Category Archives: social networking

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.








Social Media: Could Less Really Be More?

During my typical morning social media read-through, I noticed an item of interest that I thought I’d share with my fellow Duranies. AskKaty on Facebook (who actually works for more artists than just Duran Duran!) retweeted a comment from Miss Taylor Swift about her bestselling album, “1989”.

“1989 became the year’s bestselling album in the very last days of 2014, helped in part by absence from streaming services.” @taylorswift13

I thought this quote was interesting for a number of reasons, not in small part due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to streaming – I do have Spotify, but in truth I rarely have time to sit and listen (a small allowance to make when you are a homeschooling parent).  I seem to recall hearing that Taylor Swift had chosen to stop streaming her music through such services, but I don’t think I ever gave the idea much thought beyond wondering what purpose it would really serve. I have to wonder if her above statement really holds any kind of water…and assuming that yes, removing her music from streaming created huge demand…would it work for others?

Let’s be honest: Taylor Swift is a hot commodity in today’s music whether you like her or hate her. My own daughter fell in love with her writing back when Taylor was still singing about prince charming, and that hasn’t stopped. It is difficult to argue that 1989 was an unlikely success, given the sheer amount of fans that seem to be behind Swift…but even so…to go platinum four times?? If we agree that removing her music from streaming services somehow created a sense of demand that made the sales of 1989 go off the charts in an unprecedented amount of time…could it be that a similar idea is being used for Duran Duran?

Celebrities and artists today are far more accessible now than any time prior, and many believe that ease of accessibility is more harmful than helpful. I’m not sure I necessarily agree, but I’m also,not ready to cry foul just yet.  On one hand, Taylor Swift, for example, seems to love social media, Instagram and Twitter most notably. While she has removed her music from streaming – the songstress continues to remain very connected to her loyal fans, and not just while trying to sell her latest record. On the other hand, many other artists – such as Nick Rhodes, for instance, abhor social media of any kind and yet Duran Duran does allow their music to be streamed.

Sure, Duran Duran could easily remove themselves from streaming. I certainly wouldn’t notice – like most diehard or longtime fans, I already own their entire catalog and having them disappear from Spotify wouldn’t be a game changer for me. Perhaps though such a move might also cause potential fans to make a purchase rather than just stream the new album for free. Whether or not the percentage of potential “seeking” fans would prove to be large enough to make a notable difference or not is up for debate. However, if they were advised to stop engaging and connecting through social media – how might that change the overall narrative?


Duran Duran on Twitter

Do you still wait to see Duran Duran on Twitter? How many still hang out on Twitter wondering when/if the band will show up?  I remember the good old days when John or Simon used to occasionally check Twitter. I remember when social engagement, interaction…or whatever you want to call it seemed to matter (even if it really didn’t).

I still use Twitter. I still read my timeline and I still comment whenever I feel like it. I think I got into the Twitter habit just before John came along, before I really noticed Duran Duran on Twitter, and I’m still there. I like the idea of it feeling sort of like a chat room that is occupied 24/7. I can go in there, post whatever I’m thinking at the time and leave. Sometimes I’ll get into short conversations with friends, and sometimes not. I also check out what other people are saying, and yes, I will even check on what fans are tweeting to the band. Call me masochistic, or even just curious. Sometimes I get the best blog ideas that way. Other times, and this seems to be happening far more often these days, I come away feeling melancholy…or even just sad.

The other day I was reading Twitter and saw so many posts congratulating Dom on his tenth anniversary and asking John where he was…so many leaving heartfelt notes of how much he means to them, or how they can’t wait for the next album. Weirdly, it struck me that at this point, I’m not even sure those tweets get read. It wasn’t that long ago when it was obvious that yes, they were getting read. There would be responses to things when Duran Duran was on Twitter that seemed to come out of nowhere. A question would be asked, sometimes even in jest, and suddenly without warning, an answer would appear. They might not even mention names or do a RT, but you knew that the intended band member had seen your tweet, and dammit – they were answering you. Duran Duran On Twitter. Incredulous! There was this magical moment when All You Need is Now came out – maybe it was because it was clear the title song was about our relationship with the band as fans, maybe it was because the band was active on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe it was because of all of those things – but it felt like there was some sort of really cool synergy taking place. It wasn’t “The Band” and then “The Fans”… it was “Us”.  How amazing was that??  Yes, it got crazy at times. I was on Twitter and Facebook and saw it firsthand. Fans would lose their shit when John Taylor would show up. Many of us would sit back, pop some corn and watch with interest. Others would join in. The thing about all of that though was that it generated interest, energy and joy, whether you were watching or participating. Frankly, I was curious about the change in tide…the change in relationship between the fans and the band at a critical time after Red Carpet Massacre. Utterly fascinating stuff if you’re me. It felt good to be a Duranie because Duran Duran was on Twitter…talking to fans!

