The Brief: On Twitter, standoms, online communities of zealous fans have space to commune about their mutual interests. Stan Twitter has also become the site of significant beef, trolling, and cyberbullying.
What is Stan Twitter?
Stan Twitter is a subset of Twitter made of super fans, usually to a celebrity or music group. Stans typically tweet about how much they love the person that they stan, but stan Twitter can become hostile and divisive as people with strong opinions gather on a forum where they can express them harshly, and with few consequences.
There is no official difference between a fan and a stan, a fandom or a standom. Usually stans are self-identified fans who go above and beyond traditional fandom with their excessive enthusiasm for their favs.
Stans exist for many different phenomena including KPOP, broadway, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and many, many more. Stans typically have stan accounts, Twitter accounts designated to the admiration of one particular fave. These are recognizable by usually having the thing they stan in their username, and exclusively tweeting about their love for their fave. Sometimes stan accounts will be fake celebrity accounts, or celebrity impersonation accounts.
Stan Twitter has its own set of unique memes, inside jokes, and slang. Certain standoms have their own names like Beliebers, Swifties, KatyCats, and the Bey Hive. An example of a stan twitter meme is the “skinny legend” meme. The origins and exact meaning of this meme are unclear, but the term is usually one of endearment directed at a fave. Images of Mariah Carey photoshopped to be absurdly skinny made her the face of this meme, as an example of a “perfect/skinny” superstar.
With all her solo activities, girly doesn't even look tired. The passion and professionalism jumped out. We stan a skinny legend 🍵 pic.twitter.com/ARfZ9p9X5j
— Thotlisa served [KAT] (@Blackpinkwru) August 16, 2018
Stan Twitter Slang:
Here’s some of the most-used stan Twitter Slang decoded.
Downsides of Stan Twitter
For example, inside jokes about fourteen-year-old Stranger Things star Millie Bobbie Brown being a racist homophobe were started in some stan circles. As these jokes turned into unsubstantiated rumors and spread to mainstream Twitter, harsh comments were made about and at Millie Bobbie Brown, and she deactivated her Twitter account.
Although stans are not inherently hostile, people online have strong opinions about their favs and will sometimes insult, or even threaten those who disagree with them. The app Amino has potential to be a more positive, community-oriented space for stanning, but has downsides of its own.
Overall, the internet has provided an unprecedented space for fandoms to exist – and for the invention of stans. As stans compete to be the most devoted, extreme measures can put their targets in online, and IRL jeopardy.