If you have any online presence, more specifically, if you are a Twitter user, you are likely to be familiar with the subcommunity of “Stan” Twitter. “Stans” or users that categorize themselves in this cult-like subculture often run fan accounts for specific franchises of entertainment. Popular “stan” groups include Marvel Studios, DC Entertainment, Korean Pop or “K-Pop,” anime, and Ariana Grande’s fanbase. Thought these are not the only groups that can fall into “stan” stereotypes, they are most notorious and well-known for this.
But what’s the problem? Is there anything dangerous about online collectives dedicated to their favorite means of entertainment? Frankly, yes. Despite the harmlessness of the idea of super fans coming together quickly became aggressive and defensive, resulting in negative aftermath.
It’s as simple as saying that a favorite member of a band isn’t your favorite or that a certain character is not as attractive as another, and you easily can be under siege by an angry, virtual mob. It’s easy for a popular user to villainize someone who does not hold a shared opinion or idea and to twist their words. Attacks are vicious and have a range of brutality.
Twitter users have had their personal lives interfered with over simple disagreances and it becomes more than an online game. People are attacked over the slightest hints of having their own opinions or developing their own tastes that deviate from the mainstream of these Twitter accounts. Lifestyles are taken to the extreme and interests have become the only focus of the account runner’s life so much so that it becomes an obsession.
According to Urban Dictionary, “stan Twitter is also notorious for its trolls that utilize their tweeting privileges to cause an emotional reaction to others within or outside of their fandom.” Those who use stan Twitter, especially those who have a large following, manipulate emotions, whether they are aware of their actions or not. This too is a major downfall for the reputation of the online community.
Stan Twitter is home to constant and ongoing drama due to hyper fixations. It’s the reality that the state of the website is in. It has become so stigmatic and ridden with cliques that Twitter as a whole has become made self-aware of the negativity that has manifested on the platform. It is a shame that this is the reality that we are forced to see, but the more that we are exposed to it, the more we can learn how to tackle the problem head-on.