Boundaries are not evil (sounds like a good book title, John!)

I’ve written a few times about how I sometimes struggle for topics to write about here on the blog.  I would love to blame the band for moments of “non-activity”, but I just reminded myself that this blog is not supposed to BE about the band, so the band gets a pass for today.  Today was once again, one of those days.  In an earnest attempt to find something to spur my creativity, I checked out our email, and then our Blogger account. (Do you ever just think about looking into a very dark endless tunnel??  That’s our email box!)   Sometimes people will comment on something and it’ll get me thinking, and that’s what happened today.  There was a comment on a blog Amanda had written over the weekend (Searching for Reasons, found here), and a comment came in just last night.  Anonymous responded to something Amanda had said about boundaries and the way Simon tweets/blogs.  That person had actually referred to something I’ve said in the past about his style of tweeting and blogging. (mainly that it confuses the hell out of me, which is true.)  I responded and quickly shuffled out of our door to take the youngest to school.  On my way back home, I thought about what the person had written again and found myself composing a blog on the subject.  The challenge for me was to remember what I was thinking so that I could get home and get it written!

In my real, everyday life I’m a pretty private person.  I have a very short list of friends that I would share most things with, and to be really honest I am MUCH happier here by myself at home than I am out doing the whole “PTA” (Parent Teacher Association) fundraising or volunteering at the kids school thing.  It’s just not in my comfort zone, especially in this area where I live.  I volunteer plenty here at home by helping them do homework and being involved.  Generally speaking, I keep to myself, and while some might think I’m lonely, I am not.  Online however, I’m pretty open.  I am friendly with many different people, I’m active in many different areas (Duran and otherwise), and I’m content.  I do have my own set of boundaries though.  For example, I have tried to never use my children’s names here on the blog.  That doesn’t mean that many of you don’t know exactly who they are; it’s just that I have to be careful.  I would LOVE to share photos of my youngest because she’s super cute, show you how my son spends 90% of his time (on the computer…), or show videos of my oldest from her musicals because she is SO good. I’m extremely proud of all of them and want to share them with the world. (basically I want to brag!)  Unfortunately, that’s a part of my life that I need to keep private for their sake.  I do have them up on my Facebook page because I have lots of family on Facebook that demands that sort of thing.  (no really, they actually do demand it!)  If you’re a “Close Friend” of mine on Facebook, you can see them.  Most Duranies that I’ve never met in person are in a completely different category and list  because I don’t know them.  They can’t see everything, and that’s OK.   Those are some of my boundaries!   Another example is that I don’t talk too much about my relationship with my husband.  It’s complicated, and however “fun” that might be at times (That’s sarcasm of course), it’s a relationship that’s private.  It’s a part that I can’t share with the world if I wish to stay married.  That doesn’t mean I don’t fight the urge to tell you all about how much he drives me crazy sometimes, but it’s probably not fair to him to go telling the entire Duranieverse (yes it’s a word.  I invented it.) how he refuses to plan things in advance and waits until on the way home on Valentines Day (or my birthday, or Mothers Day and so on) to remember to buy a card, a gift, a dozen red roses….etc.

Oops.

My point is that we all have boundaries, whether it’s for safety, privacy or sanity, and for each of us, they differ.  Some are incredibly obvious.  Nick for instance, doesn’t use Twitter or Facebook.  While I’m sure it’s because he hates the idea, I think it’s also because it probably feels incredibly intrusive.  I can’t really argue with him there.  It takes getting used to, and you know, there are probably plenty of other ways he’d rather spend his time anyway.

Roger isn’t into Twitter but he uses Facebook on occasion.  Recently Roger posted a photo of himself in his hotel room when they were somewhere in Europe. (Well, I have to assume it was of him, he’d taken a photo in a mirror and the flash went off right in his face, and he called it a self-portrait.)  He posted a photo, and I was honestly surprised because he was in a bathrobe, and I was the first person who mentioned it!  I really didn’t mean for it to be a rude comment as much as I was surprised that the 40 or 50 other people before me didn’t say anything. (But I’ll bet they copied and pasted that thing so fast, and before anyone thinks otherwise, no I did not!)  Within moments after my posting the comment, the picture disappeared and in it’s place was much the same photo, this time with Roger clothed. (I am pretty sure I heard whining from all over the planet….)  I don’t know if Roger saw my post and thought twice about the picture, or if he took a good look at what he’d posted, thought about those infamous balcony photos that have circled the globe many times over by now, and retook the photo.  Regardless of the reasons those are boundaries.

