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.

This post was from 3 years ago, but it’s still holds true. I’ve managed to find many muturals after my old account was deleted, but not everyone, like smaller blogs in fandoms I don’t frequent often or ones with long, hard to pronounce names.

Get emails. Signal boost posts with people’s contact info so if the original blog goes dark that others can find them. There’s a good account called @find-me-at-x that’s doing the Good Fandom Lord’s work of boosting announcement posts and asks for missing blogs. I’d recommend following them if there’s someone you’re trying to find.

You can also put all your contact information on your AO3 profile page, and everyone can create a user page on Fanlore. 

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