Having mentioned the subject of "fanning" on Hub Pages in yesterday's post, I logged into my HP account this morning and found that instead of "fans", I now had "followers"! Several heated debates on this subject were already underway on HP's forums, with a large contingent of people bemoaning the change, partly because Twitter also uses the word "followers".
Personally, I think both terms suck. In fact, the idea of fanning, following or "friending" on the Internet really makes me squirm. I am happy (delighted, even) for people to bookmark or subscribe to my stuff... because that's all they're doing: showing an interest in what I write or sell. But if you're someone's "fan", it implies a whole-person endorsement that just isn't appropriate on the Internet. After all, you don't really know someone on the web - you just get a carefully-chosen segment of their personality. Sometimes you don't even get that, but an online illusion that doesn't correspond to the real life person at all.