John and Simon are Twitter people.  Simon uses it occasionally and posts things that sometimes I can decipher, and other times, well, I just shake my head and wonder.  The thing is, Simon tweets the way I would expect.  He also blogs as I’d expect, and when he’s in an interview and answers questions slyly, or not at all, it’s exactly how I’d expect from him.  Perhaps his reasoning behind answering things so coyly or by interacting with fans as he does, in half seriousness and half poetry, is one way to keep us all at arms length and guessing, but not coming off as though he’s completely uninterested.  John seems to have his own ideas of boundaries on Twitter.  To begin with, I think he is completely controlled how he interacts on Twitter.  He tends to use it in condensed “sessions”, and when he is ready to be finished, he’s finished.  Honestly, he’s very smart in that way.  I don’t find that he tends to only respond to certain people,  he seems to just respond to whatever tweets he sees first, and he doesn’t seem to mind answering any question he sees.  I have to give him props for that, because after about the third time I saw someone ask if he’d follow them or what type of wine he prefers, I was ready to take those Tweeters down myself.  He tends to keep himself to a firm time limit with it all though, and I have to applaud that.  I guess his “boundaries” have everything to do with how he regulates himself, not necessarily what information he sends forth.

When you really think about it, to imagine any one of them in their homes, going to their computers and “chatting” with us whether it’s by Facebook or Twitter, is relatively personal, and at times I wonder if it doesn’t feel almost too intimate of a connection for them to make with people they used to run from.  😀  Yes, there’s a big world and computer screen between us, but it’s not as though they’re in public on a concert stage.

Ultimately, I have to respect their boundaries because to be honest, I care.  I want them to feel comfortable in their space, and know that not every fan will knock them over in order to get close.  The trouble of course is that not everyone feels the same.  Many fans say, very openly I might add, that when you choose to be a celebrity, you choose a life in the public eye and that it’s their job.  While yes that is true, there is quite a bit that is being forgotten there.  To begin with, they are not “at work” 24/7, in the same way that you are not.  *I* on the other hand AM at work 24/7.  I’m a mom.  😀  (Wow I have an attitude and need a vacation!!!) Secondly, the only part of their lives that is “their job” is their music.  When they are on stage, doing photo shoots, publicity, etc; that is work.  The rest really should be their own, and so when they take time to chat, post an update, etc, I’m happy.  Respect is a two-way street, I suppose the bottom line is that if we wish to be respected, we probably need to afford them some of the same.  Boundaries are not evil.

-R

8 thoughts on “Boundaries are not evil (sounds like a good book title, John!)”

  1. It is really interesting to see how their boundaries differ. Even though Simon tweets more sporadically, he does actually “follow” some fans. I don't know if he has actually met these people in person and KNOWS them, or what his rationale is, but that seems like kind of a dangerous thing to do. (Dangerous only in the sense of creating excess drama among fans.) I think John is smarter in that sense, I don't think he follows anyone who is in the “fan” category. John's tweet sessions feel like a fun “press conference” in that he will answer just about anything but for a limited time and then he's out. And he TELLS us he's leaving, he just doesn't vanish with no goodbye. So he's polite, but ultimately it's on his terms. Though I think he's a bit too revealing about his location at times. But he's a grown man and he's not new at this, so if he's willing to take the chance, that's his business.

  2. ((APPLAUSE!!!!) Maybe if *some* fans didn't badger them to death via Twitter and/or Facebook they would participate a bit more. But I'm happy with the amount of social media they partake in, thankful even. Like you, I roll my eyes when I see some comments that are sent to them and it makes me realize that some fans never truly grew up. Maybe that is a bit harsh – maybe it is just some folks have different views of the boundaries or have none themselves, so they expect others boundaries or lack thereof to be like theirs.

    The more I read here at the Daily Duranie, the more kinship I feel towards you and your readers (at least the ones who post). My boundaries are pretty well defined and in the same manner there is a big difference between my online acquaintances and my “IRL” friends for various reasons.

    There is one thing I slightly disagree on. Music is definitely their business, but marketing themselves is an important part of the business. To compete and keep their music and videos in front of the masses, they almost have to embrace the world's best and cheapest marketing tool: Social Media. (Albeit not 24/7.) I think the line gets blurred a bit on Twitter because JT and SLB sometimes choose to respond to fans which creates a feeding frenzy. Whereas you don't see that on Facebook. (So my sister tells me – I don't participate though she screenshots Roger's posts to me… dang her for missing the bathrobe photo! Dang her even more for missing what I assume are nekkid pics… no, no… I don't need to see that!!! Will. Not. Google. Nekkid. Roger. Pictures.)

    Respect is kinda hard when you have Simon tweeting phrases like 'Up the arse” !!!! LOL As I type this he is on a roll. And being hammered by fans clamoring for a reply.

    In all seriousness, though, I hope we can all be happy and content with the small connection we have via social media. It's more than we ever had as teens with them and I for one just enjoy seeing their thoughts whether I ever get a response or not (or if I can decipher them – really, Simon? Up the arse?) ~Betsi

  3. Tee hee! Time to get all boundary-stompy! While I agree with what you've written, this blog made me giggle cos I didn't have to imagine anything today. This evening I saw Simon sitting at his computer, in his house, possibly tweeting. When I got off the bus & checked twitter, what had he written? A tweet about his bladder after sitting too long at his desk! ;-D

  4. !!! I inspired something! I can't believe it.(I'm the Anonymous who mentioned Simon's tweeting style.)

