How exactly, in your opinion, would someone go about joining the NASA fandom?
Anon, this is an excellent question, and I’m so glad you asked!
I would say there are three things you need in order to join the NASA fandom.
1) You have to like space. Sounds pretty obvious, right? Notice I said you have to “like” space, not “know everything about” space. You don’t have to know every switch on the space shuttle or read 50 books on Apollo in order to join the fandom. Don’t sit out on space conversations just because you don’t feel like an “expert.” I would say that I know a fair amount about space, and yet I literally learn something every day from tumblr.
2) Follow the Golden Rule.I’ll tell you a secret: I’ve belonged to or lurked on several space communities in the past, and the NASA fandom on tumblr is, by far, the most welcoming and drama-free. (Incidentally: The age range of the NASA fandom on tumblr is mostly late teens - early 40s. There are other forums filled with people a generation or two older who are constantly fighting with each other and generally being terrible people. You can be any age to join the tumblr NASA fandom, of course, but here, it really is a case of the kids behaving better than the grown-ups. But I digress.) The NASA tumblr fandom is a wonderful thing, and I’m very grateful for it. You have to go out of your way to cause conflict here; so as long as you respect others, you are good.
3) Enjoy having fun. Way back when I was in high school, I briefly belonged to a space community where people would literally get shouted down if they made jokes or acted less than academic about space. (Things were so serious that they would get shouted down by fellow forum members, not by actual moderators.) Needless to say, I didn’t stay for very long…because what is the point of spending time on a hobby if you can’t enjoy it?
If you want to learn about space and discuss science and history, then this fandom is for you. If you want to discuss tacky NASA 70s fashions, emote over astronauts who have been best friends for 50 years, or laugh at octogenarian NASA personnel being gossipy and passive-aggressive in their autobiographies, then this fandom is definitely for you.
Fellow tumblrers, let me know if I left anything out. And to the anon and everyone else: Welcome!