Category Archives: social networking

Just Get a Picture: Simon’s Twitter Win

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sporadically during this last tour, Simon has taken to posting his view from his hotel room.  Sometimes, that view is of palm trees and a sunny sky, or a pretty flower garden. Other times, it is looking down over the top of a hotel roof, complete with industrial-sized AC units, or into a brick wall across the way, or even a tiled shower. Today, he posted one from his cabin, which is on a boat somewhere in the ocean.  I believe I read last week that he was in Cannes for the Panerai Régates Royales.  (He posted pictures from his room there, too)

Here’s the thing: I love the pictures. Simon doesn’t have to do much – just post the pics, and let his followers respond.  And I do.  And so do many others.  I have no idea if Simon reads them (I doubt it).  The point is, just by posting those snapshots of where ever he is and whatever he’s seeing at the time, he’s engaging and sharing with  his followers just like any of us might.  And THAT my friends, is the point of Twitter.

Granted, I too remember the glory days of John’s Tweetfests. I remember doubling over, cackling with laughter at some of the replies I’d see flash through my timeline when he’d be online and active. Those were good times. Sure, he was engaging and let’s face it—he had fans salivating over every last tweet.  But I think there’s a potentially hefty price that needs paid when you give so much of yourself online. I know how I feel when I’ve dug deep and shared things here. It leaves one feeling vulnerable, and that isn’t always comfortable. I think Twitter, and social media in general, is one of those things where you have to find your groove and what works for you.

What I like about Simon’s posts is that well, he actually tweets, first of all.  No, he doesn’t post all the time. He doesn’t really have to, either. It’s just nice seeing something from him every once in a while. For me personally, the toughest part about the in-between tour time is when the band just disappears. It’s silly really, but here we are, writing this blog, being fans, obsessing over every last news item, etc.  We go all out while they’re touring, and then suddenly, BAM—it is over and we’re back to real life. And there’s nothing. Talk about withdrawals! Yeah, I’m an addict. I think that’s probably pretty apparent to most everyone by now, including myself. Hello Daily Duranie!! So to actually see tweets every now and then from Simon, regardless of whether they’re about Duran Duran or not??  I’ll take ’em.

Secondly, they’re casual and light. It’s difficult (but not impossible) to be deep on Twitter. I have had conversations on there, but a lot of the nuance gets lost in 140 characters. Photos leave a lot open to interpretation, and there’s room for both depth and cheek, if you want it.  Again, I don’t know if he’s reading, but he’s definitely engaging.  I like seeing that he’s found something that seems to work.

I have friends who really don’t like Twitter. They don’t get the point. I remember when we were all sort of stuck on “Wait, you mean I just type whatever I’m doing at the moment?  Who cares?!?” It’s so far beyond that now.  I like that I can just put something out there, into the universe so to speak, and see if it catches on and causes conversation. I also use it as a sort of train of thought thing. Sometimes, I’m ranting about home. Sometimes, I’m laughing at something stupid I’ve done (that happens a lot). Other times, I’m posting about my dog. I like that it doesn’t take much time and I still get something out of it.

Twitter has its place in the sphere of social media. Facebook is personal. Twitter can be light and easy. Instagram is for the more visual amongst us. I don’t do Snapchat but I’ve been told by my kids to stay the heck off of it (I kind of take this as the “get off my lawn” statement for the young).  If I had to pinpoint the one thing I like most about Simon’s pictures is that it’s Simon being Simon. Sure, he’s Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran—I don’t think there’s any getting past that at this point for him, but I’d also like to think he’s being himself, or as much as he’s willing to share with the world.  I like it.

-R

Is This How We Stay Connected? The Joy of Social Media

I am thinking about quitting social media.

I remember back in the day, not so long ago when I would venture online and gleefully connect with others. I found friends I lost track of, discovered brand new friends, and even found a line of nearly direct communication with a band I’ve loved since childhood. What wasn’t to like?

It gave me great joy to chat with so many people. I still love hearing from friends I’ve known since childhood. I got back in touch with people from my old high school marching band, and there are even pictures of me from grade school floating around somewhere.  I found some of my sorority sisters, and had the chance to make things right with one of them before she died tragically in a car accident a few years back.  Social media made that happen and it still gives me a sense of peace, happiness and light knowing that Laurie knew how much I loved her before she died.

I found message boards, then MySpace and eventually Facebook and Twitter. Fans flooded the various platforms, and I rode the tide as long as possible.  I saw the band, or at least members thereof, embrace social media, and then make a hasty retreat back to the sanctity of private life.  I’ve watched fans clamor for attention, beg for retweets, offer love, respect, and admiration, often (but not always) tinged with a little lust in return.

While the band recorded new albums, I read any article I could grab, and inhaled the gossip. I poured over every last possible Katy Kafe,  gleaning whatever I could. I read interview after interview, retaining as much as possible. I debated other fans, and was taken to task more than once over things I’d written and/or posted.