The other day I made comment after reading some of these recent tweets to band members. I mentioned I thought it was so sad, because it is obvious that fans still care enough to try and engage without really much encouragement to do so from the band. I had some responses back that ran the gamut from “the band will be back when they’ve got something to promote” (which in turn felt very disingenuous to the person who responded) to the fact that despite the drawbacks (for the band) in being open and accessible with fans, that they should have realized what they got into with fame. All in all, I have to say there were very few responses that indicated (to me) much empathy towards the band. I can’t imagine this makes it an easy place for the band to start from when it comes to promoting this new album, so I have to ask – is it really that much trouble to say hi once in a while?  Is it really so horrible?? Is it really that unnatural?  If so, why is it so natural for the rest of us?  Maybe that’s the real question.


The (hidden) cost of a retweet

Amanda sent me the following this morning after seeing it on Twitter:

Screen Shot DDHQ Road and Track retweet

So let me get this straight…we’re going to RETWEET something from Road and Track magazine about how that delightful human basically made his way through Duran fans – elbowing his way through as it says here – thus standing in front of the fans so that he could get a photo of the car? We’re happy about that? Is it meant to be funny??

Listen. I know social media. I get how it all works and that if you retweet, you’re liable to get more views of that tweet and it’s all a wonderfully delightful numbers game. I understand marketing and how you have to appeal to a huge audience base….but I dare say that you don’t do that by also potentially pissing off fans you’ve had for over thirty years.  As Amanda aptly put it, if I have 200 fans but piss off 50 and gain 40 from the retweet, I now only have 190 fans. That’s not the way you want it working…new fans or not.

Perhaps the person who retweeted this didn’t really see or read the tweet – that they merely saw the @duranduran part and thought this was a great opportunity to reach more people. Maybe so. Maybe they looked at it as Duran Duran had so many fans there that this person HAD to elbow their way through just to get a photo.  I can see that.  Heck, PROBABLY so.

The thing is, it still didn’t feel quite right to see that particular tweet noticed and RE-tweeted by the band. If it weren’t for the FANS of this band, there wouldn’t still BE a band.  After all, if you’re not making money at something – it’s just a hobby, and I think that Duran Duran works too damn hard and pays way too many people to call it a hobby these days. We fans are the people who buy their records, their concert tickets, their merch…and we support them. Some of us have spent a major portion of our lives supporting them. Let’s be a little bit more respectful of that at the cost of picking up an extra fan or two.

I don’t like calling out Duran’s management. I would actually LIKE to have a good working relationship with them because I think we can help them. I really do. Actually, I know we can. We know the fans, we UNDERSTAND the fans because we ARE fans. I wish the band would USE Daily Duranie  as a resource and work with us rather than try to ignore our existence. We aren’t looking to hurt the band. We’ve never once tried to scoop management on news items. We typically don’t spread rumor on purpose. We bring the fans together. We do meet ups to increase the amount of FUN fans have so that they stick around.  We spend a great deal of time and effort planning conventions to keep the party going for everyone so that they DON’T just walk away. We try to support the band however we can on the extremely limited shoestring budget we’ve got. (that comes out of our own pockets, thankyouverymuch) We realize that fans can be seen as overzealous. Amanda and I aren’t stupid – we know there’s a business side here that can’t be ignored. We just know that someone has to look out for the fans and try to create that sense of “family”, especially at this point in our lives.  It doesn’t make much sense to me that management does everything they can to ignore us really… but then, I also don’t go around tweeting things like this that have the potential to piss off the very fans they need in order to sell tickets and survive, either.  Like I said, I don’t like calling them out, and perhaps I’m seeing this all wrong…I just know in my heart that it didn’t feel quite right to see that retweet.

