*A WARM SHOUT OUT TO THOSE WHO HELPED as I know I didn't fit in all your stuff in cuz i was trying to get as many people as possible, AND THOSE THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT IN:TARDIS-Granger

The screaming crowds. The hours spent online, spreading pictures and information. All these people coming together. Let me introduce you to a fandom.
Fandom is a term that sounds like what is is—it refers to all the combined fans of something. It can be a sport, hobby, or book. It can be very specific, down to one show; or wide, encompassing all shows in a genre. The fans are closely connected by shared interest. Fandoms have been around for some time, but have recently become mainstream. Are you ready to enter their world?
“People sometimes look at fandoms from the outside and wonder why [they] spend so much time on these people they don't know personally, but once you step inside the world you can start to understand it...fandoms are just one of the many ways that we gain and spread ideas, information and wisdom from all over the world,” said Haley, a high school junior, in her article Fangirling Dissected.
Now fandoms can take their interest online. Many websites are built by dedicated fans of everything from Harry Potter to My Little Pony. Fans from all over can collect information, have conversations, post original artwork and stories, and write on forums. It’s easy for every member of the fandom around the world to connect, even if they never meet in real life.
There’s a difference between fan and fandom. Only the most devoted fans are included in the fandom. Youtube user danisnotonfire explains the difference between a “casual” fan and an “internet” fan that would be in a fandom.
“Let me explain: firstly the person discovers and enjoys the thing. Then the person goes onto the internet and has fun learning more about it and people who feel the same way. The person then suddenly becomes aware of their [the object of interest] overwhelming perfection and it becomes the fans main reason for being alive.”
Being overcome by emotion when something in the fandom happens or the person sees or hears anything related to their fandom (They see a picture, hear the name, etc) is called “feels”.
“Now whenever anything happens, they are overcome by so many emotions [feels] that they can't function and it’s basically destroyed their life. Basically fandoms are like drugs, you just need that little bit to get you hooked, and then a tiny bit more here and there, when BAM, suddenly your life is a train wreck.”
That’s where many disagreed. As Fanpop username x-Yumi-x pointed out, being a fan may take up a lot of time, but that’s because it’s all stuff they love doing; stuff they’d rather be doing than other things.
“To be honest, being in a fandom really enriched my life and given me a sense of belonging,” said Fanpop username Cerudays.
“Being in a fandom has brought a lot of good times into my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing if it weren’t for this,” added Fanpop username Panisepic.
Members of a fandom tend to be very interested in all of the details of their object of interest. They will absorb any accessible knowledge about it, and it often makes them very educated about it. For example, fans of Doctor Who could list all the actors, talk about who made the best companion, or argue avidly that David Tennant was the better doctor. Often, members connect by organizing things like conventions, games, or conferences. Fan fiction (fictional stories about the object of interest written by fans) and art are also common among fandoms. These are just more signs as to how much fans love their hobbies.
One example is a story of how much one girl wanted to get a poster and see a new movie. “I had been waiting for the new movies to come out for half a year, and they were being shown…near my town. If you attended in cosplay [dress up like a character from show, book, or video game, especially ones from Japanese genre of manga and anime], you could get a free poster— and I really, really wanted a poster! I went with a friend, but there were maybe 40 people also in costume there, and the theater wasn’t open yet! So all 40 something of us stood outside in cold weather wearing ridiculous costumes, watching as people stared when they drove by. It was hilarious!” exclaimed Cerudays, telling of a story she happily remembers. “I met a lot of cool people, got the poster I wanted, and enjoyed watching an anime movie in a theater full of people who shared my interest. It was so cool!”
Many people can misunderstand these fans. Panisepic thinks the biggest challenge would definitely be other people’s view of fandoms, and having the reputation of being nerds.
“I know there’s a lot of stereotyping that goes on...I really think we would prove them wrong. We wear shirts with characters on them, you wear a football jersey. We talk about last night’s episode, you talk about last night’s game. We have favorite characters, you have favorite players. You think it’s weird we listen to something in another language we can’t understand, all your plays, scores, player names, and teams are just as must gibberish to me as anime is to you.”
Sometimes the stereotyping of fandoms goes beyond just points of views. Sometimes people take it as far as bullying.
This was the case with Fanpop username Animegurl235.
“The only thing I basically have an interest in is anime… I was actually depressed for a period of time in middle school for being bullied so much for loving anime. I’m totally fine now though, and have made anime loving friends!”
So, now that you know about fandoms, are you curious about the most popular ones? Here’s a compiled list, not in any specific order. Doctor Who with fans called Whovians, Sherlock Holmes with fans called Sherlockians, Breaking Bad, Anime (Japanese animation) with fans called Otakus, Hunger Games with fans called Tributes, Game of Thrones, and Supernatural.
Now, when most people think of the beginning of fandoms, they think of Spock. But it came even before Star Trek. In 1900’s, it was used to describe sports fans. The earliest known record of fandom is actually when Arthur Conan Doyle began his stories of mystery novels about Sherlock Holmes when a passionate fan base popped up. These early Sherlockians weren’t happy with just reading the books; they wanted to live them. Since gaming systems were a while off, they settled for the next best thing: writing stories. Except they didn't use the term fanfiction, they called them “parodies” and “pastiches”. “Fanfiction” didn't get used until the mid 60’s around the publication of the earliest fanfiction journal, the Star Trek themed Spockanalia.
So a fandom is close community of people with shared interest. These people can laugh, cry, and make memories together.
“I love knowing that there are people all across the world that shares your interests! Even if they live on the other side of the ocean, even if they don't speak your language...just knowing that thousands of people are links in a community dedicated to one universal thing with inside jokes, art, and music is pretty awesome. We’re like one big family!”explains Cerudays. It’s a little more understandable why they like being a part of that, isn’t it?