United by a single shared interest
We always encouraged our boys to be true to their inner nerd.
Why? Because nerds rule the world. More importantly, nerds also use their imagination in creative ways, often becoming absorbed in thoroughly exploring one interest after another.
Growing up, my boys went through multiple phases where they were obsessed with one thing or another, from collecting Beanie Babies, to Pokemon cards and the linkable Game boy games, to Magic trading cards that started multiplying in binders and late night competitions with their friends. Sure, they both played sports, but gravitated more towards Terry Pratchett’s books and the Lord of the Rings. They were never Trekkies because their Mom was a Star Wars fan instead, which also may explain why they became fans of Dr. Who in college. At every step they seemed to connect with other fans of the genre, and became part of that special community.
Often these communities self-identify themselves with a name or acronym.
For example, Dr. Who fans are Whovians. Those people that make armor and weapons out of foam and fight in troll/orc/warrior costumes out in some field? They are sometimes referred to as LARPers (Live Action Role Players). I just recently found out that fans still exist for My Little Pony — a Brony is a male (but sometimes female) fan, while a Pegasister seems to always be female — and, perhaps scarily, even have their own dating site. Mystery Science Theatre fans seem to be called a MSTie, while TVDFans refer to those that follow The Vampire Diaries.
Both none of these fans compare to a certain type of Korean Pop fan called a Sasaeng. These fans are known for obsessively stalking their K-Pop idols to where it seems to be better if what they do is illegal (breaking into their homes, stealing things, etc.) There are even businesses that have been started to appeal to these fans, including special taxi services that have formed in order to help these fans stalk their idols. (I only hope that these specific nerds won’t rule the world some day.)
What I find most interesting is how people form communities based upon what they share in common.
Economic backgrounds, education levels, even the color of their hair do not keep them out of the group. They are united by a single, shared interest.
You know, that sounds a lot like how credit unions were formed, doesn’t it?
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