Sunday, 19 March 2017

Five years in the fandom, part 1: looking back

Five years ago this month, I did a "What pony are you?" meme. And yes, I came out as Fluttershy. Just after that, I finally succumbed to the pressure from various friends to watch the show. I zapped through the two seasons we then had available, and "A Canterlot Wedding" was the first episode for which I could read the hype as it was happening. I seem to remember some people being concerned that a wedding-based episode would see a reversion to G3 cutesiness. Heh.

In April 2012, I joined Fimfiction. It had been around for a while by then, but was still getting up to speed. Indeed, I started writing my first story (what would become The 20 Percent Solution) in GDocs. Fimf quickly took over, though. And the following month, I signed up on UK of Equestria. These were both good decisions, since the two sites have been at the core of my Pony fandom life ever since. This blog followed in December 2012.

More of this unfocused jabbering past the break! This time, it's not spoilery!

I didn't do much beyond watching the show in the early days, though I did buy a very few bits of merch. (My first was, inevitably, a Fluttershy brushable.) That really started to change in November 2012, when IDW put out their first MLP comic. Since I've bought every single issue since then, you might say they've done quite well out of me! The G. M. Berrow chapter books followed a little later, and again I keep buying them. My first Pony shirt (again, 'Shy-themed) arrived late in 2012, too.

2013 was a really big year, though it started terribly with a traumatic bereavement – the way this fandom helped me through it is why MLP will never be "just a show" to me. This year I started going to meets and making friends there. It was the year I started writing ponyfic a bit more seriously. It was the year I attended BUCK, my first convention (in any fandom). It was the tumultuous year of Twilicorn, Equestria Girls, Las Pegasus Unicon and the Fighting is Magic C&D.

By the start of 2014, I was firmly rooted in this fandom, and that March I began writing Ponyfic Roundup. No, I didn't expect still to be going with that three years later! It was peak Pony in terms of activity: there was the generally good S4 of the show, the mighty Rainbow Rocks, lots of meets, plenty of merch and – for the only time – two conventions. I enjoyed BUCK again, but my first trip to UK PonyCon may have been the most significant thing to come out of 2014.

Apart from reading and commenting on EQD considerably more than in my early years, I'm not sure I've changed my approach all that much since then. Yes, I liked S5 more than S6, but the gap isn't as wide for me as it is for some fans. I've been to two more UK PonyCons, run the occasional meet myself, and used Twitter a lot more than I'd ever have believed. But I'm generally comfortable with where I am in the fandom right now, and I see no real reason to change.

As the title of this post suggests, I haven't finished babbling on this subject. The second part will be a look at how I see the MLP fandom – and my place in it – developing in the future. I have a fair bit to say about that, especially from the point of view of a British fan specifically. There are several areas in which the US experience, which is what usually gets reported, is not (at least, not fully) applicable to the UK. With luck, that second post will be up next week. Definitely before S7 begins, anyway.


  1. Interesting reading. I didn't know you'd been convinced to try watching the show by friends.

    1. Yeah, it was a few people in furry who'd been watching from earlier on, plus a few more on LiveJournal ditto. :)

  2. This is fascinating. I keep comparing my experience with yours, and it's always a nice surprise to learn about the different ways people get into and go along with MLP:FiM. For instance, I also binged the first couple of seasons, and though I didn't take whatever the meme was you mentioned, I did the Bronyland Personality Test about four years ago, and I too ended up as a "Fluttershy" (with "Twilight" and "Applejack" as runners-up).

    On the other hand, unlike yourself, I have virtually nothing to do with the merchandise itself. The only things pony-related I ever bought were the first two seasons on DVD, and that was at the start of 2016. It's always been about the show and the online fandom to me. I have never attended a convention, either. (I'm a recluse, basically).

    Also, 2013 was a decent year for me because around that point I got involved in the World-Building Alliance contests, I was still writing something every now and again. Also, I was as yet unaware of the sudden status change Twilight was due; to this day, I still mentally bunch the seasons one, two, and three together, and regard four, five, and six as "the second half".

    By contrast, 2014 was an utter slump for me, and I lost interest in the show for a long while. It and 2015 were not good years for me, despite the seasons being good-to-great, mostly because of things going on elsewhere but also because I was starting to wonder about the show's major status-changing decisions and how they were handled.

    In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing your next post. My contact with the show and fandom is almost entirely electronic, so I might have an American-bias that someone more actively involved would not. It'll be interesting to find out.

    1. I'm a recluse, basically

      A bit like me in the furry fandom! That was my primary fandom for about nine years, and in all that time I never once attended a convention, nor even a meet. Admittedly I was slightly put off by the fact that there are no all-ages furry cons in the UK, but not even going to a meet took some doing. :P Well, okay, I did make a handful of friends who I later met in person, but not many.

      I was as yet unaware of the sudden status change Twilight was due

      That must have taken some doing in 2013! I remember being fairly confident it was going to happen several months out. But then I was already very active on the UK of E forum, so would have found it hard to avoid.

      I've bashed out the second part of this post now, and if I can get it at least vaguely readable will probably post it on Sunday. It's not going to blow any minds, though. :P

  3. Interesting ;D I look forward to part 2! I actually joined the fandom in January last year, which is far far later than basically everyone I know, I'm still glad I joined at all though ;) Personally, I've been to a couple Severn Bronies meets and I missed the last BUCK by a week or two D: Hopefully I'll attend a con at some point in the future though. Good read anyway!