Exploring fandom, social media, and producer/fan interactions: An interview with Sleepy Hollow ‘s Orlando Jones
I know that I talk a lot on here and on Twitter about how much I love Orlando Jones and I don’t often give receipts.
If ever you questioned my admiration for this man, if ever you wondered why, let this interview be my answer.
From the way he talks about fandom:
“Fandom is finding a community of like-minded enthusiasts that vibrates at your same frequency. It’s great to love something, but when you find other people who share that love in its purest expression and you can talk for hours about plot theories, or ships, or the general excitement about being moved to feel based on a creative work—that’s intoxicating.”
“This is the place where the disenfranchised and the marginalized have a voice, where they can express their dissatisfaction with the status quo and demand a more concerted effort by the media establishment to improve diversity, to expand beyond tropes, idioms, and stereotypes.”
To the way he admits his own shortcomings:
“This past year I learned a lot about the subtle differences in engagement between the platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) in ways I didn’t fully comprehend before. In the past I had a tendency to cut and paste my social messaging so that it could be streamlined/turnkey, but I came to appreciate the need for customized interaction that is appropriate to each audience cohort.”
“I have learned the importance (and value) of being more precise in my language.”
But specifically, I’d like to express my gratitude towards these two quotes in particular:
“I fully expect to make additional missteps in the future, which I will attempt to navigate with sincerity and candor.”
“It’s still a learning process but I’m enjoying the discovery.”
Orlando does not make the same mistake that others have in the past, where they think they understand fandom as a whole but continually and carelessly step on our toes.
He not only admits to his mistakes, he understands that he’ll probably make more in the future and it’s something he hopes to learn from.
This is the way the fourth wall should be broken; with respect and with the attitude that you don’t know everything about fans and fan spaces.
I also think this particular answer, in regards to people trying to dictate what he says in his own space, is important: “I respectfully reject the premise that there are (or should be) any limitations to what I can tweet about. If people don’t like it or disagree they have the ability to opt out. If they choose to follow, then the implied contract is that they take the good with the bad. And if there is some exception to the position I just espoused, I suppose we’ll cross that tweet when we come to it.”
Following someone does not give you some implicit right to tell them what to do; you don’t get to dictate what they say and more importantly, you don’t get to tell them what not to say.
If the bad outweighs the good, well then. The unfollow button was created for a reason.
Orlando Jones is respectful towards fans but he also won’t let you bully him into silence or push him out of fandom. He’s a celebrity but he’s a fan, too, and every fan who wants it has a place in fandom, no matter what their job is.