Positivity and the Expanded Universe Movement (Part I): Positivity and History
Hello Everyone! My name is Brian Borg and for those who do not know me I am the current president of Twin Suns Foundation, an organization dedicated to spreading and improving literacy worldwide through Star Wars Legends.
When Matt and Chris informed me they were working on a website for the Expanded Universe modeled after the old Starwars.com, I was quite excited to see what they would do with it. Now that it has released, I am thrilled to see all the content already being created. One thing I did not realize, however, was that I too might end up contributing a piece or two to the article section! However, after a recent conversation with some of the Twin Suns Foundation team members, and watching some of the conduct within the Expanded Universe Movement in reaction to the Hasbro “Fan Poll” fiasco, I realized now might be a good time to share with everyone what I believe to be the secret to our success thus far and likely to be the key to future successes as well.
What is it that has allowed the Expanded Universe Movement to string together so many victories and successes over the past couple years? What changed from the early days of the movement?
The answer really boils down to one thing. Positivity.
Positivity is a tricky thing for fans of the Expanded Universe to find ever since April 2014 when Disney & Lucasfilm announced a discontinuation and rebranding of the Expanded Universe. Understandably a positive attitude/mindset was the last things on the minds of those in the movement, especially in the months following the announcement when we were finding one another and forming places to vent about what had just happened to the franchise. But even today I still see many struggling to find that illusive positive mindset. Everyone from myself and my team down to those only occasionally involved in the movement find it a challenge from time to time. It is natural as our struggle towards our goals is undoubtedly an uphill one!
But why is the concept, the idea, the state of mind that positivity encompasses so important to our efforts as a movement? Why is it worth striving for? Why does someone like me rely upon positivity so much and believe that it is integral to our past and future success?
To best explain this, I really only need to point at the last three years of the Expanded Universe Movement as an example of how effective positivity can be when striving for lofty goals.
Some of you have been involved in this effort since the very beginning, in those dark times immediately following April 2014. You all likely remember when emotions ruled all and chief among them were anger, hurt, rage and worse in many cases. You know our actions were largely disorganized, incoherent and arguably pointless beyond providing a clear outlet for channeling our emotions. I do not think it is a stretch to say that such times were unhealthy for us all and that next to no progress was made towards righting situation in those early days.
Our negativity also earned us enemies and adversaries everywhere. It closed minds to our message both outside the EU fandom and within! Some out there, even now, remain stalwartly opposed to our efforts today specifically because they believe we are those same people who were so negative and toxic in the months following April 2014.
But things clearly changed!
Fast forward a slight bit to April 2015 when things started to look different. Perhaps we worked out the emotion from our collective systems. Perhaps we were just tired of ranting and getting nowhere. But somewhere, among all of that, enough of us decided we were done with the negativity and we were ready to do something about the situation.
To me the biggest observable change came when an effort was made and successfully followed through on to create a group on Facebook specifically intended for those running pages, groups, YouTube channels, twitter feeds and Instagram pages friendly to the Expanded Universe. These people would go on to work together in sharing information with one another, getting event news to each of their audiences, creating new events and eventually taking on bigger tasks such as formulating a plan to install a billboard outside of Lucasfilm.
None of that would have happened if we were incapable of looking past the negative emotions brought about by what we had all suffered in 2014. It was a sign. Progress was being made and it was because our positive attitudes allowed us to have a goal in mind and to say “no matter what is thrown in our way, no matter what obstacle we might encounter, we will face it down and find a way to surpass the challenge together.”
While this was happening, efforts were being made throughout the movement to erase negative discussions and to encourage more positive ones. Those actions included things like policies banning troll interactions or certain discussion topics. By early 2016, despite the movement facing some serious challenges at the time, it was clear there was a major difference in the general attitude.
Yeah, you could still see people were upset. That probably will not change until our goals are met, maybe even beyond for some. But you could see more members of the movement were doing just as the page managers and administrators had done. They were looking past that negative emotion. They were adopting more positive outlooks. They were finding the silver lining in even the most pitch-black of news involving our efforts and focusing on it.
Comparing the Expanded Universe Movement’s early days of 2014 to those of 2016, it is was inspiring to see how far we had come. So much had been accomplished the second part of 2015 and early 2016 because of the shift in mindset and the purpose positivity allowed us to find, that it felt like an entirely new effort, a new Movement.
And perhaps it was.
In my next article, "Positivity and the Expanded Universe, Part 2", I will rehash what all this positivity has allowed us to accomplish as a movement.
For now, let us know your thoughts on how the EU movement has changed over its first three years in the comments below!