• BronyCon's Closure and Why It's Not the End of the Fandom!

    I've seen a lot of gloom and doom in the submit box and Discord these last few days. Quite a few people are having straight up panic attacks, while many are spamming us with petitions demanding BronyCon continue. It's a hot topic, and as another one of those fandom pillar things, we here at EQD figured it would be a good idea to dive on in.

    It's a big deal seeing the oldest and biggest fandom convention shut down, but should we all be worried about endtimes? Is the greatest pony filled decade actually ending? Lets analyze it below and see what we can do as a fandom to keep things tight!

    Why Are We Still Here? 

    Eight years ago, our glorious pony invasion began and pretty much took over the nerd side of the internet. Thousands of message boards, steam pages, facebook groups, and Twitter feeds were being spammed by colorful cartoon characters people were falling in love with even before they knew what it was. The style, the expressions, the horse puns... it was a nonstop onslaught! My Little Pony was back in action, and you could not browse a website without a Rainbow Dash meme appearing somewhere.

    Many say the story, themes, or message of the show are the main draw, and while important,  I personally never agreed with that. For me, it was always the art style I saw bringing people in. The ridiculously cute characters and wide array of expressions they brought to the internet were basically made for memedom. What if we had the exact same everything, but the art style was G1? I don't doubt for a second that it would have been a 2 season dud like everything else that released on The Hub during that time. Art style is a HUGE deal when it comes to the appeal of a cartoon, and while some would have discovered an interesting world had they stuck around for an uglier mane cast, far less would have even given it a shot in the first place and they certainly wouldn't have been busting out thousands of drawings of it. Lauren Faust struck character design gold when she built these giant eyed, adorably proportioned characters.

    And so, we had a golden age. An era where it was suddenly trendy and hip to like My Little Pony after decades of "it's a girly toy commercial" being shoved down everyone's throats. Animators, artists, musicians, and a host of other creatives saw this as the perfect opportunity to both do something fun, and build a fanbase with the biggest new thing. Don't doubt for a second that every other cartoon company out there hasn't been studying the success of this show. I really do think it has risen the bar on animated kids TV as a whole.

    During this time, we saw the rise of the fandom. We here at Equestria Daily blasting you with every pony creation we can get our hands on with hundreds of thousands flocking to the site to see what people were making and getting all sorts of motivation to flex those creative muscles. I hope we were a big driving force for this show's success as it was originally created as a way to hopefully fuel a 3rd season, but these horses had a life ahead of them regardless.

    Trends change though. Undertale, Five Nights at Freddies, and a host of other new things started siphoning people away. While many continued to watch the show, quite a few were distracted by other ideas. But those have all already died haven't they? Five Nights is still dumping installments and you barely see any hype. That brings me to the next topic...

    What Sets Us Apart from Other Fandoms? Why the Longevity? 

    I'll use anime as an example here. There are loads of gigantic ones that draw millions of viewers, but there are also tons of others to watch. They tend to be flash-in-the-pan. Big while their season is running, then dead when it's not. The anime fandom as a whole is strong, but specific shows don't have much staying power and the eyeballs are all over the place. Why is the creative fandom side so limited per-show? How does pony manage at least 40+ excellent drawings a day even 8 years later?  It's all about that exclusivity.

    There are hundreds of anime with the same style (albiet with tiny variations), but only one show you can go to for our adorable cartoon equine model. This FORCES the fandom to create. We want MORE but we only have one official source and have to do it ourselves.  Fanfiction, drawings, animations, you name it, we've made thousands of it. We do it because there is a massive amount of demand for it. In anime, you can get your generic pink-haired shy waifu from 30 different sources. Over here? It's just Fluttershy once a week. You want more?  You dig into the fandom.

    This is how EQD has been fueled, and helped in driving the fandom for so long with 12-20 posts a day every day filled with stuff in each. If we were covering Naruto and only Naruto at it's prime, one of the most successful anime out there, we would have had completely dead days. If people want more Naruto, they have 8 other Shonen style anime to watch. There was fanart and content, but not nearly as much since people had so many other options.

    When hiatuses hit, stuff slows down sure, but the desperate demand for more horse is still strong. Even this late in the game during a pony draught, we still have no problem filling up an art post or spamming you all with music and fanfiction.

    Pony started to decline, but only because the people that follow whatever trend is big were moving on. What we are left with was a very solid foundation of hardcore pony lovers. People that really had found "their place". There were a few rocky moments with the introduction of Twilight's wings and Equestria Girls scaring people away, but the team over at DHX made these work well, and those that stuck around still found loads of stuff to enjoy.

    Being forced to create with a subject matter that is very easy to work with has brought us all together in a way that no other fandom can really come close to. It's why we've had a worldwide convention scene and hundreds of meetup groups.

    That's Great and All, but BronyCon is Closing! It's Over Right? 