I  have to think that management, or anyone who has paid attention to this blog over the years, knows that I’m fairly level-headed and that I come from a place of deep respect and loyalty…or at least I try. I make jokes, I’m sarcastic and sometimes flippant, and I don’t know how to do the job that management does.  I openly, whole-heartedly admit that. I also know that they’re not likely to ever apologize for the decisions they make OR admit that they were wrong. They can’t do that without creating a nightmare for themselves and I get that. That’s fine. The last thing I want to do is create problems, but on the same token – I think it’s worth my sticking my neck out to make myself heard. Overall, I think that management does a great job. I don’t agree with the attitude of some that because management is in the US, that somehow makes them unqualified to manage a British band.  I just wish they took a little more interest in the very people that support the band.  US…the fans. The ones who really DO make the noise.  We matter.

Food for thought.



Set the Story Alight: Online Viewing Party

What are YOU going to be doing on Wednesday, September 3rd?!  We all know that Duran Duran will be playing at a private show for Madza as the company unveils the Mx-5 Miata in Monterey, California.  While the vast majority of us couldn’t be there, we won’t be totally missing out!  Oh no, the highlights, at least, will be aired on Madza’s YouTube channel.  Details as well as a link to the YouTube channel can be found on, which you can read about here.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m absolutely dying for a show, for a performance, for something.  It has been WAY, WAY TOO LONG.  Thus, I will take any and all highlights they will share!!!

Obviously, Rhonda and I knew that we could all just watch the highlights by ourselves. This led to us envisioning each and every Duranie alone in front of the computer screen, longing not only Duran Live but also their friends. While I’m sure that every Duranie out there would be mildly entertained by watching the highlights all alone, we know that it would be tons more fun if we all watched the highlights together!!! Of course, we all can’t be in the same room at the same time, but we can all be online together at the same time!  We did it for the Sing Blue Silver viewing on Duran Duran Appreciation Day!  So, how would this work?  Simple. We all tune into Madza’s YouTube channel at 6 pm PST (or 8 pm CST or 9 pm EST, etc):  As we watch, we will discuss, react, *squee* online with each other!

While we will all be watching the YouTube channel, we will be doing the fan reaction thing in a couple of places.  First, if Twitter is your preference, then, it is simple.  Tweet out your thoughts, but make sure that you are using the hashtag #DDMadza so we can all find the tweets about the highlights!  Second, if you prefer Facebook, the best place to discuss/react/squee is on the event page.  Yes, that’s right.  We have an official event page for this little viewing party, which you can find here.  I’m sure that Rhonda and myself will be splitting duties as we did for the Sing Blue Silver viewing party.  One of us will be on Twitter and one on Facebook.  Yet, if we feeling ambitious, we might try to hit both online places.  Ha!  The key here is simple.  We want to make this event super fun for all of us dying-for-a-show as we know that watching Duran is great but watching with other fans is the BEST.  Beyond that, though, we would love to get Duran trending like we did for Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  Let’s help to remind the world that not only is Duran is still around but they are still kicking ass.

Between now and Wednesday, we ask you to do a couple of favors.  First, go to that Facebook event and RSVP.  The link is:

After that, share the event with all of your friends both on Facebook and on Twitter so that they, too, can join and share away!  We would love to have all 2.5 million fans of Duran Duran on Facebook attending and participating!  (Now, I know that for some of you the time of the event sucks.  We hate that it isn’t good for everyone.  Unfortunately, we have no control over the time.)

Let’s remind each other of the fun we have together and let’s show the world that Duranies mean business when it comes to helping Duran be successful!


The care and feeding of social media

I’ve blogged about the band and social media many, many times. I’ve had fans tell me that I’ve got it wrong – that we fans should be thrilled that Duran Duran are even on social media at all,  and that they really don’t need to do much of anything. They don’t need to respond, follow people, or even come online unless it’s to sell us something. The band already has a loyal, thriving and growing fan base and we should be happy with whatever they choose to do, right?

I’m thrilled to tell you that this is not that blog post again.  🙂

However, let’s pretend we’re not talking about Duran Duran. What if we’re talking about someone who might not have quite the fan base that the band has. What if it’s someone who is working to cultivate that type of loyalty? Would that change our thinking on how he/she should handle social media??

