The definition of a “stan” according to Wikipedia (yes, it has it’s own Wikipedia page) is an avid fan and supporter of a celebrity, franchise, film, or group, often a rock/pop musician. Most of these people run Twitters specifically dedicated to their favourite artists – it is possible to see it as one of the most active parts on Twitter, with the ages ranging from 12 years old all the way up to 20 years old. It’s the 21st century’s new form of adoration.
A harmful stigma surrounds stan twitters, a stigma that specifically states that we are so blinded by our love for a certain artist that it prevents us from seeing the real issues around the real world. That is not the case. I, myself own an account dedicated to Fifth Harmony at the moment, and it always seems to tell people that “Hey, she probably doesn’t know anything in the world. She probably only cares about the day to day activities of Fifth Harmony. She’s so dumb!” While the fact that I care about my favourite musicians is true, that doesn’t mean that I am unable to pick up a book, read the news and educate myself on social justice issues – I live in the reality too, I just prefer to spend my free time supporting celebrities.
If you’ve ever been in a Twitter argument in which your user is @(somethingrelatedtoawellknownartist) with someone who clearly thinks that they are so much better than you just because they don’t run a Twitter dedicated to someone else, you’ve probably been a victim of this stigma – and if you haven’t, then you probably will be soon if you’re ever in an argument. I personally do not know how this stigma came about but it is one of the most harmful ones when it comes to the online activity to a teenager who just wants to show adoration to an artist.
It seems as if we are diminished to our Twitter handles, our Twitter icons and headers that we are inferior to someone because we choose to dedicate our time into helping an artist get more exposure, get more fans, gain more popularity and get more single and movie sales as well as YouTube views – we are so much more than that.
Fandoms like the Harmonizers are probably one of the most intelligent fandoms I’ve been in – they are the first one I’ve seen who happens to not only care about defending the artist against trolls, but also help Fifth Harmony gain more radio plays, increase single sales and increase album sales. The most known update account for Fifth Harmony is @5HonTour, an account in which most fans of Fifth Harmony will credit for the success of the group – they are so dedicated that each member is from a different timezone, so the account is active all the time. There is even a website dedicated to the statistics of Fifth Harmony overall.
And they are certainly not the only one. Radio stations have become so reliant on these Twitter accounts that the songs that they play are based on the opinion of Twitter accounts – through polls, hashtags, etc. – as it not only gives the artist exposure, but also the Radio station if the hashtag is tweeted frequently. Award shows has also realised how important the stan Twitters are – by having a hashtag voting system through all social media platforms, the award show will be promoted everywhere and anytime by the dedicated fans of those who are nominated.
People should never assume that just because someone has a Twitter account dedicated to a certain artist, they are uneducated. The fact that they happen to want to spend their free time on Twitter to support celebrities doesn’t give anyone the right to make them feel inferior.
If you think that there is a correlation between loving and adoring an artist and being truly intelligent or just educated, then you’re the problem – not them.