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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Facebook Fanning: A new craze that must be stopped

<ite today on an issue of little interest and even less importance. No, I’m not complaining about tray-less lunches or about backpacks in the LDC; this issue is one of even greater insignificance. Today, with your leave, I wish to kvetch to you about latest mildly-irksome fad to worm its way onto Facebook. I speak, of course, of the “Fan” craze.

I will begin by stating that I do not hate Laughing, Summer, Brownies, Not Being On Fire, Barack Obama, or the noble state of Oregon. My grievance is not with those things which are Fanned – and this is exactly the point. Who doesn’t love Bonfires or Cuddling? What sane person is opposed to Ira Glass or Smiles? I answer myself: no one can not be a small-f fan of these things.

This plague began innocuously enough. People became Fans of TV shows and bands, authors and cities – and all of this was fine because it expressed some individuality, it was a way of demonstrating your personal tastes. It was harmless, because it was kept in check. You would notice that your friend had become a Fan of The Biggest Loser or Twilight, and, though you might not look at them quite the same way in the future, it wouldn’t require any sort of action on your part. They Fanned something, you looked at it, and then moved on.

But since those innocent, early days, Fanning has become cancerous, spreading and growing like a malignant tumor eating away at Facebook. Legions of universally-beloved objects and experiences have flooded that little sidebar newsfeed, drowning out those things (like photo albums and events that friends in other states are attending) which could conceivably be of interest to me if I had a particularly nasty essay that I wanted to avoid. And here’s the rub: you can’t just see a friend become a Fan of Cute Little Ducklings and not follow suit. Or, rather, you can, but then everyone will assume that you hate Cute Little Ducklings – clearly not an acceptable outcome. And so the sickness spreads, from friend to friend, multiplying and expanding around the globe.

There have been signs of hope recently, in the form of ironic Fannings – the premier example is, of course, Not Being On Fire. This new direction seems to demonstrate a turn in public opinion, an understanding that Fanning is patently moronic. Unfortunately, there will always be those who fail to learn, who will simply fan every negative thing they can think of in a desperate attempt to appear droll. No, the ironic Fanning cannot ultimately save us; although it springs from a noble impulse, it will lead to a multiplication of the current crisis, as people fan not only every good thing, but every bad thing, as well.

Fortunately, unlike global warming, the war in Gaza, or the financial crisis, this is a problem that you can help to solve. You can make a real difference! Because whose Fannings appear on those little newsfeeds? Our friends’, of course! And who are our friends? Why, many of them are right here at Carleton!

You can take easy, powerful steps to bring an end to this somewhat irritating trend. Fanning is like a venereal disease, as well as a cancer (maybe it’s like HPV?) – it often comes from those closest to you. Fortunately, through simple consideration, it’s easy to stop its spread. Imagine if all of us at Carleton stopped Fanning things, and thereby stopped spreading those irritating notifications to our friends. We could create a little oasis in Northfield, a campus from spurious Fannings! And so I urge you all, in order to express our shared resolve to our friends around Carleton and around the world: become Fans of Not Fanning Every Damn Thing, and show the world you care.
Thank you for your time.

-Alex Korsunsky is a first-year

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