Let’s take two cases in point: Anna Ross and say…Dom Brown. Anna has been on Facebook now for a relatively short time, since June 5th, actually. She already has just over 4000 “likes” to her page, (4140, actually) which is pretty remarkable given the short length of time she’s been involved. Dom, on the other hand, also has about 4000 likes (just a little more than Anna at 4238), but he joined Facebook back in November of 2009.

The other day, Dom noticed that while he has over 7000 followers on Twitter, he has decidedly less on Facebook. Being the smart ass that I am – I chose to point out that he might do better if he took the time to respond once in a while. I figured he wouldn’t ever even take time to read comments, much less respond (which is exactly why I believe I said it in three places. I like pushing my luck.) Turns out, he did see and he did respond. After nearly choking from shock (it is apparently dangerous to eat while checking out Facebook or Twitter…), I responded with “Damn…you replied!”

Well, then. (as my friend Amanda might say.)

Going back to Anna Ross, if you’ve been following her at all on Facebook, she is the exact opposite of Dom. (Sorry Dom, I’m really not picking on you – I’m trying to help, I promise!) She is extremely social, asking her fans questions, asking for pictures of previous gigs she’s done for Duran Duran, responding to comments, and so forth. She’s spent quite a bit of time really engaging the Duran Duran fans she obviously knows we are, letting us talk all about the band and basically letting us get that out of our system before reminding us (very gently and kindly) that while she LOVES talking about them, she’s actually trying to sort this Facebook page out to be her own, to discuss her OWN projects. Fair enough, right?

Once upon a time, I lightly broached the subject of social media with Dom during an interview. I remember his answer: he didn’t mind it, but it wasn’t something he could get into a habit of doing for some reason.  I think, purely as an interested bystander, that much of the problem is not knowing what to talk about, or what to do. Women seem to love Facebook – it’s natural for us to chat with friends and know what to say, although I have plenty of guy friends that do very well with Facebook. I can’t decide how I feel about Twitter. On one hand I think that I see more men regularly participating – but I can’t tell if that’s just because of the group of people I follow or if that’s really the culture of Twitter. I think the less open-endedness of Twitter (merely posting status updates in 140 characters or less) probably helps.

So, after gently pointing out (along with others) that Dom should try talking WITH us, he agreed to start interacting. I don’t think he should be afraid to respond directly to people – most of us won’t bite. (I said most.) He also doesn’t to be a slave to social media. A few minutes at the end of the day, or even once a week to either ask a question of us or respond to a few things asked of him would be a great start. I think that in some ways, seeing how the band interacts with fans has not been a great learning tool. First off, they have “people” who handle the band’s Twitter, although John and Simon have their own accounts. Secondly, we must remember that the band has thousands upon thousands of fans. Twitter and Facebook aren’t going to be handled in the same way by the band as they need to be by those who are trying to grow a fan base. The loyalty and interest is already there for Duran Duran, whereas Dom and Anna are trying to not only create that sense of loyalty in their fans, they’re trying to create an interest for people to see that not only do they have a job to do for Duran Duran, but they have their own creative breadth of work.

I suppose the real test is whether or not Dom really keeps at it. I hope he does, and not just because he’s a favorite of mine. I’d like to see him succeed, and if I can help him – I will. I noticed that someone responded “We’ve heard that before” when he mentioned that he’d really try. Fair enough. I think it’s easy to just put social media on the back burner and pretend it doesn’t matter, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you, or if you feel like you’re having to “come up” with things to say every day…which is what I suspect might be part of the case here.

On the other hand, I think Anna will not only keep at it – but she’ll continue to grow her fan base exponentially as a result, and we might hear an even larger applause for her each night of the next tour for Duran Duran. I know that even for myself, I didn’t know much about her until she joined Facebook. I had no idea that she was doing her own projects, and so I’m looking forward to hearing her own music, just as I do with Dom.

Like it or not, social media IS a habit that one has to get used to.  I think my advice, to Dom and others, is to just talk to us. Talk as if you’re talking to friends. 4000 of your good friends that, if given the opportunity, will bombard you with questions and ask you umpteen times if you’ll come play a blues show in Los Angeles, or if you’re still really involved on the next Duran Duran album.  I mean, there’s only 4000 of us, right? How bad could it possibly be???

