I Love You, Jerk


Donnie Lederer (@dtrain1813)

What makes a fan a fan, and when does he become a jerk?

In the age of social media, this question has popped into my head more frequently. Between Twitter and Facebook alone, the arenas for fans of all ages and of all things to voice their opinions (positive and negative) have multiplied extensively in the last three years alone. One can go to his or her favorite movie’s Facebook page and post a comment on its wall about how awesome the movie was. Someone can also go to the same page and write how horrific the movie was. Now, this type of expression is not exclusive to movies. It can be a TV show, book, movie star, stand-up comedian, pro-wrestler, and so on and so forth. Thanks to the internet, the possibilities are endless.

Some fans, however, don’t see this as a world of possibilities. They don’t see this as a place where opinions can be expressed and feedback can be given to produce even better product than the one they fell in love with. They see this forum as a battleground. These are the fans that take something they love and declare war on it just because they disagreed with something that happened. Or they disagreed with what someone said. Or they disagreed with how something was written. There’s no constructive criticism. It becomes rude, offensive anarchy.

Where is the line? Yes, it is the internet, and there is a lot more freedom of expression, which is why a lot of entertainers are starting to utilize it more and more. You can basically say what you want. “What you want.” Some think that phrase is like an invisibility cloak you get for Christmas at Hogwarts. People can go on the internet and feel that because there are less restrictions, there are no consequences. Well, I have news for you. Just because you are merely posting digital words on the internet, doesn’t mean they hurt any less.

It doesn’t matter who you are, whether it’s me, just a guy from Seattle trying to learn how to write, or a celebrity who has spent years honing their craft in the entertainment business. Being told, “Hey, you SUCK!” doesn’t feel good at all. “Hey, I didn’t like this thing you did/said, and here’s why” only takes about five more seconds to type, doesn’t make anyone feel like they should question what they are doing, and can help them possibly make what they’re doing just a little better.

So I guess one answer to the question: “When am I a fan, and when am I a jerk?” could be “Whenever I want to. It’s the internet. Screw You.” Another? “I’m a fan. Why would I want to be a jerk?”

Photo Credit: The Oatmeal


  1. Kevin RigdonAugust 30th, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Insightful article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. RM PeavyAugust 30th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have been interviewing a gagillion writers, and a pretty big fan of twitter. I ask the questions, “why do writers hate themselves so much?” in every interview. and I have gotten a profound and completely different answer for all of them! One common answer is, “because people treat us badly.” I’m not whining, there’s just something about seeing your story, something that you took a piece of yourself to produce, and then have it get sh** on by a complete stranger with the handle, “Eff-you-U-effing-EFF”

    If you follow my twitter feed, I have an unhealthy (satirical) love for Damon Lindelof. This came from the fact that I do actually, adore him as a writer and also because there were so many combative people on Twitter being completely rude to him. “Lost ending sucks… go kill yourself”
    or :Prometheus was terrible, you ruined movies,” this kind of troll egging that made me want to offset the hate balance. Also, Damon in a podcast actually mentions this sort of thing that you are writing about in Ben Blackers Nerdist Writer’s panels.

    I’m stoked about this little piece, More!! more!!

  3. T.J.August 30th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I agree. We’ve become way too comfortable with the inherit anonymity of the Internet.

  4. MarcusAugust 31st, 2012 at 2:58 am

    I have blasted people on twitter, Dane Cook for his joke about the dark knight rise shooting, I picked on the Rock when came back to collect a Wrestlemania pay day, other than that I really can’t recall picking on any one on twitter. I may be wrong, but I honestly can’t remember. I have had many great interactions on twitter with famous and the not so famous. I think that is because I try to live by one rule on twitter or facebook, and that is, if I would not say it your face, I won’t say it on behind your back, or on the web. With that being said great article, made me think.

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