I remember what it was like to be a Duranie in the mid-80s. I didn’t really worry about what was coming next. I enjoyed each album, played it until the grooves wore out (after all, we’re talking days of vinyl!).  I watched videos until my VCR would eat the tape!  Then, out of nowhere—a new song would suddenly pour out of the speakers of my radio. My heart would flood with pure joy. I didn’t think about what producer the band used, or worried about who was playing guitar. I didn’t think about meeting the band because they were untouchable. There was no such thing as Twitter, so being retweeted was impossible! I didn’t need to compete for attention from a band that was unreachable. The bliss of being a fan in the 80s.

These days, the band really isn’t online much if at all. I avoid saying a lot of what I think or feel. I don’t tell jokes about the band, because to say a single disparaging word, even in jest, is asking for trouble. My friends from high school have grown tired of the political nonsense on Facebook, as have I. My sorority sisters have moved on. Our lives are very different from they were in college thirty years ago. It was great finding them again, but we’ve run out of things to talk about. I don’t check every Duran Duran set list posted. I want something left to chance, to surprise.

Can I still balance joy to annoyance when it comes to social media?  Is it worth my time to try? Why doesn’t the band bother?? That said, privacy is golden. Where is the line of trust? Does one exist? Do I really need to know that so-and-so fervently believes the band doesn’t need a guitar player because the one they have for touring is terrible, or that Jane Doe knows that “it’s serious” that Nick isn’t on tour?  For every single thing posted, there are 50,000 opinions, and I’m talking purely about Duran Duran. Was I better off in the bliss of not knowing a single thing about the band until they did an interview?

I suppose, as I mull the possibilities, the real question is joy.  Where do I find joy? How do I keep it…and how do I ignore the rest of it?  There’s a lot of BS out there.  The “truth” is often a tangled mess. With all of the information overload available, I enjoy the moments where I’m present. While away from home, I stopped paying attention to the never-changing set list posts from the shows. Reviews were put aside until I got home. I just enjoyed being at the shows. I forced myself to stop comparing each one (not an easy task and I definitely found myself failing from time to time!), and just spent my time ENJOYING them.  Living in the moment, particularly in the shadow of social media, isn’t easy.

For obvious reasons, I can’t just quit social media. For one, this blog depends upon that interaction. Instead, I find myself working to keep social media in its place. Nothing matters more than face-to-face interaction. On the same token, many of my friends do not live next door to me. In fact, none of them live anywhere near me. I get great joy from engaging with those people.

Instead of gulping down every single last tweet or Facebook post, I am learning to be far more discerning with my time. I don’t respond unless I have the interest to do so, and I’m finding many times—I just don’t. There’s no need to argue about guitarists, or bother explaining why I feel one way or another about a particular song. I am not sure that I really need to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, because I’m really just trying to enjoy today. I’m going to do more of that, too.

-R

 

 

Influencer Fans Matter

If there was ever a doubt as to how much bands need well-known faces to tout their music to their friends…all of that was put to rest today as I read this article from the International Business Times.

The good news? Social media matters. The bad news? The article focused on younger, fresher-faces than say….the ones found on here on Daily Duranie. Not that we’re old (gasp)…but when one of us has a daughter who is the same age as many of the “influencers” cited in the article…. what more can really be said in our (ok…my) defense?

The article explains that labels will go to extreme lengths to make sure that young influencers, such as those of well-known YouTube, Vine and Instagram “stars”, talk about the bands and artists labels wish to heavily promote, many times paying those people, or, at the very least, treating them to VIP-like experiences at concerts and festivals. To labels, it is a (legally…if only just barely) form of advertising, and interestingly enough, in a survey taken in 2015, 61% of marketers said that they would be either including or increasing their budgets for these influencer campaigns.

What does that mean for Duran Duran? Well, I’ll ignore the obvious – like a website featuring DAILY advertising for five and a half years now from a website and blog (along with several other forms of social media) that happens to be near and dear to my heart <wink, wink>.

Huh. Obviously, I have been looking at this all wrong….

Fans matter. It is something I’ve always said, and will continue to say. If the band wants other people to be influenced enough to buy their music – which does seem to be the issue at hand – they need to find people (or see and publicly acknowledge) the people standing right in front of them who influence their community to buy those CDs and purchase those concert tickets.

This is also the sticking point, because I think upon reading that last paragraph, the assumption must be that Duran Duran needs to find a couple of young fans to appeal to others. Wouldn’t that be lovely if it actually worked?

As with anything, this can’t just go one way. Duran Duran shouldn’t focus solely on young people. Some might even argue with me, and say they should focus on what they know – their fans that have been with them for decades – and I wouldn’t necessarily argue. However, I also know that youth is the lifeblood of the music industry. There’s really no getting around that fact. There’s also no getting around the reality of a band that is in their 50’s trying to appeal to a crowd that wasn’t even born when they had their first tastes of success (and in some cases, their second in the 90s). Work one end of that spectrum of age, and the band would most certainly lose the other, no matter the direction we’re talking.

