After seeing a Quantum Leap post on my dash, I found myself in a nostalgic mood and I’m now wondering… Is there a living fandom for QL here on Tumblr? I used to be pretty deep in the fandom back in the early 2000s; I’m one of the senior members over on the Al’s Place forums (same username [tina_als_girl]), and even before then, I was fairly active on the Sci-Fi Channel Bboards.
QL was one of my first (and only) fandoms where I got SUPER involved. I wrote all sorts of fanfics, though only my Virtual Seasons stories are complete (and only one of those two stories is anything I’d be “proud” of today… the other one is utter shite that I would love to re-write one of these days). I wrote filk, I sketched out ideas for a QL theme park ride, I convinced my dad to take me all the way to Reno so I could meet Dean Stockwell at a film fest there (I look back upon that weekend with conflicting emotions - I am grateful for having such an excellent time, but my GOD, I was such an annoying teenager who had NO idea just annoying I was…. how the frick did anyone in the fandom even manage to stand me?!)…. I was one of those “all in” kinds of fans.
But as the years went on and there was no new material to discuss, I found my exuberance being directed to other fandoms, particularly Doctor Who, which I dove into in 2009 and have never looked back.
But now, seeing that QL post…. the nostalgia is kicking in HARD and now I wonder… are any of my fellow longtime Leapers here on Tumblr? Al’s Place is pretty much a wasteland now that message boards aren’t quite as big of a thing these days after the advent of Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr, etc. Of course, Al’s Place was established back around 2000-ish, and before that a lot of us had already been discussing the show in detail on the Sci-Fi Channel Bboard, so by now, I guess we pretty much exhausted all the different avenues of discussion…
Except, not really? Society is so much different now in 2017 than it was back in 2000. And I’d love to find my way back into the fandom and re-watch the show with a new eye, now that I’m so much older and wiser and educated (but still learning, always learning).
So, anyway, this is tina_als_girl/tinaalsgirl/R. Joy Helvie saying: Hi, QL fandom. Can I come back in?
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I’ve seen a lot of people on my dash who are justifiably upset with some of Tumblr’s recent changes (argh, reply function gone, argh argh) and talking about moving to another site. This is a good thing (and also more or less inevitable at some point; fandom activity never stays in one place forever, or else we’d all still be on like, Usenet*).
But one thing I will say, for those of you who have not lived through a fannish migration or six, is that fandoms don’t jump in an organized or coherent way. It tends to be a trickle, not a dam burst. So for instance, almost ten years ago now (yikes, can it really have been that long?) there was Strikethrough on Livejournal, which is a long story that doesn’t bear getting into right now but the short form is that LJ made enemies of a lot of fans. And there were various attempts to jump to InsaneJournal and GreatestJournal and a bunch of other LJ clones, but they mostly didn’t ‘take.’ Dreamwidth, when it came along a couple of years later, did better at attracting people (and does have a comparatively small but active user base–and specific communities, like certain RP comms, did make an organized jump, but they were actual communities and not an amorphous blob the way ‘Dragon Age fandom,’ say, is an amorphous blob), but the thing that actually finally dragged a ton of fannish activity away from LJ seems to have been Tumblr–not any of the “like LJ but different/better” alternatives that people were floating and promoting, but something entirely different.
The main thing is that communities or groups of friends may coordinate a move together, but fandoms in a larger sense are about as coordinate-able as a bunch of cats. And also, the place they end up going generally isn’t “like X but better” but a whole new Y (mailing lists to bboards to LJ to Tumblr, just to name a few–and each of those changed the “shape” of the fandoms within it quite a bit).
The reason I am saying this is not to discourage people from seeking out alternatives, but to say: fandom is going to move, if not now then at some point, but it ain’t going to happen in a way that necessarily makes a lot of sense from the outside. Like a bunch of cats, we’re going to wander around for a bit and then land somewhere and pretend we did it on purpose. And it’s easy to lose track of people when that happens. So my advice is: let people who you care about not losing track of know where to find you and how to keep up with you, whether it’s a new site or even just “hey, here’s my email, let’s stay in touch.” I have friends from old, old fannish days, who never ended up on Tumblr, but we still occasionally send each other a silly link or something… and who knows, maybe when fandom saunters catlike over to something new, we’ll reconnect there.
* - Inevitably when I say something like this someone feels obliged to note that they are still on, e.g., Usenet. And it’s true that Usenet still sees activity. But I think it’s safe to say that fannish activity is not there in the way that it was in, for instance, the early 90s.