Time for me to remember just how ancient I am. Go ahead and raise your hand if you know what a forum is? Hm, not bad. Ok, raise your hand if you remember geocities fansites. Ooooh and I’m way old. It’s alright though. I should have seen that coming.
For those of you a bit younger in your anime years, the otaku community (as least the English speaking one) has been through more than a few transformations. Back when Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Zoids and Gundam Wing reigned supreme (and Toonami played anime), fans created their own websites for their favorite shows and, if they were savvy enough, hosted forums for them. Sites like fanfiction.net were just being born and YouTube was yet to be a thing. Suffice to say, social networking was not even close to what we have today.
Today, companies like FUNimation can tweet to thousands of fans about posting a new show or releasing a new set. Series can be viewed online, legally and for free. And fans can blog (and re-blog) one another’s nerdy posts instantaneously via Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Not to mention that all the video sites connect right back to the other sites, making sure you can tell everyone and their mother what you’re watching at any moment (should you wish to). It’s a great time to be a fan.
Of course, seasoned fans like me still miss the older platforms at times. After all, creating a site took a lot more time than posting on Tumblr. And when fans went so far, they really pulled out all the stops. Some of the best artwork, research and Japanese updates came from those old fansites that have long since been abandoned. It takes far more digging to find a good cash of information and well done fan articles these days.
Not that all older systems are abandoned, mind. A few fandoms are still clinging to older platforms. We Rangers are still rockin’ the old forum and chatroom combo, though we have “upgraded” to utilize Facebook too. Still, it can’t be denied that social networking has changed the anime community. It’s far more instant and seems to stay still as little as possible. As soon as a new show comes out, the last show is often forgotten, leaving more than a few anime companies running in circles to please impatient fans who are always looking for the next show.
What about you, though? Do you still use older platforms to rave about your favorite shows? Or are you completely dedicated to the newer systems?