Instead, we are looking at Duran Duran taking new directions: a ballet, a musical. Maybe another album. Maybe not. The one thing I do know for certain: Daily Duranie will continue as long as there is a band and projects to support. Some might say we’re the “older and much wiser” equivalent of what is described in that article, and I’m sure others of you would wholeheartedly disagree, saying that “anyone could do it”.  True. I wouldn’t argue otherwise, and I think that’s the point.

-R

Social media: Facets on Diamonds in the Mind

First of all, have you done your Duranie homework yet?  I know, I know – the “homework” portion of Daily Duranie is typically handled by my more-than-capable cohort, but since I just over at our message boards, I decided to mention it. In order to participate, one must register for the boards – no “anonymous” participants (sorry!), but you can pick whatever screen name you’d like and join in the fun.

Speaking of our message boards, I’m really pleased with the small group that is beginning to call the board “home”. If you’ve been shy about joining, or are nervous to join due to preconceptions of what message boards have been like in the past, I encourage you to come and take a gander. The board is small, and it’s been very friendly thus far, which is something that will continue. We aren’t there to debate the blog, or really have hard conversations about much of anything – it’s really a safe place to find community. I really hope to see more of readers participate. The more active the board, the more time people will spend there.

Interestingly enough, Daily Duranie has a number of different social media you can find us on these days. Not only do we have the blog, but we have a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a presence on both Google + and Tumblr, a YouTube channel, and the message board. I’ve done some reading recently about social media and audiences – and I’m fascinated by the idea that some rather prominent figures out there believe that the same basic type of audience can be found across all avenues of social media. Amanda and I have had lengthy conversations about this ourselves, and we’ve found something quite different in our case.

Oddly, we can post a blog here and, depending upon the topic, we can get a variety of responses and they are definitely not all the same. For example (hypothetically speaking), where the response might be all positive on Facebook, Twitter could be otherwise.  Comments here on the blog itself are usually far, far different from the comments we get in other places – not better or worse, just completely different. The demographics we reach for each type of media are very different as well. Tumblr seems to be a bit younger. Google + is hard to tell, no one really sticks around there for long, although we do get comments from time to time. Twitter and Facebook seem diametrically opposed to one another most of the time – and what I mean by that is however people are commenting or feeling on one, it is the opposite on the other. That includes if we’re getting a ton of comments in one place, we’re not getting any in the other. We post some video blogs from time to time on YouTube, and our responses there seem to be from mostly males (although rest assured there are females too), and quite frankly they seem to be pretty tech-savvy to the music industry, which is great! And, our message board? It’s the warm-fuzzy place. There’s not a lot of talk about the blog, per se (which I for one appreciate!), and it’s the place where Duranies can come, fangirl or fanboy themselves out, and not be judged. I applaud that.

Sweeping generalizations aside, my point is that the audiences across the social media spectrum are not the same. Whats more, I’m learning no matter how many places we post, engage or reach, we’re still finding fans that are more than thankful to find the blog, find other fans, or find a place to chat about the band….and there isn’t a ton of overlap, meaning that our audience on Twitter is fairly unique. If you’re checking us out on Facebook, maybe you’re not that active on Twitter. Or, if you’re into YouTube, you might not love Tumblr, and so on. For someone like me, who stumbled into this whole social media thing and learns as I go, each day brings on a new learning curve, and I love it.

It’s fairly easy to form an incredibly myopic view in fandom if you’re sticking to one source of social media. Fandom has a sort of “mob-mentality” that goes along for the ride when someone decides to stick their neck out on one issue or another. It is easy to assume you’ve seen or know everything that has gone on, or that you know the entire story based on what you’ve seen on Twitter. Think again. Just because you’ve seen the tweets of two accounts means precious little, because maybe that conversation or topic has been discussed in a variety of different places with a vast array of responses and opinions. In our case alone, we write the blog here, but it also gets posted in about four different places online before the search engines even begin to have their way with it. We get responses to blogs EVERYWHERE…from our private email to YouTube and everything in-between. It’s pretty inciting to jump on the bandwagon when you see that “everyone” on one particular social media is responding in a similar way.

However, that’s really only one facet of the diamond, isn’t it?

-R

Looking for the Real World

My high school students are addicted to their cell phones.  Our school policy to have them “off and away.”  For many students, this policy is equal to having their arms cut off or their tongues removed.  It is torture.  Why are they so addicted?  Simple.  Social media.  They are constantly on Facebook or Snapchat, following their friends’ every move.  Of course, I recognize that I, too, am pretty addicted to my phone and to social media.  I think it is a pretty common problem to have in our modern times.  After all, social media provides many of us with a means to communicate with friends and to connect with others.  It can also be a news source and a means to engage in fan activities. Social media provides an easy way to discuss one’s interests and discover new ones.  It is certainly a big way that bands get information out to fans and to try and recruit new ones.  This certainly is different than how the music industry and its fans operated when I was a kid and I wonder if it is an improvement.

