Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest; this is what differentiates them from those with only a casual interest.
When referring to an organized sub-culture, the term "fandom" is most often associated with science fiction fandom, the community of fans of the science fiction and fantasy genres, an international fan sub-culture which dates back to the 1930s and has held the annual World Science Fiction Convention since 1939 along with many other events each year. Science fiction fandom maintains organized clubs and associations in many cities around the world, and has created its own jargon, sometimes called "fanspeak.
Members of a fandom associate with one another, often attending fan conventions (such as science fiction conventions), and publishing and exchanging fanzines. Originally using print-based media, these sub-cultures have migrated much of their communications and interaction onto the internet, which they also use for the purpose of archiving detailed information pertinent to their given fanbase. Some fans also write fan fiction, stories based around the universe and characters of their chosen fandom. Some also dress in costumes ("cosplay") or recite lines of dialogue either out-of-context or as part of a group reenactment. Such activities are sometimes known as "fanac," an abbreviated form of the phrase "fan activity." The advent of the internet has significantly facilitated fan association and activities. The term is sometimes associated with anime/manga; serious fans of this subject are also called otaku.
The entertainment industry refers to the totality of fans devoted to a particular area of interest, whether organized or not, as the "fanbase".
Fans, have, on occasion, organized on behalf of cancelled television series, with notable success in cases such as Star Trek, Cagney & Lacey in 1983, Jericho (TV series) in 2007, and Roswell (TV series) in 2000 and 2001 (it was cancelled with finality at the end of the 2002 season). Such outcry, even when unsuccessful, suggest a growing self-consciousness on the part of entertainment consumers, who appear increasingly likely to attempt to assert their power as a bloc. Fan activism in support of the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike through Fans4Writers appears to be an extension of this trend.
Fandom is sometimes caricatured as religious faith, as the interest of fans sometimes grows to dominate their lifestyle. However, society at large does not treat fandom with the same weight as organized religion, and fans themselves often become divided by the strength of their own belief.
Feature-length documentaries about fandom (some more respectful of the subjects than others) include Trekkies (film), Finding the Future: A Science Fiction Conversation, and Done the Impossible. "Fandom" is also the name of a documentary / mockumentary about a fan obsessed with Natalie Portman.