When real world issues collide with your fandom: A good kind of reality check

I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter these days. I find it the best way to keep track of breaking news and all of the things I fan over. It gives me a closer connection to the things I love. This time, it served to remind me of what’s going on in the world and the fact that I actually could help, even from so far away…

There have been quite a few polls/contests hosted by websites, where fans are asked to vote for their favorite actor/character. In fact, it feels like they’re never-ending. It can be a bit of fun (though, I won’t deny the feeling that so many of these challenges are more for website clicks than anything else). And if you’ve been a part of any of it, you know some fans are very dedicated to rallying the troops for votes. (Admittedly, though I do participate, it isn’t nearly as much as others.)

Outlander’s Sam Heughan really pushed fans to vote for him in the Radio Times TV Champion, and it was a lot of fun to watch and be a part of. His enthusiasm and engagement with fans around this poll was great. To me, when the actor is into it and turns it into a way to get ordinary people involved, that’s when I want to jump in and be a part of the action.

On the flip side, Caitriona Balfe was (and still is) up for in E!’s “Girl On Top” and once Sam won, fans started really pushing for her votes. The difference, though, was that she wasn’t so involved. In fact, she’s been fairly silent on Twitter recently–though who can blame her with filming constantly. And just as I felt motivated to really push for Sam, I didn’t feel as motivated in this case, not because I’m not a big fan of hers (because I am), but it didn’t seem as important to her. And because of that, it wasn’t as important to me. Though some fans may disagree, I think that’s completely okay. I had voted for her a handful of times when the link would pop up in my feed, but girlfriend has other things to do and isn’t so concerned and so I didn’t feel the need to also make a fuss as a fan.

Cue the reality check, which puts a lot into perspective…

After quite a bit of silence and a few retweets here and there, Caitriona tweets a couple of things that really hit what she was more concerned about.

It was a simple message. While still appreciative of the efforts toward the poll, it hit home about a crisis that is both terrible, but also feels like worlds away when you’re one of the fans in the U.S.

You know, oftentimes being a part of a passionate fan base extends out into parts of life that go beyond the book/TV show/film/you name it. I’ve been inspired to become more active with charities that hit close to home for me. And beyond that, there are occasions when I’m reminded of other things that are important in life. In this case, it’s a refugee crisis in Syria that while it doesn’t directly affect America, is something that the whole world should be aware of and help in any way they can.

With that said, those simple tweets from an Irish actress filming an ocean away served as a reminder to me that I could still do something small to help, and I did. It was a reality check that I needed, and one that I think other fans also appreciated.

Find a way to support this or anything else close to your heart. It’s worth it. (Then continue on being a fangirl because that’s okay, too.)

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