When I was a kid (and I absolutely HATE phrasing any sentence that way!), I discovered new music through one of three ways.  I heard the song/artist on the radio, I saw the video on MTV or Friday Night Videos or I heard a song/artist/album through friends.  It seemed relatively simple then.  For me, I listened to a lot of Chicago Top 40 radio.  In 1984, for example, B96 was constantly on, as was MTV when I was the one to choose what was being watched in our TV room.  These sources, of course, introduced me to Duran Duran and I have never looked back since!  That said, during those years, I couldn’t JUST listen or watch Duran Duran.  I had to put up with a lot of music on the radio that wasn’t from my favorite band.  Many videos aired before the 24 hour video channel would air the latest Duran video again.  I had no choice but to be exposed to lots of other artists.  For me, then, in a way, it was good that I had to wait for songs/videos I wanted to hear/see.  I definitely found some songs and artists that way that I wouldn’t have with today’s structure.  No, in the day and age we live in now, I can go to YouTube or Spotify or Pandora or whatever to see and/or hear a song from someone instantly.  I’m the DJ and the VJ now.  I decide what gets played, when.  Heck, TV is such that I don’t have to wait out performances or interviews to get to ones I’m interested in as I can always record shows and watch them at my leisure later.  It seems like a great situation for consumers, right?  It is, for many reasons.  I don’t have to put up with anything I don’t like.  On the same token, I might be missing out on great songs and bands this way.  Then, I also wonder what it is like on the other side of the coin.  How is it for the bands and artists?
I suspect it is similar to consumers in that there are both positives and negatives.  On one hand, bands/artists don’t need to rely on radio or TV to get their music out there.  This has to be a positive for up and coming artists.  Plus, all bands/artists can connect with their fans, which really does help keep fans interested.  That said, there are SO many social networking sites to monitor, to post on, to respond on that I have to wonder if there are just too many choices for fans and artists.  Look at every email Duran Duran sends out in terms of their social networking information.  It always says this:
 Don’t forget to Bookmark:

Duranduran.com
The Duran Duran VIP Fan Community
Duran Duran on Facebook
Duran Duran on Twitter 
Duran Duran on Instagram
Duran Duran on Google Plus 
Duran Duran on YouTube
Duran Duran on SoundCloud

This is a LOT of places.  Someone has to update those.  Someone could take a lot of time to respond to fans on all those.  After all, we all know that each social networking site is different and has different types of audiences.  Look, for example, at the reaction to Duran Duran’s participation at the Al Gore Climate Change event.  The reaction was relative quiet on Twitter but Facebook had LOTS of passionate responses.  How do bands/artists really know what the fan base really thinks?  How do bands/artists really connect to fans on ALL of those sites?  It could be a full time job.  Social networking takes a lot time.  I know that Rhonda and I spend a lot of time on social networking.   After all, we post our blogs here on our website and link to it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, our message board, and more.  Some days, we spend a lot of time reading and responding to comments we get on all of those places and that is just what we get publicly!  Of course, all of the feedback that bands/artists get on social networking isn’t always positive.  Some of it can be pretty negative.  Again, when I think of my childhood, the criticism that bands like Duran got seemed to be centered around the press.  That wasn’t fun, I bet, but might be easier than dealing with criticism from the press AND the general public.  All this got me thinking about how overwhelming social networking is and can be makes me appreciate any and all times that DDHQ (the social networking people working for the band) does respond to people or does like some statement or retweet something.
Social networking, I guess, like everything else has its positives and negatives for bands/artists and fans.  It isn’t going to be going anywhere soon.  It is here to stay.  In fact, I suspect that there will be more and more social networking sites in the future.  While bands/artists might be able to their music out to more people, at times, it seems overwhelming.  At those times, I long for the easier day and age when I just had to watch MTV and listen to Top 40 radio.
-A

Duran Duran Answer Time

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a tweet from DDHQ about John and Roger answering questions on Tumblr this morning (or afternoon if you’re on the east coast!), dubbed Duran Duran answer time. I quickly shot a note over to Amanda saying that we should prepare some questions, which led to a fairly productive brainstorm session.

We weren’t sure how the questions would be selected or answered, but we just figured that we’d send in a bunch and hope for the best. DDHQ wasn’t very clear about WHEN to send in questions, (a tip from me: if they ever do this again – just understand that the band probably isn’t going to go back very far and find questions that were sent in say, 24 hours earlier. It’s like tweets…who really goes back that far and reads the thousands they get each day?) so we sent some in last night, and then again this morning, hoping something would get their attention.

