Twitter and facebook have been incredibly crazy places to be lately! As Rhonda mentioned in a post a few days ago, these sites, particularly twitter, have begun to feel like the old days of message boards where there are a ton of people on, day and night, and that it is VERY challenging to keep up. In fact, the only way to really do that is to stay signed in at all times. Why is this? Well, first, everyone has discovered that everyone else is there. It is the place to be. Like the message boards, it is the place to exchange ideas about the band and meet people. Second, and more interestingly, it is the place where the band members have been interacting with us fans. It seems that John has been holding a daily chat session with fans where they ask questions and he answers as many as he can. During those sessions, the fans are not only trying to get their questions answered but also chatting with others about what he said or about the questions asked. After he leaves, there continues to be some flurry of activity as people react to what they saw/read, publicly, and some behind-the-scenes commenting as well. A couple of days ago, Rhonda tweeted something about how this was just like being at a bar or club after a show. Now, I’m not sure how many of our readers have experienced being at a bar or club after a show with a bunch of Duranies and a band member or two but it is quite something and, in many ways, the social interactions are playing out in the same way here in cyberspace as they do in real life.
On the surface level, fans have expressed their joy and excitement over being able to chat with John or Simon. They get to share this excitement with others who feel the same way. For some people, this thrill is shared among friends and for others, it is a way of getting to know and becoming friends with other fans. On this level, everything seems very positive. No one is being negative about the questions asked (at least not among our followers and the people who follow us) and everyone seems genuinely happy for the people who get their questions answered. Yet, I worry that this positivity won’t stay or that there is more going on underneath the surface. For example, are Duranies talking about other Duranies behind the backs, based on their reactions, their questions, or their level of excitement? I suspect that there are. Are people paying attention to whose questions are getting answered and whose aren’t? I bet they are and I bet that some people might be feeling REALLY good about themselves if John has answered multiple questions from them. They might even be feeling a bit superior because of it. (Note: I don’t know this, for sure, but I just saying that it might be a possibility.) Then, there is the actual interaction between the fans and the band members.
In real life, I find being in the same location as the band and the fans to be fascinating. At times, I have felt like everyone has been really respectful of each other and the band members. At other times, I have felt this sort of dog-eat-dog mentality where some fans just push other fans out of the way in order to get more time with the guys. I have seen people give Nick or Roger or whomever their space and I have seen other times when they did not appear to have much, if any. Do I know if this bothers them? Nope. I don’t. I am just saying that I have observed a spectrum of behavior. I am wondering if I am not seeing similar types of behavior taking place online. Are some fans trying to get as much time as possible with the guys? Sure. Am I blaming them? Not really. I understand that desire because I have it, too. Do I think they are trying to push other fans out of their way? I don’t really know. It is possible, I guess. Even if they are, is it malicious? Maybe, for some, but, I doubt it. Nonetheless, I am concerned.
I, like every Duran fan who has been witnessing or participating in these little chats via twitter, want them to continue. I LOVE being able to ask John or Simon questions and have them respond. I LOVE that they seem to care about what we think and want to interact with us. That said, I want to keep it positive, for all of us fans and for the band. I don’t want this to turn into a means of gaining status within the community. I also want us fans to always be respectful and considerate of each other and of them. We need to remember to share and to give space. Then, I think it can remain as fun and as exciting as it has been so far! If not, I fear that they won’t last. Some fans will stop logging in and participating and maybe the band will stop as well. If so, that would hurt all of us.