If you are active on Twitter, you might have seen those trending tags about a Minecraft series called the DreamSMP. Over the course of 2020, this Minecraft collaborative series has gained so much traction to the point where the person who handles the Twitter descriptions are in full detail, as though they were written by a fan.
“I think it’s really annoying that it’s constantly on Twitter and trending,” Senior, Sean Ryland-Winter said, “It’s just always bogging up everything, and it makes me want to watch it less…I dont like the community in or around the dsmp.”
On top of this, their popularity increased to the point where real world events are also being overshadowed on the trending page. Important news is instead being flooded by events of the survival multiplayer Minecraft world.
This is not a dig on the creators of the DreamSMP, however when spaces that are predominately internet based leech into the real world that already has a lot of things going on, it does bring up some questions of how much influence creators truly have in mass media.
Sophomore, Audrey Feddor, stated, “I personally don’t watch it because it’s new to me. I think for trends it might influence more people to watch it each time, which is why it’s consistent… I don’t think it affects people that don’t watch it.”
Fans can be scary, they can be caring, and they can be a powerful force to reckon with. These are not mutually exclusive things.
Maybe it’s a problem with unclear boundaries in this parasocial relationship from fan to creator, one example of this regarding the past remarks about creating NSFW content of those in the SMP;
“The fandom is gross and toxic, shipping real people and harassing these people for their Minecraft world. The people on the server are annoying and I have many issues [about them] as well,” Ryland-Winter said, “Dream has made a lot of transphobic, and homophobic jokes in the series. He’s also done some weird stuff when it comes to minors in the server and in the fandom.”
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the audience is generally a younger one, easily influenceable and watching others who are about as young as them on the SMP itself.
Maybe it has something to do with the platform DreamSMP puts their content on, that being Twitch, with live streams that kill the time younger audiences have nowadays. Regardless of these factors one thing is for certain:
Those fans have the capability to consistently put their presence on a website where people can check and see that they exist on their place in the trending list, instead of trending events like COVID 19 updates, world news, etc.
Now, taking breaks from COVID news is very important, not everything has to revolve around the current issue everyone is dealing with all the time — it is exhausting. However, the problem at hand is not the matter of having something else to look at besides the downer news, but how much that ‘something else’ has influence on other people.
“It’s weird that it’s constantly trending. It’s the same soup just reheated…To some level it does affect people who aren’t a part of it at all,” Senior, Kat White said. “[From what I’ve heard, the fandom] crashed Archive of Our Own, which if you don’t know is a big website for people who are in fandoms.”
Sometimes people do not want to look at content for a series in a block game and that is okay. The problem is that the DreamSMP is not as contained, the content spills over and of course it would — it’s a series with a massive audience.
This does not erase the accomplishments the DreamSMP has made, though it is in the job of the creator to at least handle some of the boundaries the fans are close to hitting and have hit over and over again.