Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Want You to Want Me

I've had several friends -- not just Facebook friends, but actual real-life friends -- send me Facebook requests to become fans of theirs. Some are artists, others politicians, but the point is clearly to have a centralized place from which to organize people, to raise their platform, to mobilize folks to turn out for performances and at the polls.

Yet, it still seems awkward to me. "Friend" indicates a reciprocal relationship. If I am your friend, then you are my friend. "Fan" on the other hand, is asymmetric. I may be a fan of someone without their knowing who I am, indeed they might be entirely dismissive of or annoyed at my admiration. It is therefore peculiar, even antithetical to the entire notion of fandom to be invited to be a fan of someone.

I've therefore been put off by fan invitations, since it seems something you cannot be invited for. At the same time, the term is clearly ambiguous, fan is not the same as fan. Yet surely, the use of it is similar enough that there should be considerable overlap in meaning. Am I being too much of a philosopher here?