Monday, March 14, 2022

The Levels of Sherlockian Classification

 Spend enough time in the Sherlockian fandom, and you start to notice classify the human strata of our community . . . and those who move between.

There was a little talk of that this weekend at Dayton, which put the thought in my head. I used to think there were just two levels of Sherlockiana -- local and national. Being a simple, small town lad from the midwest, I didn't really think internationally, much less globally, and those folks who wandered back and forth across the Canadian border didn't seem quite as "international" as those who crossed the ocean. Heck, my grandpa went fishing in Canada every summer.

Considering it now, I'd define our layers as

1. Local -- Sherlockians who socialize with others in the city or general area that they live in.

2. Regional -- Sherlockians who will travel less than a day's drive to an event, and will actually go to other city's scion meetings on occasion.

3. National -- Sherlockians who will attend events anywhere that doesn't require a passport, from New York to Seattle, from Santa Fe to Tampa Bay.

4. International -- Sherlockians who cross oceans to visit London, New York City, or points beyond.

 But the thing is, now that Zoom has us connecting digitally, we still see some influence of the old layers in who attends a given online gathering, especially in the cases of scion societies that moved online by necessity. And regional familiarity does affect who shows up at some meetings. But we're seeing societies like the Crew of the Barque Lone Star evolving into a more geographically diverse group, and groups like the John H. Watson Society and Five Miles From Anywhere that never had a geographic center to begin with. The fact that those groups meet at middle-American mid-day so California and Europe can both attend make them almost more time-zone based. None of us have figured out a way to Zoom with Australia or Japan yet. (Okay, Legion of Zoom -- put that on your goals list!)

So does the internet give us another region to consider? There are definitely Sherlockians, like those folks in the Legion of Zoom, that we now see all over the on-screen meetings, and a whole lot that we almost never do. And would the digital realms break down into something like:

1. Local Zoom -- Sherlockians who just stick with the Zoom of their local club.

2. Regional Zoom -- Sherlockians who stay with time zones close to their own.

3. Waking Hours Zoom -- Sherlockians who will attend any zoom during their normal awake hours.

4. Global Zoom -- Sherlockians who will forego sleep to cross distant international boundaries on Zoom.

In any breakdown, those folks you see at level four can always be found at levels one, two, and three as well. And threes at two and one, etc. But no matter what the level, it is always grand to see a familiar face again, both in a place you did not expect, and in places you did.

It's not a competition, after all. It's a community. And, happily, not a simple one, at that.

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