    The first BronyCon was basically a glorified meetup. The second was a tiny rented out dance studio with no AC in the middle of a heat wave. Even with the inconveniences though, people wanted MORE. The friendships growing throughout the internet wanted a place to meet each other, and it was all grand hotels and convention centers from there onward.

    BronyCon's closure sucks. We've got one big massive celebration in 2019, but it's probably not going to be coming back. To a lot of people, that was their one place to really meet other fellow fans in person. The people that they talk to every day over Facebook, Tumblr, Deviant Art, or even Skype back before Discord obliterated it.

    That is just three days a year though, and one of many conventions around the world. We've still got big ones pretty much everywhere. Maybe not 6000 people big, but much larger than any other show-specific convention. Some are even still growing, and will probably increase even more now that people need a new yearly real-life meetup site.

    Our online presence has slowed and shifted, but is still staggeringly big. Gaming projects, major animations, and more ideas continue to build behind the scenes. If anything these ideas have a higher likelihood of actually releasing, as many working on them are veterans of the pony scene at this point.

    This fandom still has plenty of room to continue marching onward, and while major beloved creators from 6 years ago may move on to other things, we've still got plenty of new, excited people coming in hoping to share.

    Hell, hit the top art on Deviant Art some time. We STILL drop colorful horses every 10-20 images. That is a lot of people still loving pony! Combine five other currently running shows and you wouldn't be able to come anywhere near our fan-content production levels.

    What About G5 and This Crazy Schedule for Seasons 7 and 8?

    None of us want Friendship is Magic to end. It's some of the most fun we've had in forever, and many of us are completely addicted to pony at this point. I can't imagine what my day would be like without having art to check out or fanfics to read. Friendships in this fandom have gotten to the point where they can be actually be called long-term. People have found love, rejection, celebration, and every other emotion on the spectrum with the people that hang with on a day-to-day basis thanks to this show. It's one of the most tight knit communities out there.

    That's what keeps us going all these years later. An addictive show and friendship. With season 9 possibly being the last G4 series and a complete mystery on what we will see after that, we are still going to have those connections even without official content.

    I'm not going to be unrealistic and say the fandom will be just as active without the show.  I've already expressed my grievances about the way the last two seasons have been handled schedule-wise, and still think this is one of the big reasons for why things have slowed down faster than it would. I don't know who is in charge of how pony is released, but flooding it all in 2 months instead of dragging it out like season one and two did giving people time to digest and create is bizarre to me.  But even with the chaotic release schedule splitting people into different sections watching episodes weeks apart from each other, pony and friendship remains.

    What Can I do to Keep This Train Rolling?! 

    I've said it several times throughout this piece, but content creators are king. New ones, veterans, even the people that come back once a year and dump a pony drawing off then disappear again are important.

    If you aren't in that camp, do your absolute best to support them. At the end of the day, we are all human. Receiving feedback from our peers is something all of us want in some way or another. Nothing feels better than posting a drawing you worked your ass off on and getting 20 comments from people saying how incredible it is, or even just watching the likes and favorites increase.

    As someone browsing their work, it might not seem like much to throw a compliment in there, and they might not even respond, but do it anyway. I guarantee they are checking and feeling good about it. People react differently to praise. Some pop down there and want to talk to you! Others silently celebrate while pretending to hate their work and never respond. You are still being seen though. Your comment is still helping someone motivate themselves to keep going.

     I've known loads of artists who don't even have a Disqus account here on EQD who check every single comment thread their art is in over at the Drawfriend posts. All of you popping your top 20 favorites that might not even get an upvote actually are making a HUGE difference. Everyone that hits a music post and compliments the way they matched their vocals with an epic drop just motivates them to do it more.

    Even the OC'S are AMAZING these days!

    And on the EQD front, spread us around if you can. There is a growing fandom of kids entering the show, and they have no idea we exist.  Their experience with "Brony fandom" is those awful spam videos with 15 word titles mining the Youtube algorithm and popping awful animations of pregnant Twilight Sparkle cannibalizing Flash Sentry or some random crap.

    Having a central repository for people to find the good creators and give them praise is something that helped tremendously in the early days, and these kids need to know about our fandom's actual high quality content, be it animation, music, art, pony music videos, fanfiction, or whatever else.

    They love commenting on everything, are growing in artistic talent, and might just be the people you are commissioning for your OC portrait in the future. They just need an outlet to practice that isn't controlled by questionable YouTube exploits mining them for hits.

    Keep your eyes open for new people... or else~

    So there you have it! Is the overall oldschool fandom shrinking? Sure. But it's still gigantic and has plenty of room for growth. Conventions will close, artists will quit, but new groups and people will replace them. We just need to pay attention to them and give them the same kind of praise the people that started in pony back in 2010 got. I feel like this isn't done nearly enough anymore. Praise is important! It's what fueled this insane ride, and made the last eight years feel like a blur!