Hey Puni, I know you're busy and have a lot of stuff to deal with, but I was wondering if you could maybe give some advice/insight about being an older person in fandom spaces? Like lately I've noticed the vast majority of people on tumblr- and the internet in general- are younger than me, and it's left me feeling insecure? I feel like everyone else my age is "moving on" while I'm stuck, and I'm not sure how to relate to these youngins. I just wanna go back to 2010 ;-;
I’m sorry this is so late anon, but I feel you there :c However, I really don’t think 21+ fandom peeps on Tumblr (and elsewhere) are all that rare! I think lots of us older folks just grew up while the internet just started getting really big, and getting told to keep our information private because everyone on the web might be a serial killer. Also, I remember that I pretended to be 18 on many sites since I was 12 or so, while now younger people tend to be a lot more open about their actual age (for better or for worse) while us older ones don’t share that information, which might create the illusion that we don’t exist.
But if you look at the actual statistics, that’s not true at all!!
Look at the Tumblr stats in particular (for the U.S., Global). The most common age bracket for the US is people between 25 and 34, and globally there are almost thrice as many people over 35 on here than people between 13 to 17. To be fair, many of the older people might not be here for fandom stuff, but I would wager that there’s a significant amount that is.
This person did a survey specifically asking for fannish people, and while the sample size isn’t that big (5026 people), it seems to align with the aforementioned stats pretty well!
I do wish some of the younger peeps would stop taking jabs at people’s age and tell them they’re too old for fandom. They’re only shooting themselves in the foot, because when they reach 21 and for some reason there isn’t a sparkly henshin sequence that bestows them with all of the Adult Knowledge and erases all of their former hobbies, replacing them with only a love for filing taxes, reading newspapers and existing to help the young main characters on their journey with their ancient wisdom, it’s gonna be a rude awakening.
Besides, a lot of canon producers nowadays are basically just nerds who grew up (somewhat), and it’s important to remember that the reason so many modern cartoons are so engaging even to people older than the target audience is because those people grew up with a lot of cartoons that were basically just glorified ads for toys, and they wanted more. So when they grew up, they got to make the cartoons they would have liked to watch, and it was a win/win for everyone. (Not that many older cartoons aren’t great either, but most of the time, their creators were big nerds as well.)
Imagine how sad it would be if they had left fandom behind instead because they felt too old for it.
Sometimes I think it would be really nice to have some age restricted communities like back on LJ, so teens and grownups could talk among themselves every now and then, but then again there’s always the danger of mods abusing their powers. I guess both communities and this sort of self-governed system like on Tumblr has its pros and cons!
I hope this helped you a little. I would like to conclude this reply with a nice thing I found on this Fanlore entry that I think might be good for you to read as well!
I turned 60 this year, and I’ve been in one fandom or another, starting with original Star Trek, for longer than most of you have been walking the planet, and maybe longer than many of your PARENTS have been on the planet. Don’t let ANYONE tell you ‘you’re too old to be doing this’. It’s kept me young, and in touch with what’s going on in the world, and helped me improve my writing, and allowed me to meet so many amazing people. It’s as they used to say back in the day: Fandom Is A Way Of Life(FIAWOL) (Of course there was always occasionally FIAPITA – fandom is a pain in the ass….)