What Amanda and I both liked about the format was that it was controlled. I didn’t have to see the thousands of other questions that came in, and while it appeared that John and Roger just took questions they saw and answered them with no real regard to the subject matter (there was more than one request for them to say hi to moms, for instance), it still probably gave John and Roger a little control and comfort as opposed to the tweetfests where John likely felt bombarded at times. Tumblr didn’t work fantastic for me this morning because I was on Skype at the same time and my aging computer hates doing video calls and pretty much anything else at the same time, but it still worked.  And let’s face it: it was something.

I refuse to believe that I’m the only fan in the world that misses seeing the band on social media, even IF I understand the reasoning behind the lack of activity. DDHQ handles social media for the band, and they do a great job keeping us informed these days….but the personal accounts for the band members are still theirs to control, and it seems to me that pretty much all of them have sort of backed off from using it.  This wouldn’t be so bad if we had never experienced that sense of connection, but naturally since we have, I think many miss it.  I know I do.

So, the idea of having band members answer questions on Tumblr isn’t a bad deal at all. It was still very exciting to see them answer people, even if plenty of the questions were downright silly.  I saw two people ask if they were hungry like the wolf, for instance. (Yes, I groaned. John and Roger dutifully answered, but I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall….)  I think that no matter the forum, you run the risk of silly questions, and even though I didn’t enjoy those questions – I’m sure the people who asked them loved seeing them answer.

But then, there was our moment of excitement when John (EXACTLY the person we were hoping!!!) answered a question that Amanda and I had submitted under our Tumblr name “dailyduranie” (unique, no?) Oh yes, I have the screen shot to share:
Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.30.00 AM

Sometimes, Amanda and I feel like we’re on another planet.  She and I will feel one way about something or other, post our feelings and have the fan community come down on us hard. Both she and I have posted a little frustration about some of the media coverage they’ve received, including the article in Billboard.  You see, we want the best for this band. We love them, and we want them treated with the respect they deserve. If that’s wrong… well, I’m not all that interested in being right, I guess. I’ll leave that to other people.  So, Amanda and I decided to take a chance and send in a question about it. I figured that the worst case was that it would be ignored or that maybe John would have words of wisdom from being in this business for so long. We very much value his opinion and experience.

Lo and behold, he not only answered us, but we also got a little validation as well. It’s not just us that feels the way we do sometimes, and I appreciate that. I have no doubt that John’s used to it by now and like he says so aptly – yawn.  It isn’t worth the time to try and force people to learn how to write about in the present, it just boggles my mind a little that people still care about the drug use, the fact that the band is aging (seriously?!?), Andy Warhol’s preoccupation with Nick and whatever else.  The difference of course is that John has learned not to bother….whereas Amanda and I have a blog.

The Duran Duran answer time session ended after about an hour. While I am sure they could have answered questions for many, many, hours…it was nice of them to give an hour of their time. It wasn’t quite a tweetfest, but I still love the idea of connecting with them directly, and I like the controlled setting.  I hope they offer to do another!

-R

 

Mine, Immaculate Dream

I remember when Duran Duran first joined Twitter. There was a learning curve involved of course, because we were all trying to figure out Twitter.  It really made no sense to me until I relaxed a little and just tweeted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Then I learned that it was far more fun to tweet WITH people rather than AT them, and now Twitter is far more like a running conversation than posting 140-character status updates like “I am going to fold laundry now.” (although I still post a fair number of those)

I also remember when Simon and John started tweeting. At first I thought it was nothing short of miraculous. I remember how insane my timeline would get whenever John jumped online and had what we all learned to coin, a “Tweetfest”. Just a shout-out, an RT, a mere mention would send a fan’s heart soaring. I remember seeing the hundreds, if not thousands of requests for follows, and that prompted me to write a post about not following fans. At the time, I was convinced that following a fan like that would do nothing but promote more nastiness between fans. The competitiveness between DD fans was still palpable at the time, the idea of actually communicating directly with the band was still new enough, that it seemed like a recipe ripe for disaster.

I’ve thought about reasons why a band from the 80s may or may not be involved on Twitter. We’ve talked about how for many of us, bands like Duran Duran are a complete enigma. We knew they existed, but never once thought we could actually speak with them. So many of those bands have dropped off of the face of music now, the few that are left are very much treasured.

Lately, I’ve gotten somewhat involved in the Spandau Ballet fan community. Their community seems to be so much more at peace than Duran’s has been in the past, which interests me…mainly because I just can’t figure out what makes it that much different. I’m sure many of you will have some idea that you’ll happily pass on, so I’ll wait and read your comments. In any case, this past week, the members of Spandau Ballet have been following fans. They’ve openly been coming onto Twitter and spending time tweeting fans and even following them. There has been no bloodshed from fans, nor signs of exasperation coming from the band. Aside from fans asking to be followed (which was encouraged), I’ve seen very little uproar, and the best part is that the fans have encouraged one another.  I continually see “OMG, _______________ is following me!!!” posts on Facebook with a chorus of “Congratulations!” comments  following.

