Fan Edits: The Backbone of Popular Culture

These 15-second videos have more power than you might think.


Fan edits are shared on just about every social media platform out there. These videos appeal to young people for their aesthetics and content. They stimulate emotions in fans and pique the interest of outsiders.

Anastasia Gobot, Opinions Editor

Pop culture exists because of mass appeal. Fan edits, if done well, can increase mass appeal for anything and anyone. They’re everywhere. TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are saturated with fan edits. It should be no surprise that they have a lot of power over the media preferences of young people.

Fan edits are short videos made to share appreciation for popular figures in media among other fans in a fun and entertaining way. They have recently seen a surge in production with the popularization of TikTok. Due to their brevity, aesthetics and sometimes the strong emotions they can stimulate, edits are constantly going viral on social media platforms, many reaching thousands of views and likes. Whether it’s to encourage sympathy for an antagonist in a show or showcase the playful relationship of a K-pop group, these edits have a large outreach.

Social media ships these edits out to people through explore pages, or “for you” pages, which run on algorithms that allow users to receive more content related to their likes. Any attention to these edits bring attention to the media they are focused on, which makes edits a very powerful tool in directing our malleable pop culture. Young people will watch a movie for the sole purpose of seeing the attractive character they watched in an edit. They may watch a show after seeing an edit of a sad character they can relate to. People may start listening to an artist because they saw an edit of them performing on stage. With the ability to download or send videos from social media, fan edits are given a greater playing field than most think.

Besides doing the hard work of giving shows, movies, music artists, webcomics and sports teams more exposure, fan edits also unite a strong community of fans. In fact, some fans collaborate with each other to create edits, just as singers do on a song. Webcomic fans make edits of their friends’ favorite characters as gifts. A large, united fandom is what determines who or what is popular. Popular fandoms such as Taylor Swift’s Swifties and BTS’s ARMY are prime examples. They constantly feed on fan edits to sustain themselves and each has grown so much to the point where it’s difficult to out-vote their artists for awards. Intentionally or not, fans that make edits hold the reins of pop culture’s future.