All joking aside, it IS true. Social media isn’t difficult. It’s not rocket science. In order for it to be successful though, you DO have to be social. You can’t just post dates for gigs and maybe an occasional “this is what I’m doing right now” tweet every couple of months, and expect to cultivate a Facebook following. That just isn’t how it all works, but again – no one expects slavery to the system. Spend the time you can with us, and even an occasional “Hi, how are you?” is a genuine way to get to know the people who love your music enough to follow. I speak for all fans when I say that getting a response from someone I’ve seen onstage for years brings a smile to my face even when I’m having a really lousy day, and it makes me even more excited to buy the next album and go to the next shows.  It’s such a simple, yet effective thing.  Use it!


Follow Dom on Facebook

Follow Dom on Twitter

Follow Anna on Facebook

Follow Anna on Twitter



Today’s Date in Duran History – Simon, Simon, Simon…and Dom

Some bands have large fan bases that are happy to get new music. They pay to go to shows, they have fun, and that’s about the size of the fan/band relationship. Then there’s Duran Duran. They have people like me…who are intense (let’s not call it an obsession), long-time fans.  Some of us even blog.

Aren’t they lucky?!?

Originally, I had a “Date in Duran history” all planned out for today, but during some research, I realized we had the date wrong on our calendar. There is a method to what might seem like madness here at Daily Duranie, and so rather than re-run a historical point that we did for this date last year, I came up with my own! The trouble is, it isn’t quite history yet. However, I break rules all the time, and today will be no exception.

Just a day or two ago, I may have casually mentioned that I was nearing the point of resorting to posting videos of Simon’s more “signature” dance moves over the years, using them of course as points of discussion…along with maybe some voting and judgment. (I call it “commentary”) Today I stumbled upon the following video link (linked because of these called “copyrights” that YouTube, and probably the band…insists we follow…imagine that!):

Simon’s short and sweet DD14 update!

So they’re in the “refinement” stage. You know what *I’d* like to know…if I were well, able to ask?? What do they ultimately end up doing with all of the material they scrap? Do they keep it in case they want to return to it at a later point, perhaps for another album or something? I can see a case being made either way. Maybe they want fresh material for each album, and maybe they figure that going back to look at earlier work isn’t exactly the same as starting fresh. But on the other hand, that’s so much creativity. Maybe keeping it all for future reference gets the juices flowing when they need ideas? If “someone” knows, I’d love to hear the answer and reasoning!

Can you imagine the amount of material they’ve scrapped over the years? I’d love to be let loose in that vault (of course that’s assuming they actually keep all of that somewhere)!

But of course, Simon was VERY quick to say he won’t give titles or any information and that we’re going to have to wait. Here’s the thing: I can understand the “No Spoiler” rule. There is something special about hearing a finished song or album for the first time without preconceived notion. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since that last happened for me. Like since hearing some of All You Need is Now. I am very much looking forward to the feeling that comes with hearing brand new music for the first time. Anticipation can be a wonderful thing. That said, hearing absolutely nothing from the band for months on end – or only hearing the things none of us really want to hear, such as: “We’re not going to tour anytime soon – we don’t NEED to tour” or “We’re not sure when the album is coming out, but it probably won’t be until at least 2015.” can be pretty disheartening. So Simon, it’s OK that you won’t share titles or information. I respect that (and I might not necessarily start posting those dance videos. Yet.) But sending us little clips now and again to let those of us who are not in the UK know that yes, you’re still alive and working, and maybe just telling us where you’re at in the whole process, isn’t so bad. It keeps that connection established from the last album going. Many of us have never even been in a studio, and  hearing about the actual process is interesting. It’s funny when you think about it – a lot of fans have been around for over thirty years now and yet there really aren’t many who know much about recording an album or all of the tedious work that goes into the effort. I know it’s commonplace to the band, but for us – the people who care – it’s kind of an intriguing mystery.

If Simon’s little video weren’t enough, I was pretty surprised yesterday afternoon as I checked into Facebook and Twitter between naps (I’m getting over a bad cold and the couch has been my friend this week) to see that Dom Brown is actually alive, and not just an enigma that briefly appears to announce his next gig date on Twitter or Facebook. No, no. Dom showed up yesterday to mention that his wife (I applaud Martha!) has been getting on his case lately (I believe the words “kicking my butt” were used – which makes me like her even more!) to engage on Facebook and Twitter more regularly.

