Hoffman, Steve

Steve Hoffman, Editor/Piatt County Journal-Republican

Geek fam gives me a sliver of hope for Facebook

Just when I was ready to chuck Facebook, the WandaVision Fan Club page emerged, and for the show’s nine episode run it has dominated my feed.

For a change, I didn’t hate that. As a matter of fact, I have actually looked forward to seeing what other sci-fi thinkers had to say as they try to predict what will happen before an episode and react after it.

Made up not only of Marvel geeks but comic book amateurs (that’s me) who just love the Disney+ show, something that started as a virtual space to argue fictional theories has morphed into, well, kind of a family.

A diverse, sometimes dysfunctional family.

You know, kind of like real life.

“After the season is over can we still be Marvel family and friends?” asked one person in a recent post.

Same here, Facebook person I have never met. Same.

For sci-fi and comic book aficionados, this is unheard of. Try giving an opinion on anything Doctor Who without a fan jumping down your throat about how it “isn’t canon” or how there is no way you can present a story in 2020 that contradicts nary a jot or a tittle from an episode in 1963.

The WandaVision page has its trials and tribulations, like any family. Newbies come in and ask the same question that has been pondered 10 times before. But when sci-fi/fantasy snobs jump all over them, other users have put them in their place – usually fairly gently – restoring order without extensive administrative intrusion.

Just as in life, the inevitable arguments can get people’s blood boiling for a bit, but they typically don’t get out of hand on this Facebook page. Who is the big bad? How will it end? Will Vision survive?

And, above all: Is Wanda O.K.?

It’s like this page has reversed the polarity of the neutron flow on Facebook.

Oops. Wrong sci-fi franchise.

I think the main theme of the show – a person’s struggle with grief – might have played into the Facebook group becoming like family. I mean, I’m pretty sure none of us has been trapped in a magical hex and had our memories suppressed, or seen our deceased relatives show up on our doorstep.

But all of us have experienced grief, right?

It makes me feel like there is a chance that there are at least small slivers of social media that can be collaborative, fulfilling and even faith-building.

Make it so.



Steve Hoffman has been the editor of the Journal-Republican since 2012. His career in journalism dates back to 1983 and includes stints in public radio, commercial radio, daily and weekly newspapers.

He likes weeklies the best...



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