fit me better, not because boards were bad, but because I felt more comfortable with the former.  I’m still a member of several forums although I rarely post.  I could list the reasons why I decided this, but that is irrelevant.  There is nothing wrong with switching from one medium to another (or back).  Finding something is a better fit does not imply there is something inherently wrong with the other choices.  It’s just my preference.  Tomorrow I could decide blogs don’t work for me and move on to something else.

What disturbs me is that RA fandom is small enough and doesn’t need to deal with perceptions that different media are either/or,  or superior/inferior, or in competition with each other.  A fan should be able to say “I don’t like medium#1 because of A, B and C, but like  medium #2 because of X,Y, and Z.”   It’s just a personal preference.  It doesn’t take away anything from medium #1 or prevent other people from seeking it out and making up their own minds.  RA fandom doesn’t need tribalism.  After all, the blogs, boards, tumblrs, etc, were all created for one purpose: to appreciate RA.  I think he would be sad if he knew there was any type of  “divide.”

38 thoughts on “Why RA?:Part 7 – Why Blogs vs. Boards?

  1. Very well put, Judi.  Wouldn’t it be a boring old world if we all thought or acted alike?

    At this present moment (apart from reading your post above because I was just advised by email that it was up), I am listening to Mario Lanza sing and then I’ll be re-playing some of Richard’s poem readings…while I play Mahjong!

      • I should probably sit down and read some more of his interviews or what not. However, I am more than willing to offer my comforting skills. In fact, if he is having difficulty sleeping knowing there is a division amongst some of his fans, I will sacrifice myself for the greater good and help him fill that time. I’m such a giver. 😉

        • Hi Jael – I this may have been in one of his letters to his fans, but I can’t recall for sure.  Oh, and you ARE such a giver.  Thanks for taking one for the team and all with your suggestion.  😉

  2. Exactly, Jael – I can just see him with one of Lucas’ especially sad looks on his beautiful face!!

  3. There’s something for everyone in the Richard Armitage community: forums, blogs, fansites, tumblr, pinterest, IMDB, twitter, facebook, etc. etc. And probably some new things down the line that haven’t even been dreamt up yet!

  4. I participate in both blogs and message boards and don’t think it has to be exclusive. I enjoy a thread-style discussion that touches many different aspects of a topic. I think the blogs, each with a different slant, are definetely an enrichment to fandom.

  5. They are different media – like books and films. I’ve lurked on boards/forums – specifally Spooks, and found them full of creative speculation. If I prefer blogs, it is a personal choice – for reflection and discussion. Both have their merits.

  6. Since I was drawn out on this question before in ways I didn’t like, I’ll stay silent now except to say that while I understand exactly why people have these opinions, there’s no reason to prioritize either of them.

      • Hmm. Wonder if I can say more about this and still be tactful.

        I think there’s a frequent tendency, when you’ve established something and gotten it going, when you see something new being established that duplicates something you do, to think, I’m already doing that, and perhaps to experience annoyance that someone else is “reinventing the wheel” or “imitating them.” I think a certain tendency to reinvent the wheel may be pronounced in Armitageworld because there are so many “first time” fans, and also because it seems like there’s a new social medium emerging every few months. So a bright, intelligent person is around for a little bit, gets her creativity on (a frequent effect of Armitagemania), and says, “why don’t we do this?” This frustrates people who are maybe already doing it or tried it in the past or have a similar project that the newbie hasn’t bothered to inform herself about it or feel like they are being copied. It potentially frustrates the newbie who feels like she isn’t getting her project recognized sufficiently.

        Also, I think it’s probably logical to assume that in many cases, people start a new project because they think they have something different to contribute (although they may overstate the extent of the novelty of what they are doing because of unawareness of other stuff), and for some observers, the assumption is that the person must think different=better. In that sense, the new blogger (or whatever medium) has an inherent bias to overcome among potential audience members. Some bloggers don’t succeed in creating anything new; some audience members with a significant investment in older projects will never accept that new attempts are legitimate.

