shamelessly a Directioner – cults and fans

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Image taken at my third One Direction concert

Being a part of the One Direction fandom was hands down, shamelessly one of the most fun times of my life. But this was not purely because I spent every day of my life obsessing and admiring five gorgeous and talented boys, but more because it let me belong to a large community of people from all around the world that shared a similar passion for something. This community was the most prevalent on Twitter, Nicole Santero identifies this stating ““Directioners”—have become one of the most visible and recognizable fandoms to utilize social media, especially Twitter.” The community on this platform was so active an abundant that it was so easy to gain rapid followings due to the One Direction themes usernames, use of hashtags and similar tweet content, groups within groups even formed as “Directioners’ Twitter network is made up of many large-sized clusters and a few small ones, proving a strong participatory culture in engaging with and sharing content across the fandom” (2016) Because of this engagement, this even lead to friendships being made in real life, as users will make the effort to meet people in person who they have been communicating with online and creating bonds.

Concerts were usually the venue to which these meetings occurred and is the other primary space in which the power and effect of this fandom was made clear. I still vividly recall my first One Direction concert, the sound of the screams in the crowd were astonishing, and I can still remember how sore my throat was that night. I enjoyed the show so much that I wanted to go back for more, which resulted in me buying another ticket for a show only the week after. I would have only been about fifteen years old when I insisted on going to that show on my own, which was something I would never of had the confidence to do if the motivation coming from my passion wasn’t driving me. This screaming, obsession image has developed a negative connotation to the idea of a fan, attaching us to the label of a “fanatic”, as people struggle to understand the investment. But this investment is what makes being a fan so exciting, it breaks a person away from passive reception as their passion leads them to wanting more, they become interested and critical, this leads to fan theories, art, fiction and collaboration. This shared interest means people can have social relationships over a far distance within an alternative community. Which was why it was sad to see One Direction go on hiatus, as this inevitably caused the Twitter community to fizzle out and follow the boys on their solo careers. But when I saw Harry Styles on his solo tour, I was reminded of that community, how thousands of people would come together for one reason, and the feeling of being a part of something that huge is something really special.

Reference

Santero N 2016 “Nobody Can #DragMeDown”: An Analysis of the One Direction Fandom’s Ability to Influence and Dominate Worldwide Twitter Trends” University of Nevada, Las Vegas https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3731&context=thesesdissertations

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