When I got into my very first 'proper' fandom - as a Brosette, back in the late 1980s (have a look at this - yes, THIS is what it was like back then!), life as a group devotee was very, very different to what it is now. Waiting for the bi-weekly edition of Smash Hits to come out, hoping for a poster or an interview to cut out...sitting by the VCR to record them off the telly on a Saturday morning. That was pretty much the extent of what you could do, or consume.
In 2023, in a world where social media reigns supreme and virtual connections flourish, the notion of fandoms has transformed from just appreciation into a powerhouse of influence. The allure of being part of something bigger, something electrifyingly passionate, is what propels the power of fandoms. I've been involved in other fandoms since Bros - each one bringing something different to my life, and each one evolving different aspects as the world changed around it, and as I navigated my own life and matured. When I found BTS (or as they saying goes, when they found me), I quickly realised that ARMY, as we're called, is a fandom like no other I'd ever experienced - in so many ways.
Fandoms have always existed, but their role has evolved massively in the age of social media, streaming and 24 hour access to everything. Communities of devoted fans aren't just about sharing love for a particular TV show, book series, musician or artist anymore; they're dynamic, undeniable forces of nature that shape trends, drive social change, and create a sense of belonging that is unparalleled and infectious. Fandoms have turned into global villages where fans from all across the planet unite under a common flag, spreading their passion with seemingly unlimited zeal.
I'm immensely proud to be part of a fandom that has mastered the art of global domination. With the tumultuous and relentless rise of our boys, ARMY has surged forward as an unstoppable force. Armed with unwavering loyalty, in the main, and boundless creativity, ARMY have helped catapult BTS from K-pop sensations, mainly garnering success only in Asian markets, to global icons, and literally the biggest selling group on the planet. It's like a symphony of passion, talent, and undying support - a match made in fandom heaven.
If you're ever feeling down, take a quick peek into the world of the BTS ARMY, and you'll be greeted with an explosion of enthusiasm and positivity. From fan art, video edits and animations that are incredibly diverse, endearing, hilarious and beautiful, to trendsetting fashion inspired by the members' styles, ARMY embraces creativity with open arms. But it's not just about aesthetics; ARMY is a force for good. They've harnessed their collective might for charitable causes, social justice initiatives, and philanthropic endeavors that would make even the most seasoned activists blush. One of the most awesome endeavours ARMY have taken on in recent times is this - the One In An ARMY project to match donations to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Of course, ARMY wouldn't be complete without a healthy dose of humour and wit. Memes and inside jokes circulate faster than wildfire, giving even the smallest update a momentum and life that makes it lore and legend within hours! It's this blend of camaraderie, quick wit, and a knack with editing, that makes being part of a fandom an overwhelmingly positive experience - and Taehyung has the audacity to say ARMY aren't funny! PAH!
But the power of fandoms doesn't just end with the internet. The real-world impact of these communities is astounding. From topping charts and breaking records to rallying for social change and supporting charitable causes, fandoms have shown the world that united voices can move mountains. ARMY's charitable campaigns and unwavering support for social justice issues demonstrate that fandoms are not just about adoration; they're about making a tangible difference. Even disregarding the impact on societal considerations - the fandom resounds with individual stories of the positive change being a fan has made to lives. Preaching kindness, love, tolerance, and self-acceptance throughout their work is one of the very best things about these seven ordinary men from Korea.
In a world where the virtual realm interlaces with reality in such a seamless, sometimes intimidating and scary way, fandoms have emerged as a force that transcends boundaries, spreads positivity, and initiates change. The BTS ARMY stands as a brilliant example of this phenomenon, wielding their passion and creativity like a magic wand (in the shape of an ARMY Bomb!). With a dash of humor, a sprinkle of camaraderie, and a whole lot of love, fandoms continue to redefine the concept of unity in diversity, proving that the power of shared passion can truly change the world - one witty meme at a time. So, whether you're ARMY or part of another devoted community, remember that your fandom is not just a fleeting interest; it's an emblem of the collective human spirit, capable of weaving dreams into reality.
SO CARRY ON FANDOMING!!
Big love to you all.