        In my case, I looked for conversation partners on the boards for about a month and didn’t find attractive conversations — although some board commentators read my blog and I do enjoy talking with them there, the kinds of conversations we have are different. I was bothered by things I saw happening on boards. I didn’t like the conversational rules even though I understand why they have to be there and respect the work of the moderators. I stress the *I* here because I’m not speaking for others, a point that I have consistently been misunderstood on. As my Armitagemania developed, I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t *not* write. I suspect now that I’d be a poor board participant not for the reasons I avoided them in the first place, but because I’d simply overwhelm every conversation with verbiage. I have more to say on almost any issue than fits on a board. This is not to say what I have to say is better — simply that I continue to have the experience of being compelled to write, for which I am grateful. I’m not going to let anyone get in the way of that, nor do I apologize to anyone for protecting my interest in this sense, nor do I apologize for liking the kind of conversations I have on blogs.

        In the end, I think, the successful medium perpetuates itself by responding to particular needs in its audiences. Boards and blogs and tweeters and pinteresters and so on find an audience of the likeminded — or don’t.

        • I certainly can see why you prefer blogs; you have something to say and need a place to say it all.  It’s a better fit for you.  My problem is the opposite; I’m not sure what I have to say, but when I do, I need a safe place to be free to say it without constriction (barring something illegal or ad hominem).  I need a place to slowly organize my thoughts. So blogging is a good fit for me.  That’s not to say another medium won’t pop up that will be an even better fit.  That’s the joy of the internet.

        • Hi Servetus,

          Re: ‘“reinventing the wheel” or “imitating them.” I think a certain tendency to reinvent the wheel may be pronounced in Armitageworld because there are so many “first time” fans, and also because it seems like there’s a new social medium emerging every few months. So a bright, intelligent person is around for a little bit, gets her creativity on (a frequent effect of Armitagemania), and says, “why don’t we do this?” This frustrates people who are mhaybe already doing it or tried it in the past or have a similar project that te newbie hasn’t bothered to inform herself about it or feel like they are being copied’.

          It’s not always the case that “the newbie hasn’t bothered to inform herself about it’!! I know I simply don’t have enough time to investigate every single possible way there is to interact on the net. Maybe if I didn’t have a disease like fibromyalgia which limits my daily allotment of energy to about 4 hours [in which I have to undertake my household tasks, attend medial appointments, do any socializing, etc.]…maybe then I’d suddenly find the umpteen number of hours of leisure-time it would take.

          It’s also not the case that every new blogger/whatever is a new fan – I’ve been an admirer of Richard Armitage’s work for about 12 years. Some people might be older and not as computer-savvy as you are.


          • Kathryngaul, you seem to have taken this post personally, and I am not sure why, since as far as I know you do not blog about Richard Armitage or operate any other project or site. If I am incorrect about this, please let me know so I can add you to my blogroll and send you an F3 invite.

            I think if you look at this post again you will see that it referred specifically to people who blog about Richard Armitage or start projects related to him (sites, boards, initiatives, etc.) I don’t think that “legacy” fans with running projects feel bothered in any way by new fans. They want to see new fans, or they wouldn’t do what they do. And no one expects every fan who is reading around the internet for more information to inform herself about everything. But it’s different if one is initiating a new project. I think it is natural that someone with an ongoing project who sees a new project that duplicates exactly what she does would ask, why didn’t she look first to see what we were already doing? Or (in the case of the sites or boards) try to get more involved here in a more responsible function, i.e., organize herself in the existing situation, as opposed to starting her own project?

            Again, as I say repeatedly, I’m not defending the position, I’m saying that I can understand it. It was clear when I started my blog that a handful of people were really bothered by it. I am stating that I can understand the reasons why they might feel that way, even if I don’t agree with them. I honestly don’t think I can fairly be accused of not supporting new projects. Every time I discover a new blog I link it on mine, and I’ve supported many initiatives / projects that I have nothing to do with organizing or planning with publicity and, if I felt able to, with my own participation.

            • Servetus,

              Now you have misunderstood my point.

              I take exception to your comment that “the newbie hasn’t bothered to inform herself about it’!!”. This sounds as though you haven’t taken into account that a person might accidently double up on something that may have been done in the past.