Truly, I don’t feel comfortable saying that this is the way all bands should handle social media with fans, mainly because it’s really difficult for me to see beyond my own fandom. Not everyone can feel comfortable reaching out; indeed, not everyone should. I only know that as a fan, I love seeing these bands and artists I grew up idolizing making the effort to get to know their fans…and they all seem to do it in their own way. It is a good time to be a fan.

-R

Can’t Deny My Love for this type of promo!

Can I write a blog in 15 minutes? Probably not…but I’m going to try.

I just wanted to gush a teensy bit over Brandon Flowers. You see, in my perfect little world – this is how any and every band would properly tease their audience into buying a new album.

I’m probably not going to get this timeline correct, but I would guess it was around early Fall that I had heard that Brandon Flowers (lead singer of the The Killers if you’re unfamiliar) was going to cut another solo album. Truthfully it could have been earlier than that, but for the sake of argument, we’re going with Fall (Or what the rest of the world may call Autumn. Sorry, the California in me comes out with a vengeance every once in a while).. It was fairly quiet for a while, but then about February or so (Again, I’m probably way off but that’s not the point), he posted a link to a video from his Twitter account (Which I am almost positive he does NOT run himself) to his website, where there was a little note posted. The note, written in Brandon’s scrawl, gave a short, almost poetic description of the writing process, and even gave the name of the album: The Desired Effect.  Not long after that, I think he posted a video of someone, probably himself but I’m not sure, playing a line of music on a keyboard.  Maybe a week or so later came the teases for his first single, “Can’t Deny My Love”.  I will not lie, I am obsessed with that song. It has a GREAT hook that I can’t and won’t get out of my head. He had video, he had little clips of music…and most of all, he had my attention.

Again, I cannot tell a lie, I do not listen to the radio very often. I don’t pour over every possible piece of music news that is available. I have Google alerts set up for the few bands/artists that I’m interested in, and while The Killers is included in that extremely short list, I am not at all sure I would have caught that Brandon was coming out with a solo album had I not been following him on Twitter. Brandon doesn’t even REALLY try to communicate with fans on Twitter, it’s really about delivering his news to the people and that’s about it. But I follow the account like I do other bands I’m interested in.  However, once he started posting these teasers, I couldn’t stop myself from reading anything and everything I could about his new album. Then he started posting upcoming gig information, including a few right here in LA!  Everything was tied to getting a pre-ordered copy of The Desired Effect, and while I’d already done that… the dates didn’t work for me (naturally, because I’m a parent of three…), but even so, I was completely enthralled watching OTHER fans get their tickets to these super intimate, very short notice gigs. It was really, really cool!

So here we are, with just a couple weeks to go before his new album comes out, and I dare say that there are a ton of people out that have already preordered the album and KNOW about the project that may not have otherwise had it not been for Brandon Flowers teasing everyone endlessly with his new music. I already know the name of the album, which I am more than happy to talk about on Twitter and even on this blog, and I’m even buying a ticket to go see one of his upcoming shows. (or more if it turns out I’m not otherwise busy…) I can’t even say I’m one of the bigger Killer’s fans out there, nor can I say that about Brandon Flowers himself. I’m one of those that might not have otherwise bought the album…one of those “likes” that was just moved into the “sales” column SOLELY because of social media.

Brandon Flowers isn’t the only artist that is using social media in a particularly effective way these days. Spandau Ballet, another favorite of mine, announced some contests for meet and greets at their shows this summer. I have tickets to their show at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, and so I figured I might as well enter my name. Who knows, right?  Well, not only can you enter your name, but you can earn more “points” (entries) by watching videos, playing music, sharing videos, pictures, etc.  Granted, it takes effort to do those things, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from trying. My timeline is filled with people sharing their videos and things in order to earn more points and up the ante so that they have better shots at those meet and greets.  Social media does work.

Ultimately, my point is simply that teasers generate interest.  Social media and sharing works. These artists are about to prove that in spades…and in my perfect world, these are two examples of the perfect way to get the public interested and keep them interested!

-R

Duran Duran Social Networking Features

How many of you are fans of Duran Duran on their Facebook page?  I suspect a lot of you are.  After all, as of the writing of this blog, they have over 2.6 million likes on their page.  What about following them on Twitter?  There, they have over 140,000 followers.  Clearly, there are a lot of people out there who like Duran Duran!  What benefit is there to liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter?  Well, beyond posting the latest news about the band, those social media accounts post routine features.  What am I talking about?  Let me give you a couple of examples:  Watch It Wednesday, which features some Duran video, or Tune In Tuesday, which features a Duran song.  What do you think of these features?  Do you think they always choose wisely?

