Twitter exists in a dichotomy: once new material is released or a new thought is created, it must be placed into being a classic, or trash.
There is no in between.
Let me be clear – fandoms are great, they are fun little spaces for us to be part of as we witness an artist or idea that we enjoy develop and create more content for us to love. It’s fun, it’s magical, it creates discussion and future creative types that draw inspiration from said creator.
Years from now, we will see young women who will have crafted and cultivated their style based on what Beyonce has done over the last two decades. We are seeing young rappers who are pulling from Lil Wayne’s influence a decade ago now. Those people exist and they wouldn’t in their current state without having a Mariah Carey to look up to.
Those are fans.
Then there are stans.
Oh boy. I hate stans.
If you’re not 100% sure where the term comes from, Stan is a term that was developed in the hip-hop community after Eminem released the 3rd single of his The Marshall Mathers LP entitled “Stan”. The song is about an obsessive fan of his who constantly writes Eminem, wanting to be just like him and, well, be with him. In the end, Stan drives his car with his pregnant girlfriend off a bridge because Eminem never writes him back. In one of rap’s biggest plot twists ever, Em hadn’t written Stan back because he had been incredibly busy, and by the time he got to write him back, Stan was dead.
Since then, Stan was largely used in a negative term when referring to people who could see no flaws in a particular artist, so much so that their opinion would become largely irrelevant when discussing that artist because it was always seen with bias. Those particular nuances used to exist on hip hop discussion boards until Twitter, the world’s largest Internet Forum, came along and smashed that notion to pieces.
Since then, we’ve seen groups form like the Beyhive, Barbz, Little Monsters, Beliebers, etc. and they’ve made no qualms about who they support and why. You can look at any point in time and see numerous twitter accounts dedicated to being a fan of a particular artist. It’s pretty damn eerie if we’re being honest.
So what’s the big deal? Why are we bothered that fans have gathered and given themselves a cool little group name? Doesn’t that tie into the sense of community that I alluded to earlier?
Yes and No. The problem with Twitter Stanning is that there is no room for critique or thoughts outside of “this piece of work that x artist put out is amazing, it is the best thing they’ve ever done, period”. In and of itself, this is fine, until you start attacking people unwarranted for them even believing that said artist may put out something that they, as an individual, didn’t like. For example, take a look through Twitter Search for “Barbz Chun-Li” and watch the utter dissent into insanity as people tie their sense of being into whether or not Nicki’s latest project charts.
Or, look for the times where they were arguing with people about Nicki Minaj making Street Fighter relevant/famous.
Now mind you, this is just one example, and this is not to pick on Nicki Minaj. Regardless of how you feel about her, she has worked hard to get where she is in the game, she deserves fans, but nobody deserves rabid fans, and twitter seems to create that atmosphere, for whatever reason.
We’ve already got people declaring J. Cole’s latest project as an all-time great album even though we haven’t even had a week to let the damn thing breathe. Music is something that should be enjoyed, and we should allow people to enjoy the things they want to enjoy, without having the need to press them about not enjoying the thing that we’re enjoying at this very moment. It’s pretty sad and depressing that people are threatening each other over a woman who just wants to make clever references to a video game character and re-assert herself within the hierarchy of rap.
You can spot a Twitter stan a mile away, especially when they begin arguing with you. Usually they’ll make an irrelevant quip, meant to belittle you, often accompanied by a gif that either contains Oprah, Wendy Williams or their preferred artist. If you press back and identify where they may be incorrect, or may be attacking you over your opinion, you’ll get another sassy response that also has nothing to do with the topic at hand.
There’s nothing you can do at this point, it is a lost cause. Mute the conversation, take the L and move on.
If you find yourself upset at the content of this post, I think you may need to ask yourself whether or not you’re one of the stans I’m alluding to. If it’s you, it’s okay to be a fan of someone, just tone it down, they don’t know you, they’re just glad you enjoy the work they put their heart and soul into.
They don’t know you though and it’s okay.