It’s that time of year. You know, when even the least warm and fuzzy among us are prone to some sort of sappy sentimantality. I’ll cry during a Hallmark commercial, so I’m especially susceptible to all the nostalgic and happy feelings brought on by the holiday season. I’m a little more patient (or I should say, I’m actually a little patient), I try my best to slow down and enjoy each sweet and precious moment with friends and family, and I reflect more on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go (in both figurative and litteral ways). Which, of course, brought me to today’s topic.
Thoughts on the Disney Fan Community
1. Our common love draws us close. It’s been well over a year now since I started writing articles for Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos, since I started my own blog, and since I began to truly participate in the Disney Fan Community. Prior to that, I mainly listened to Disney podcasts and read an occasional interesting-sounding blog article. I didn’t know what I was missing. My passion for Disney is generally little-understood by my friends and coworkers, but those podcast hosts and bloggers? They speak my language. I’ve always enjoyed hearing and reading about people who “get” why I love Disney so much. Then I realized that you can, through the wonders of social media, engage with these people on a (somewhat) personal level and before I knew it, I had a new group of friends! Some from as far away as Great Britain, Australia, The Netherlands and Japan, New Jersey even!
2. In 140 characters or less. Twitter is probably my favorite place to “hang out” with other Disney fans. The hosts of all my favorite podcasts engage listeners via Twitter and within the confines of that limited number of words, entertaining discussions are taking place all the time. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of the number of my own Twitter (and Facebook) followers that regularly read my blog and make comments to me about an article I’ve written or question I’ve posed. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll have noticed that I say what I think. If there’s a Disney food, movie, attraction, resort or lumberjack show I don’t like, I’ll say so. It doesn’t mean for a nanosecond that I don’t love Disney – I can love something in spite of its imperfections and I cannot pretend to agree with or like every individual part that makes up the whole. Lots of Tweeps seem to feel the same way and are accepting of my tendency to voice my opinions (which are many).
3. An ever expanding circle of friends. What wonderful friends I’ve made! Real ones. Friends I’ve met face to face. Friends who I’ve been fortunate to get to know as people, not just as a podcast host, blogger or Twitter handle. Generous, caring, lovely people who have shared life’s ups and downs with me while we’ve supported, cheered, and picked each other up along the way. I love you guys!
4. Lively discussions and debates are the best! Nothing delights me more than a good exchange of thoughts and ideas. Especially from differing points of view. Honestly, my very favorite podcasts are the ones that cause me to yell at my car stereo – sometimes in outrage, sometimes in support. I’ve been super fortunate to have been invited to make a guest “appearance” on several of the podcasts I enjoy and when you gather around the old Skype to talk Disney, the most fun comes from what we don’t agree on rather than what we do.
5. Trolls, nitwits, and stranger danger still exist – Fortunately, the vast majority of Disney fans that congregate to share their passion on social media are kind. But not all people are there for the same reason – sadly, some people only come to complain or create drama (or worse). A word of caution if you’re just joining in on the fun: Open Facebook groups appear to be the most fraught with potential danger – especially the ones with moderators that seem to thrive on the sensationalism and accompanying drama of some of the posts and comments. Occasionally, those situations rapidly decline into what amounts to nothing but a demonstration of how childish and intolerant people can be – that is not a part of the Disney fan community I understand or wish to be a part of. It’s easy to avoid, luckily.
So, during this season of being thankful and remembering what peace on Earth and goodwill towards humankind is all about, I wanted to take a minute to tell you how much you mean to me. For every Facebook “like” and comment, for every Tweet, retweet and message of support, for every email, and every shout-out, I’m grateful for the chance to join along with you in our shared love for Disney.
From our family to yours: Wishing you all a very safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season.
And may you get every present on your Disney wish list…Lisa