Tune In Tuesday

Last week’s Tune In Tuesday is actually what made me really think about what DDHQ (Duran Duran Headquarters) chooses to focus on.  Last week, they picked the song, Buried in the Sand, off of the album, Medazzaland.  In general, I like the idea of showcasing a song each week.  It reminds people about the depth of their catalog so that if fans don’t know all Duran, they might be interested and check out albums they don’t have.  It also gives fans a chance to just celebrate one song, which is hard to do when Duran has so much material.  That said, I found that past Tuesday’s choice a strange one. I get wanting to put songs off of Medazzaland in the spotlight since it is an album that was probably missed by a lot of fans.  That said, that song made me cringe and not because I don’t like the song or the album that it’s on but because of the story of the song.  As many of you know, it is a song written about John leaving the band.  As a John fan, I don’t know that I need to be reminded of that.  Then, I wondered if DDHQ just picks a song randomly or if there is a rhyme or reason behind the choice.  Clearly, here, I could come up a reason why they could pick specific songs but do DDHQ?  From my discussion on Twitter, most fans thought they just pick it randomly.  What were the choices the weeks before?  They were Buried in the Sand, Skin Trade, Arcadia’s Lady Ice, and To the Shore.  That seems pretty random.

Watch It Wednesday

This feature is very similar to Tune In Tuesday.  Instead of doing songs, though, the focus is on videos.  Should songs and videos be equal?  In Duran’s history, media often focused more on the videos than on the songs/albums, much to the band’s frustration, it seems.  Yet, we all know that their videos caught a lot of people’s attention and lead to a lot of people becoming fans.  Thus, it makes sense to include videos.  Yet, of course, there are a lot more songs than there are videos.  DDHQ goes beyond just actual videos but include clips of live performances, etc.  Again, I have to wonder if there is a plan for these videos.  The last few weeks have included a clip from San Remo in 2008, the video for Skin Trade, the video for Save a Prayer, and the video for the Reflex.  Sometimes, they have a reason for what they pick.  For example, The Reflex was chosen on Valentine’s Day.  Logical.  Yet, I have no clue on the rest of the choices.

Social Media Specifics:

Of course, there are some unique features on Facebook and some unique features on Twitter.  For example, on Facebook, there is always a Facebook page of the week chosen.  What is interesting to me about this feature is that it is always a “page”.  It isn’t a personal Facebook account or a Facebook group, but a page.  This means that groups like “My Duran World”, “Duran Duran the wild boys always shine”, and more never have the chance to be acknowledged.  People who have a Facebook account about Duran Duran won’t get acknowledged either.  (No acknowledgement for Daily Duranie since it is a personal account rather than a page.  On that note, has anyone ever operated a page before?  To say that it isn’t user friendly would be an understatment!)
On Twitter, DDHQ will always post a #FF (Follow Friday) to acknowledge a few fans.  On top of that, they will also wish individual twitter handles a “Happy Birthday” at times or retweet about a cause.  Sometimes, a “Tweetstake” is posted, which is a little contest in which people have to answer a trivia question in a specific way to win something.
What do you think of these features?  Are they sufficient?  Do you like some better than others?  What would you do if you were part of the DDHQ team?  Would you choose something different?  Have more specific plans for those features?
Speaking of features, we also have a few on this little blog.  We post a daily question and a “today in Duran history” post.  We also have an events page, which lists what is coming up in Duranland.  If that wasn’t enough, at times, homework is given in which all Duranies are encouraged to complete a little task to show their opinions about Duran.  What do you think of those features?  Do you like them?  Do you have other ideas of features we should include?
-A

The Dark Side of Social Media

Seriously, did he really just answer me?

I write about social media quite a bit. I’m continually astounded by its existence and the changes it has made for the entertainment industry as a whole. I remember the first time I realized that not only could I passively follow bands like Duran Duran, but I could interact with them. I would post responses to things they’d tweet whenever I felt like it, and figured that was as far as it would go, but it felt good to be able to say my piece. I remember being so puzzled when John Taylor actually responded to me for the first time, as I sat thinking to myself, seriously, did he really ANSWER me?? I mean let’s face it, I vibrated like a tuning fork at the idea that a member of Duran Duran actually noted my existence on this planet, my excitement was off the charts. Then it became a sort of challenge. I upped the ante for myself.  He answered me once, will he ever answer again??  Never MIND how I felt when other band members, or “not quite” band members answered, or still answer me. I don’t think it’s gotten old with me yet – even if they don’t necessarily talk TO you, just seeing them tweet and communicate remains exciting.  The possibility for interaction, the possibility that they might see or read tweets and/or Facebook posts makes it interesting.

Yes, I really AM <insert band member name here>.

Things have changed since the first days of social media. Does anyone remember My Space? I remember the platform well, as I handled the My Space account for a delightful little start-up band named Clear Static. That’s right, not only did I answer their mail, I interacted with fans. I answered fans as someone from Clear Static might answer them, because well, somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that the band was ready to be famous far before their music gave them the right to call themselves stars. They toured with Duran Duran, they gained attention and notoriety from Duran fans, and thought they had made the big time. They soon found out that being rock stars meant communicating with fans far more often than they wanted or felt was needed, so they hired me. I kept the enthusiasm going, put out the PR fires as necessary, and lied to fans on a regular basis, telling them that “Yes, I really am <insert band member name here>.” Remembering back to those days on My Space sheds a little light on the darker side of social media.

