On Fandoms and Analysis Paralysis

When you’re sitting down in between tasks, eating pizza and drinking soda that you didn’t order, you get weird ideas. So tonight, I asked my pool of Twitter followers a question:

I asked this with reservations. I could’ve either gotten a lot of great responses or I would’ve gotten no responses and a lot of unfollows. Thankfully, it was the former and I wasn’t disappointed:

And now for something completely different…

There was a time where I honestly thought design could be my whole life. It was my hobby, my fandom and my career. Then the novelty wore off. Then I met my wife—and then the learning began.

Fandoms, as you probably haven’t noticed already, have become a cornerstone for me. Surprisingly, following communities that have introduced me to the most dedicated fans on the face of the planet taught me the importance of being a fan. But more importantly, it taught me the importance of being a fanboy or fangirl of something outside of your line of work.

Fandoms can add dimension to the one-dimensional Twitter stream. They remind you that the person on the other end is a person with other interests and not some self-promotional machine or oppressed professional who has an obligation to his or her 200,000 followers to stay on topic. It adds variety the inevitable person-to-person meetings. But most of all, they create strong connections, stronger than the ones that our common line of work will ever grant us. This is something you’ll never see spoken about at a conference or linked to on Hacker News, but fandoms are the ties that bind us. Don’t believe me? I’ve had the luxury of witnessing this myself over many years at many startups. By not sharing similar fandoms with my peers, whether it’d be music or single-gear bikes, I’ve seen them grow closer and ultimately more productive. Camaraderie begets productivity. But I digress.

My personality has granted me quite a few glitches. Besides being social awkward and whatnot, I have this tendency to overanalyze—and with over-analyzation comes some sort of judgement call. I’ve looked at the people I follow or those whom are retweeted to me and I see flatness. Even those whom I know are immensely multidimensional in person become this flat, one-dimensional, one-directional (and even worse, cliquey) computer speaker. I grew sick of being that, so I started to slowly expose my myriad of odd interests. I started to emote more. I started talking about Japanese music. People responded to those differently in both positive and negative ways and here I am, standing on my sandbox, speaking to a wall.

I mean, do you SEE anybody else in the professional design community doing this:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

No, and that’s quite unfortunate. Quotes about sticks coming out of lower body parts suddenly come to mind.

There’s a point I had to all of this, and that point is this: I want to do a search of my Twitter stream in 5 or 10 years and take a random selection of them. I want to look at that random selection and smile at the fact that they weren’t monotonus or all design-related, or all development-related, or even all Japanese idol-related! Those are also the type of people I want to follow because I love learning about people.

So, if you’ve survived my fit of Tourette’s and have gotten this far, tweet one of your fandoms to me and show me your awesome personality. (⌒▽⌒)