              If I were to start a blog that incorporated my thoughs and feelings about Richard and what place he has in my life (and I have thought about it a few times), how on earth would I know if everything I planned to say or do hadn’t been done before?  Where would I start my investigation?

              I was merely saying that I don’t have enough time to look for every blog (or whatever) out there nor read all the comments on those blogs and I very much doubt that anyone would.

              I’m 65 and I’ve been using a computer for 20 years – but most of that time has NOT been in a work environment as I have been unfit for a full-time job for 17 years.  So naturally, I’m not as computer-savvy as you or most people younger than I am are.  And I know for a fact that there are many people who don’t even know as much about computers as I do!.

              And couldn’t it be a fact that I might have a complelely different take/stance on my blog anyway… even if the subject (Richard) was the same as everybody else’s? Even if I presented you with an outline of what I intended, would that be enough evidence for someone to say that I was merely going to double up on previous work.

              I’m not trying to be argumentative, believe me. I just thought it was a bit harsh to say that a newbie may not have bothered to inform herself about what’s out there already. In all sincerity, I wouldn’t know where to start investigating and I don’t believe I’d be the only one. I’m just saying that any duplication could be entirely coincidental.

              I can understand, too, that some bloggers who have been around a while might feel that this new person was simply “re-inventing the wheel” and I admire you for NOT feeling that way and for “supporting new projects’.



              Your statement

  7. Hi Judiang,
    Thanks for  your post. I wasn’t aware of a “divide” in RA fandom media choices.  Hmmm.  I learn something new every day.  Besides, I’m a fruits “and” flowers girl.  Life is made sweeter by both, each in their own way (see pix link below).  So it is with how we in the RA fan community share with one another.

    And for me, the fact that we “do” share with each other is more valuable than “how” we choose to do that sharing.  I feel very blessed with my friendships in the RA fan community.

    Cheers!   Grati  ;->

    P.S.  My only limitations in using different platforms are having to figure out–and remember, crikey!–a new signon and password for each type of RA fan media that requires it.  Ha!   Thank goodness, some platforms like Flickr let you sign on under an other type of account that we might already have.  Ha!

    P.S.  Of course, my other  limitation is brevity–or lack there of, as this comment is evidence of.  My “pauses” are longer than 140 characters–so Twitter might not be the medium for me.  Ha!



    • I wasn’t aware of it either, but there ya go.  I supposed when people are comfortable with a particular medium, they become very protective of it, but still.

  8. Well said Judi! To each their own. Every person is different, so it makes sense that there will be different preferences within the fandom. Frankly I don’t really understand why it even is a debate…what matters is that each individual finds there niche.

      • my heart literally stopped beating when I read that you were stopping. it restarted when I got to the end of the sentence. You’re going to have to give me a head’s up if you ever do decide to stop.

        • I think this is a potentially strong criticism of blogs. The blogger can decide tomorrow that she’s quitting, and I actually think successful blogging is inherently a time-delimited activity given the thematic structure of the average blog. Sooner or later you run out of things to say.

          Then there’s the fact that there are so many incentives to quit, lol. 🙂

  9. Thank you, Judiang! I like the openness of the RA-fandom. Everything in the direction of “you need to like this or that because of this or that” just gets on my nerves ;o)

    Time will prove what is useful and what is not and that is mostly not what we plan, anyway. Fortunately, the RA-fandom is such a creative community, that we can freely try out what we like. So why do the hickhack, when there can be so much fun in fandom ;o)

  10. Yes, I think “reinventing the wheel” in blogsphere is actually refreshing. New perspectives influence old perceptions. That is not a bad thing.

    • OK, on the whole, as should be obvious, I agree with you, BUT. (And let’s see how long I can continue to be tactful and make this convincing as a conversation about an abstract problem, lol). Let’s sketch out a concrete scenario.