The band/artist is as big of a product as their music.

My Space was the very beginning of a time we still live in where the band/artist is easily as big of a product as their music. Their image,  online presence and personality matter as much as the music they create.  For a band like Duran Duran, that’s quite a change from the days of video – where we fans could SEE them, but they never had to actually interact, and certainly not with so many of us at one time. Image has always mattered to Duran Duran, but perhaps not the personal interaction. We fans were kept at arm’s length for the most part, and to be fair – can we really blame them? I still picture the scenes from Sing Blue Silver where they are in the limo and the fans are banging on the windows outside the limo.  Yes, it is likely a good thing that social media didn’t exist in the 1980s.

The connectivity piece has become an expected facet – and you know this because I write of it often. Fans want to know who it is behind the music, and let’s face it – the band was pretty interactive during the release of All You Need is Now.  We still want more. Maybe we expect too much, but I assure you – it isn’t just Duran Duran fans.  Have you seen Taylor Swift’s Twitter or Instagram lately? Those millions of fans aren’t following her because she never shares, I can guarantee you that. Interaction is expected. A daunting reality for a band that spent their earliest years running from the lot of us, wouldn’t you say? This is a time when so many other things matter besides the music, and yet if I asked any of you why you’re Duran Duran fans – I don’t think it’s likely that any of you would answer that it is social media.  But yet, for new bands out there – I read over and over again every single day that social media is easily as important as the music. Maybe even more so.  According to Wolfgang Gartner, a DJ, artist, producer and label founder, “an artist with a vibrant, thriving social media profile and personality and ‘so-so’ music may have a better shot at getting signed or achieving success than the artist with no social media presence and amazing music. It means that I don’t actually know if that person in my Twitter timeline composed that tweet, or if it was written by an intern at a social media management company.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how I “know” it’s really John, Simon, Roger, or even Dom that answers us. In reality? I have no idea. Wouldn’t we all like to believe we know their voices well enough to know the difference?? Even so, I have to trust it really is them talking to us on their individual accounts even though the strong possibility exists that they’ve hired social media people to do it all for them. Let us all hope we never find out otherwise.

Each piece is a pawn in the social media game.

The sales engine continues to run, according to Wolfgang Gartner. In an article written for the website Medium Gartner expands, “Artists are often contractually obligated to say specific things on their social networks as part of agreements or contracts; artists are often encouraged by their publicists or managers to be active on social media even if they don’t want to, because it helps sell records and tickets to shows; artists who are constantly on social media interacting with fans thrive, and are effectively helping sell their product.”

Each piece: the music, the image, the connectivity, the branding, the artist – is used as a pawn in the game of sales. A social game of sorts. Artists essentially must become the role they play online, and many don’t want to play the game at all. They’d prefer to be in the studio writing music; up on stage playing music, and leave the rest behind the velvet curtain, safe from view. Not all artists are social, not all artists are even that likable or personable, but in this day and age – one cannot afford to be antisocial.

Gartner goes even further to describe just how far some will go to use the social ladder to further their own game, “Some artists formed bonds with their musical idols, many contacts and collaborations were made, artists were able to give each other praise for their work, and everybody got to watch it happen in real-time. However, a darker side of this trend emerged: artists strategically interacting with other artists in attempts to boost their own careers. Of course musicians and entertainers have been doing this long before the internet, but social media took it to a new level.”

We’ve all seen this happening. Some of it is organic and beautiful, like when Nile Rodgers comments to a band member and they answer. I love that because I can see it happening right on my screen. For some reason, it makes me feel as though we’re all connected, and that it is all real. Conversely, there are the times when Duran Duran picks Pages of the Week that are purely just celebrities on Facebook, or favorites tweets from celebrities mentioning Duran Duran on Twitter. You know (and I know) it’s not “the band” actually doing that, and we ALL should recognize it is grossly fake. In some respects it is an attempt to put the band on equal level with those they respect and admire, and in others it feels just slightly smarmy. Part of the business? Probably. Does it really work? That’s a good question. Overall, it remains part of the social media game.

For Duran Duran, quality music is the end game.

In many ways, I must give proper admiration and respect to Duran Duran, because even with all of the extraneous details, the music continues to be central priority for the band. Yes, they care about their image, they delight in the visual, but the music matters. There is certainly a danger in getting caught up in the current of social media to the point where one forgets what really matters. Many an artist has allowed his/her social media fame to override the music – thus becoming more of an entertainer than musician. While I wouldn’t argue that social media is completely immaterial, I appreciate that the band knows that quality music is the end game. So I suppose I can forgive them for being largely absent for the past few years on social media, and delight in the few moments where they let me know I’m remembered in one way or another.

-R