There’s a lot of bronies in existence, more than can possibly hope to become big names and have a large number of members of the fandom recognize their ponysona name. This is just as normal in the real world: Not all that many people know all that many people by name, but most of us know who Barack Obama is, or Brad Pitt, or Mickey Mouse.
Similarly, we recognize some of the bigger names of the fandom, those with names like MandoPony, Dustykatt, and Kkat, in addition to show staff such as Tabitha St. Germain, Sibsy, and Jason Thiessen. These are names we recognize and come to associate with specific people, those who were perfectly normal, unknown, and unworried about who they were and what they were doing.
In other words, they were us.
There’s a lot of words that can be used to describe the average member of the fandom: eccentric, standout, outlier. None of these are who we are. We are unique, special people, every single one of us, as all humans are. What sets our specific group apart is that we have a common interest in ponies, that’s all. It’s nothing spectacular or fanfaric; just a fact of life that we know to be true.
That is by no means what is special about the average brony. We all have the potential to become noticed. Considering how focused the community is on creativity, ideas, and perseverance, any brony who wants to put their content out there to be noticed can do exactly that. If they put out enough good content for long enough, they will be recognized.
All right, so any regular brony can become a fandom icon. Why, then, are the majority of bronies not contributors to creativity? They will talk and discuss, critique and appraise, confirm and disagree… but they will not add to the pool of creative talent. In essence, the vast majority of fans don’t want to or care to make content. Why?
A lot of us want to be popular. A lot of us strive for the limelight. That’s not so bad a goal to try to attain; sure, it’s a little vain, but it’s an expected human emotion, and it keeps content interesting and fascinating.
This is one of the most surprising things about the fandom. Sure, there are many bronies out there trying to make a name for themselves for various reasons; there are still a whole lot more that want nothing to do with facetime, popularity, or even recognition of their ponysona. In fact, some bronies use universal ponysonas, such as DJ Pon-3 or Octavia, or they use no ponysona at all and simply post as anonymous, all for the purposes of remaining as hidden as possible.
This is strange. Most commonly, humans want this attention. It takes a lot of willpower to overcome the desire for attention. There has to be something different about a brony.
And what is different about bronies? We aren’t any more unique than those on the left side of us and those on the right. We’re all human, with human wants and human needs, yet the average brony appears to be a master of themselves to the point that they will go so far as to shun publicity.
That’s not to say that fandom icons don’t have their place; Sweetie Belle composes great music, Snapai draws great art, and Skandranon writes great fanfiction. These names help find a brony’s material more easily, and we still have no idea who any of these people are, so this works well enough. It’s relative anonymity tied to a name that could disappear tomorrow and bring all of that person’s claims to fame with it.
There are also those who don’t look to build up a report; the universal ponysona posters or anons are the answer to this. Say you want to contribute, but don’t expect to do so regularly and don’t want to be contacted incessantly in regards to what you make. These are perfect! Draw a single picture or compose a single song, then post it where others will find it and never worry about having to release new content; you do it at your leisure. No deadlines, no worries, no popularity. It’s a great idea.
In practical application, this doesn’t usually work so well. Many will let the fame go to their heads and it morphs their interactions within the fandom, inflating ego and distancing the brony from the very community that elevated them in the first place. This is a very common occurrence among the popular and famous, and the members of the fandom are all too human when you look at it from a realistic standpoint.
In regards to this, I have a lot of respect for the average brony. Some contribute content, some don’t; however, every single one of us has a story to tell, something about us that is just absolutely wonderful to know about, to hear, and to experience. There are many different roads that we have taken to become bronies, and the majority of us most assuredly did not become bronies with any goal of popularity in mind.
Popularity is a side effect of good work; it is good, but exalting such a thing is foolish. In reality, we’re all regular bronies… some of us just tend to forget that when we become high and mighty. It doesn’t matter how much we contribute, or for what reasons. We’re all bronies, and we’re all helpful in our own little ways. Whether we release music to be listened to by millions or provide a download to our little lesser-known, every one of us tends to contribute somehow. Fandom icons may be a good thing to have, but the regulars–normal bronies–are who we all are at heart.