A couple of years ago, I did a post on fans and how we should never forget that authors, actors, artists, sports stars, etc are all people too and should be respected rather than treated as property. The blog post was called "The Dark Side of Fandom".
This time out I figured I would cover an offshoot issue from this. One that affects fans rather than the those we are fans of. And that's the issue that there are people out there more than willing to prey on fans by passing themselves off as the stars we look up to.
Honestly, my naivete sometimes runs into the incredulous, but occasionally I get a clue. I don't think I would ever actually believe a star I met online would ever want to meet me in person, but there are those who might. I'm on a list for my obsession "Supernatural" (though season 5 may quickly drop me back into just regular watcher status - 9 out of 12 episodes having crap for scripts is NOT good. Waaaahh - but I digress...) and through several conversations and items/information that have been posted, this area of inquiry came up.
In the last several years there have been people who've shown up on Facebook and MySpace claiming to be Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They've massed a ton of followers, they've posted updates, and acted in everyway as if they're the real thing. Unfortunately, they weren't, but fans didn't know that, and there have been instances where these predators have tried to "meet" with some of those following them for mischief. Something that could be quite dangerous.
And while eventually these people get found out and closed down, more spring up. Jensen and Jared have stated before that they do not have or will ever have set ups in social networking sites. (With their schedules - not time!) Yet the trouble has become so prevalent that they've now been forced to do a quick video stating so to make sure fans become aware so they don't get preyed on!
It's just amazing to me that anyone out there would use someone else's name and fame to prey on others.
Some of the networking sites are even coming up with ways to try to safeguard us and the stars. Twitter now has a means for people to get a "seal of authenticity" put on their Twitter page so fans know they are the real article and not some poser. Not all stars are using this, as not all are used for preying on others, but it is definitely something to be aware of.
So be a fan! Follow the peeps you like, but be careful. Let's keep fandom, fans, and stars safe!