It’s interesting how a “fandom” is so much bigger than just being a fan. I like Adventure Time, Pokemon, Zelda, and Green Lantern, but I’m not “in those fandoms”.
Being a Brony is my first experience with “fandom”, and there’s some weird stuff associated with that. Drama, bad fanfics, headcanon, fansites, conventions and panels. That can be good and bad. People say this is part of every fandom, but I just have to take their word for it.
I’m a Brony because I like ponies: I like to discuss new episodes, learn about the creators, draw in my spare time, play pony games, etc. I keep up to date on pony news.
But I don’t think of the Bronies as my family. I don’t think more of someone if they’re a Brony, or less of them if not. If the fandom fades, so be it. My identity doesn’t ride on Bronydom.
THAT SAID, MLP needs the Bronies. If there were no internet groups that promote, extol, and discuss Adventure Time, I’d still watch it. Not so for MLP. I’d never have watched it except that there were already hordes of people who said that it was actually great, and that I wouldn’t be alone in liking it. While Bronies can be cool or VERY UNCOOL, I’ll always owe the fandom something for introducing me to the ponies and their magical friendship.