    Re: that tweet, you know what the sad thing is? I can totally relate, how many times have I suddenly realized “Oh I HAVE to GO” after sitting at the computer for hours? LOL

    ” I don't know if he has actually met these people in person and KNOWS them, or what his rationale is, but that seems like kind of a dangerous thing to do. (Dangerous only in the sense of creating excess drama among fans.) “

    See to me, that's the fans' faults. Honestly a lot of fans are entitled, spoiled brats(not all or even most but there is definitely vocal subset of ANY fandom that gets that way). Famous or not, a person should be entitled to follow anyone they want to.

    IMO I've always looked at being a fan like this. You should do fannish things because you want to–not because you expect anything other than more albums and concerts whenever they happen to come along(or in the case of actors and actresses–performances on stage and screen) in return. I belong to some younger fandoms(or at least more heavily mixed between younger and older age groups) and to be honest, I don't think the whole social networking thing has made those fans expect much more personalized contact. The fans who go around bombarding actors or whoever with tweets or thinking they will get to have some sort of “more personal relationship” because of twitter and facebook are more often than not eye-rolled in a “they are such an embarrassment to fandom” way and considered naive or childish. It's usually seen as, if some actor or musician you like twitters a lot and you have a good time reading them or perhaps participating in discussions or activities around them, that's awesome but it doesn't make them your personal friend or someone they would know from a hole in the head. If occasionally a fan gets a response, awesome, still doesn't make them that fan's friend. If someone does get to become a real life friend, well that's a one in a million shot.

    So I don't know, I sometimes wonder if “us old folks”(j/k) don't view it in a different way than perhaps younger adults do(adolescents are different, I mean I'm sure lots of us had unrealistic dreams of what would happen if we ever met Duran Duran when we were kids. It's only natural that the same would happen now with twitter/social networking for the same age group) and misunderstand what most of them do expect. Maybe we are the ones who end up with more unrealistic expectations of what we should be expecting from social networking with celebrities whereas they are more blase about it.

  5. I can only imagine what I would have been like had social media been around in the 80's … I'm quite sure I would have been just as bad. I can understand the kids euphoria (even if it does seem odd that young teens are gaga over 50+ year old men – now that's staying power!), it's the adults who are acting like kids that boggle my mind. But hey, if it makes them happy and doesn't hurt anyone, who am I to judge?

    Anyone else happy to see SLB and AT communicate with a little love??? 🙂 ~Betsi

  6. Hi Betsi! I'm not sure where we differ in the area you mentioned. Perhaps I wasn't clear in my writing. I *do* believe that they had to embrace social networking in media…in fact, I was one of the few shouting at them (well, I was shouting at my computer screen) back in 2004, 2005, 2006 and so on when they weren't involved at all. They had someone else running their Myspace AND Facebook page (there were no band member pages) for a while, and back when Twitter first began – the band was using it SO incorrectly, we'd laugh at their attempts. I wish I had some of those very old tweets. 😀 Anyway, I probably wasn't completely clear about this on the blog, but you'll see in our book just how clear I am. They were losing fans at a pretty rapid rate, and I have to kind of think that having John and Simon join Twitter has helped save them a bit. The album (AYNIN) is great, but it takes far more than that to make an impression these days.

  7. I would agree that if you're involved in fandom, you should do it for your own enjoyment and not for the idea that you're somehow going to get a “pay back” for it. That said – the day of putting an album out and not doing anything to promote it (assuming The Label) will do it for you is over. Social networking helps. Sometimes it helps a lot. I think with younger people, they haven't had quite the same experience we've had – they didn't grow up at a time where there was simply NO contact outside of going to a show and standing (sitting) in the audience, or hearing a song on the radio. To them, getting a tweet from whomever they're following is pretty second nature. Even my 15 year old agrees with that. (she never agrees with me, so this is huge praise today) That said, she recognizes where I'm coming from – she can't imagine not being able to chat back and forth with a few of her favorites, or at the very least – hear what they're up to on any given day. It's just different for us. I would imagine that if this had been around when we were kids (and it's probably a very good thing for all involved that it was not – I can't even imagine how I'd have gone to school and paid attention each day!!), we'd be kind of “over the excitement” of it all by now.

    Then again, I would have thought many of us would be “over the excitement” of seeing them in person – and as it turns out, they still need security from a lot of fans. Wow.

    I also think that 90% of the drama that goes on in the community is the fault of the fans. I don't really care if anyone in the band follows me or not – that isn't the point of my being on Twitter. However, for quite a few people, they really do care. They really want and need that interaction as though it's a form of validation for being a fan, and I will continue to say that cannot possibly be healthy. For anyone.

    -R

  8. Just saw this… I should subscribe by email so I'll not forget to check. I think this baby is sucking brain-cells. I probably just read something more into the statement about social media not being their job… It's all good. I do know you know they've got to market themselves.

    As for fans dropping off when they weren't involved, maybe it was the bad music. 😉 😀

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