      Let’s say there’s an activity that you’ve been organizing for several years on a board or a site. You’re a mod or a site owner and it’s taken you a long time to build up interest in that activity, you’ve put a lot of spare time or effort into advertising, etc., and you’ve done it a few times, and it’s reasonably popular, and most people in your circles know about it, and you’re not planning to innovate because you see it as successful and you know that more or less everyone you know supports it. And then a blogger pops up and proposes either exactly that activity, OR a “new and improved” version of it, without any reference to you at all. How are you going to feel? I suspect not overjoyed. It’s probably a fairly rare bird who says, “oh great, someone else is doing it, too,” in a situation where a lot of effort has been invested and one has a personal identification with one’s work (which is hard to avoid if you do something you love, and fandom is nothing if not a labor of love). Probably the most likely positive reaction is indifference (“ok, if she wants to do it, too, that’s fine”). But I suspect you might feel frustrated (“why isn’t my project good enough for her?”) or puzzled (“why doesn’t she use her voice to funnel more people into our ongoing project?) or even ignored (“why didn’t she take the time to note that someone was already doing this?”). There’s a similar dynamic in a lot of work situations, where the “new broom” comes aboard and proposes all these changes to things that are running just fine, thank you very much. Or just wants to do something different. So it’s a totally familiar dynamic, nothing unique to it about fandom.

      On the whole, I don’t think that fandom and work are similar in the sense that while there’s a point in a work situation or even a volunteer organization with social or political goals for everyone to insist on cooperation or working toward the same goal in the same way, it’s really not necessary that all fans speak with the same voice or through the same medium. Fandom is not a political party. No one is trying to get elected; I don’t think there’s anything larger to be won. But that means precisely that all the rewards lie in the self-concept of the fan, and that makes negotiating fandom tricky. It may be more efficient, for example, to conduct one project that accomplishes a specific project, but efficiency isn’t really a goal of fandom. The only goal that fans have is to be happy on their own terms (one assumes); we’re not trying to accomplish some larger task. (In that sense, to refer obliquely to a discussion that’s been going on here for awhile now, it doesn’t even really matter if I think other fans are happy or not — as long as they know what they’re doing, I don’t need to worry about it.) Or at least, I would argue, we shouldn’t be trying to accomplish some other task beyond enjoying ourselves, except as a byproduct — improving our vidding skills, or cultivating our creativity, or raising money for charities are all a nice side effect of being an Armitage fan, but they are not an explicit shared goal or political end of the fandom as a whole. Insofar as people occasionally say that the independent voices of bloggers endanger the relationship of the fandom with Mr. Armitage, I wonder if some people think that the point of fandom is to bolster Armitage’s ego OR to ensure that nothing appears in public view that might potentially offend him. I can think of some other things that fans might wish to accomplish by insisting that Armitage fans speak with one voice, but I think that all of them are subsidiary or byproducts, not actual goals, or should be.

      At the same time, however, it’s entirely reasonable that someone who had put a lot of work into establishing a particular medium for speaking or sending a message would feel some personal investment in that medium and would feel frustrated in a situation like this where suddenly everyone feels free to speak however they want. It’s also clear to me that some fans think that there are ends to fandom other than enjoying themselves in the community of the likeminded, wherever those people are found. Given my “let every woman have her own conscience” maxim, I can’t justly criticize that except on the basis of personal preference and my belief that others have their own consciences.

      • Personally I think the whole “we all must think as one way” or “we are a monolith” thinking is mostly about control/ego.  And usually the ones pushing that are the ones who believe their opinion controls because they are absolutely right.  In your example, I can understand a person feeling frustrated when a newbie comes in to reinvent what they have already done.  This type of situation happens all the time in various areas of life.  However, that person should know the difference between a certain degree of resentment (maybe understandable), and the adamant insistence that things must be done/expressed her way.  This gives rise to the policing mentality some have that they are the only arbiters.

        • yeah, I’m not defending the view, just saying I can understand where it comes from. In a situation where it’s possible to conclude that nothing is to be won except for control, it can be hard to give up control. It’s not like there’s a “higher good” for the sake of which we are all sacrificing our egos (a particular project, or world peace, or something).

  11. Sorry if I speak not to the point,but sometimes I get the feeling that some bloggers places the name of Richard just to increase attention of potential readers. :*

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