The discussions surrounding topics directly related to what the band produces tend to get some discussion but not as much as one would think. For example, here on the blog, our reviews of different songs or videos gets some views and some comments but they are not the most popular, not even when we were discussing the latest album. On message boards, the discussions related to direct production of the band seem to involve more men than other topics and seem to include more people with a musical background or more musical knowledge. I can understand why people with more musical knowledge would contribute more to discussions than those people without that same background. Obviously, people will contribute more to discussions when they feel comfortable and confident with the topic. Why does there seem to be more men who discuss Duran’s music? Plus, these types of discussions seem to occur more often on message boards rather than on twitter. Is this just the nature of the format? Do these discussions happen less on twitter due to the 140 character limit? Or does it have more to do with the fans who frequent message boards over twitter and vice versa?
As far as discussions connected to the band, from my observations, the amount of discussion and the people participating really does seem to vary based on topic. Topics like recognition and commercial success tend to be ones that people who discuss the music a lot are interested in. Yet, discussions relating to the fan club and presales tend to include more women and more people on twitter and facebook. When I go to message boards outside of the DDM one, it seems like presales aren’t happening at all or that people aren’t even going to shows. It seems like there are completely different worlds between the message boards and the social networking sites. Why? I do understand that many people were on message boards and have left. When asked, most will say that they didn’t like the drama. What was that drama like? What was it focused on? Was it focused on disagreements about the music or disagreements about commercial success? Was it simply that the two groups of people focused on different discussions and got sick of seeing the other group focus on the topics that they were uninterested in. Let me give you an example. It seems to me that there are posters (people who post) on message boards who constantly ask about album sales. That is very important to them. If you don’t care about that, I suppose it could be annoying. Of course, the person focused on commercial success might get sick of threads about the fan club.
Beyond the topics directly related the band and the ones indirectly to the band are the topics about us, about the fandom itself. In this blog, we have brought up subjects that we assume would get a lot of people talking and they don’t or the responses are ones that appear to agree with us. Why? Again, I provide an example. The other day, Rhonda posted a blog in reference to a blog from Nick Rhodes’s ex-wife. In Julie Anne’s blog, she talked about how fans demanded constant attention from Nick that directly impacted time that they had as a family and pondered why people needed so many autographs and photos with/from the band. The responses that we got on our blog all agreed with Rhonda’s points as well as Julie Anne’s. Yet, I know that there are fans who think that it would be okay to approach a band member out in public when he isn’t working. I also know that there are fans who have a ton of pictures and autographs. Why didn’t those people defend their views and/or actions in our blog? Why don’t they explain why they think that the band should be approachable at all times or why they do need so many pictures or autographs? I’m asking without judgement, by the way. I’m truly curious.
Then, of course, there are all of the discussions surrounding how we, fans, treat other fans. The reaction, usually, to any discussion about fan drama or social status is to declare that people are immature, or jealous. Then, they suggest that the fans grow up. The questions that tend to pop up are, “Why does this exist in this fandom? Does it happen in all fandoms?” Everyone is quick to blame and no one seems willing to take ownership of his/her behavior. Why is that? It seems to me that the “drama” that seems to happen in fandom takes at least 2 people. I will openly admit that I have had people in the fandom who I, at one point, called a “friend” and no longer do. I’m not innocent here either. In the situations I have been involved in, for me, most of them were directly related to some of the topics I mentioned here in this blog. The truth is that we all have a philosophy of sorts when it comes to fandom whether we know it or not. We all have opinions about meeting the band. We all have opinions about how many shows people should or should not go to. We all have opinions about what people should know the band and we have thoughts about what people should own or not own. Yet, instead of having very difficult discussion about what we think a fan should be like, we keep it to ourselves and then judge other fans when they don’t do what you would do. So, why don’t we have that discussion? Why is so hard to talk about this? I’m sure that we don’t because we are worried about being judged. Maybe, for some, there is concern that they can’t really defend their positions or philosophy. I fear, though, that until these topics become less taboo, drama and hurt feelings will continue and our fan community will not be as united as it could be.