Fan Made Friday: Danny J. Smith
Spotlight on Facebook Fan Group admin, Danny J. Smith.
Danny is the admin of the increasingly popular Facebook group, The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics. Being a super fan of the saga, Danny shares his passion for Star Wars by connecting fans in an online environment where all are welcome and can expect that their views will be valued and respected. Honor The Force recently spoke with Danny about life as an admin and how this experience has been an exciting one for him.
Honor The Force: What was it first that sparked your love of Star Wars?
Danny: My parents first sparked my love for Star Wars. I can’t even be sure of how old I was, but probably no older than 5 or 6, when my dad popped in the VHS of Star Wars with me for the first time. As a small child, I remember feeling that this movie was instantly better than everything else I ever watched. I can’t pinpoint exactly where I fell in love. Vader walking onto the Tantive IV? When Luke first ignited his father’s lightsaber? When Obi-Wan and Vader fought, showing that only these special “Jedi” use such a weapon? Who was Luke’s father and what happened to him? I had all these questions and more, and the story only deepened with Empire and Jedi, that by the time I had watched all three, I NEEDED to watch them again, to see what I missed, to find any clue I could about this universe. It has pretty much been like that ever since. When I heard that prequels were planned and that they would detail the fall of Anakin Skywalker; I became obsessed. As I still am to this day. I, for one, was not disappointed in any way by the prequels.
Honor The Force: Danny, you are currently an admin at "The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics"; which shares content to thousands of members on a daily basis. Running a group of that size must be stressful at times, yet rewarding as it seems to be a success. What was it that inspired you to organize the group?
Danny: Excellent question. It can indeed be stressful to keep order in a group that has been growing so large, so fast. I have an excellent team of admins who are always helping out. With the rules we have put in place, especially in regards to being respectful not only to fellow members, but to the franchise and its creators as well, it can be tough to stick to your guns, and make sure you show people that bash the prequels, or George Lucas, or call people names, that you are serious. This method was inspired in me by a group from another fandom. There is a closed group called “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which is a group for fans of the book series that the HBO show Game of Thrones is based on. They have over 43,000 members, and a team of 12 admins keeps it on-topic and respectful of each other and the creator of the content (for the books). I was actually banned for being condescending to someone, and after they let me back in, I realized that this is how you run a group for a fandom that can’t agree on certain things. I felt this would translate nicely into Star Wars. I belonged to a group that shall remain nameless, and it was chaos every day. People fighting, disrespecting the franchise, being “internet bullies” to anyone who thought the prequels were good. I was tired of it, so I felt there must be many Star Wars that feel like I do. 4,300 members in almost four months has proved that I was right!
Honor The Force: Considering all the positive interactions that you have had with others in the Star Wars fan community, which one sticks out to you the most towards fulfilling your mission as an admin?
Danny: This whole experience sticks out to me, but mostly it’s the people who love the prequels who feel they can express it without backlash. The biggest things, and this has become such an important thing for the Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics, has been the way female members appreciate what we do. The internet can already be a disgusting place for anyone, but for whatever reason, many times when a woman posts a picture of themselves in a Star Wars T-shirt (not even anything risqué), they have 20+ “men” commenting about how hot they are, and stuff they would like to do with them. We don’t allow that in any capacity. If they bring it to our attention that a member inappropriately private messaged someone, we will take action then as well. The women who have given their thoughts on what we do has been the most rewarding so far for sure.
Honor The Force: In just a few words, could you describe the mission statement of "The Alliance"?
Danny: The mission of the Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics is simple: Positivity and Unity. We want to promote the franchise, and not concentrate on anything negative. The negativity is all over the place, and it simply isn’t welcomed in the Alliance. We are about respect for our beloved franchise, and respect for each other. There should never be excuses for anything else.
Honor The Force: If you were give one piece of advice to a new/novice admin of a Star Wars fan group, what would it be?
Danny: My advice to anyone new to being an admin, or maybe thinking of starting a group: HAVE HELP. Have people you trust help you as admin, and stick to your guns. If you let one person break your rules, many will follow. In the end, remember this is the internet, we can’t control anyone or make anyone change their mind, but we can stand up for what WE believe. GO FOR IT!
Danny, Thanks for creating a safe haven for Star Wars fans who love to network in a peaceful online environment and for helping us Honor The Force!
If you are interested in joining Danny's group, The Alliance of Star Wars Fanatics, click the link below: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheAllianceofStarWarsFanatics/
You can also hear Danny's recent appearance on the coolest Star Wars Podcast on the net: Star Wars Expose, by clicking here...