Whoosh! Issue 13 - September 1997


A Whoosh! Archive Project
By Diane Silver
Copyright © 1997 held by author
922 words

Questions were asked in the spring of 1997.

Carol Burrell on Fandom and the Xena Site at Logomancy

[51] When did you get involved with online Xena fandom?

[52] Pretty much before there was an online Xena fandom. I started posting in the NetForum as soon as it was placed online. Artemis and I traded war stories about other fandoms we'd followed; Areia and I speculated on how the program would treat paganism. I recall watching the Hercules site and waiting for a corresponding one to appear for Xena...hmm, hard to recall through the foggy mists of time. To the best of my recollection, that's how it went.

[53] When did you first put up your web page?

[54] I was trying to figure that out just today. It was about the same time the show premiered. Maybe September 1995? (At one point I wrote down that I started the web site six months before Renee O'Connor's February 1996 birthday, so let's go with that date.) I was a big fan of Xena when she appeared on Herc, and as soon as I heard there was going to be a new program, I phoned Renaissance for permission to start a web site. The person I spoke with didn't really know what I was talking about, but told me to go ahead and do what I wanted. And thus an obsession started.

[55] What did you do first in online Xenadom and how did your online activities change over time?

[56] The first thing I did was take a look at one of the few Herc sites that were online at that time -- Ms. Moo's Kevin Sorbo page -- to get a feel for what folks were already doing. Then I started my page. I posted maniacally in the MCA NetForum and exchanged a lot of private e-mail with other fans. It was reassuring to know there were other people interested in the program; I needed that reassurance. I didn't feel so strange and alone. Nowadays, I can't keep up with the volume of mailing-list mail, although I'm subscribed to two lists. The NetForum had become contentious and a bit silly, and I haven't visited it in many months. I spend most of my online Xena-time updating my web page and answering mail that comes to me because of the site -- I get a lot of fan mail from little kids who think they can reach Lucy or Renee, and I want to make sure to answer them right away and let them know how to join the fan clubs and connect with other fans; and I get a lot of requests and suggestions for the site, complaints, and the occasional offer of help from other fans.

[57] What was it like during the early days online? How has it changed?

[58] Early days were cosy, safe, a small-town feel -- a special secret you shared with only a few other people, something to smile about in the middle of the day with a certain quiet pride. Politeness reigned perhaps because we were so close-knit. Xena fandom has gone the predictable path of most fandoms. The cosiness evaporates as the fandom grows. I no longer know everyone, I no longer recognise everyone's name. I went from being one of a few fish huddled together in a tiny pond, to a big fish in a medium-size pond, to a nondescript fish in an ocean. But I'm glad to see the program attract so much attention, become a phenomenon. I'd rather it continue to grow in popularity, and the cast and crew achieve success, than see a fine program fade away.

[59] Have your online activities changed your views of yourself, the world, and/or the show?

[60] Of myself? I've discovered I'm not superwoman -- I had huge problems getting the XINE zine done, I overextended myself, I tried to maintain a web site through a serious illness, I became enormously obsessive. Lest this be totally negative, I also learned, through fits and starts and mistakes and successes, a great amount about web design. I pushed myself to learn more programming, more graphic design skills and tricks. The web site attracted clients, even got me a job programming an ancient-world CD-ROM game and web site. I discovered that I can learn to do something difficult simply by putting my mind to it -- acquired some self confidence. Not bad, eh?

[61] Of the world? Well, I've met many people I wouldn't have met otherwise, encountered new points of view; I've seen the broad spectrum of people who get involved in a program like this, puzzled over their reactions, learned what pushes people's buttons and what pleases them. I'm glad so many people have an interest in the type of program I would have wanted to produce myself. It depresses me that (it seems) only a minority of the fans have an interest in learning much about the ancient world or mythology. It gives me hope that a fandom -- or any group of people -- can grow this large and still, for the most part, be very friendly and good to one another.

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