Men are funny. I think they can be far more utilitarian in nature than women. We women tend to be (just a weensy bit) more emotional. We talk. For example, some of the shortest emails I EVER get are from my husband. I will send long, flowing emails to him and I’ll typically get a one or two word reply. (My reply: Really?? You were somehow able to extrapolate ONE thing out of that long email that needed a comment – and a one word comment at that?!) I think that many males, and celebrities are not entirely immune to this and  think that Twitter and Facebook are utilitarian devices only. They are to announce whatever important “thing” is going on – and briefly so. The idea of getting on there to actually chat and get to know people is probably mind boggling. “Why waste that kind of time” That’s why so many resort to only posting their latest sales pitch, their latest gig…and then they run. Fast.

Admittedly, it could be that female fans might be intimidating, downright scary at times…maybe we even “threaten” relationships in that if a wife/girlfriend/significant other sees tweeting or communicating with one specific person going on, she’s undoubtedly going to be concerned. Fair enough. I’m also married. I know how that can be, and I can’t promise that every female fan out there is going to be respectful. For that matter, even I can be cheeky – because it’s fun, and because I don’t actually take it seriously.  Others might, I suppose. But for the most part, I don’t think many of us are out to ruin someone’s life. My point is that we’re not that scary. While yes, there’s always a risk of running into a crazy person here or there, we as fans run that exact same risk, whether it’s with a band member or it’s other fans. You learn rather quickly how to deflect, avoid, and block. My question is how can Twitter be any more frightening than running into the same fans over and over on tour, at the studio, or anywhere else?? At least on Twitter and Facebook you can essentially block the people that scare you. In person, you really can’t.

I guess I’m in the camp that believes it’s important to engage with fans however you can and are comfortable. That last part is key – and I want to make sure that the people who are bound to reply to this post read that last part again. I’m not accusing anyone of misusing Twitter – because I think that everyone has to decide for themselves how to handle social media of any kind. Maybe that’s a departure from how I’ve felt in the past, and I’m OK admitting that.  So what do I mean by “comfortable”? If you’re only comfortable announcing your gigs – then hey, that’s fine. If you’re only comfortable keeping Twitter as a sales tool, then that’s what you have to do. If you’re the type that only uses Twitter to make statements and isn’t entirely interested in the back and forth type of communication that can happen – then that’s how you’ve got to keep it. That might not be ideal, but as I said, we all have our own areas of comfort.

Another issue I see: I don’t think that there’s anything necessarily wrong with replying directly to a fan, even a female fan, if you want; but I also know that not every musician or celebrity is comfortable doing so. I can’t decide if it’s because they’re worried about calling attention to a particular fan, or if it’s because they don’t want to see the “Please RT meeeeee!!!” tweets over and over. The same goes for following fans, I suppose. Once you’ve opened that door, it’s hard to explain why some are allowed through and others are not. I’m not sure that there’s a need to explain actions like that to anyone though. I certainly don’t substantiate the reasons why I’m friends with some people and not with others, but that’s just me. I can’t necessarily say where the line should be drawn – I only know how I handle it for myself. It’s tough thing to find fault with no matter what someone does, and each person has to find their own comfort zone. I have no way of knowing what it’s really like to be a well-known musician, rock star or celebrity because I’m just me: Rhonda from Southern California. I tend to treat people, my friends – whether they are male, female, rockstar or celebrity, pretty much the same. If I follow you on Twitter, I’m going to comment to you as though I think you’re reading, and I’m going to pal around with you as though we’re at least friendly if not actually friends. If that makes me odd, well…then I’m odd, and I embrace the description. I just figure that at the end of the day, we’re all just people anyway.

That’s the longest blog I’ve written in a long time.  Just imagine how it’ll be once the band actually DOES start announcing titles.  I’d better rest my fingers now while I can!







Bangin’ on the radio

Do you think Twitter has changed radio much?

In my endless search for new topics for the blog, particularly because Duran Duran – the band that inspired this blog, has not been much help in the news department as of late, I stumbled upon this infographic created by the good people at Mediabistro:

This infographic centers around the UK, likely because the #1 radio station on Twitter is BBC1. Stations do not really interact much with tweeters…as the infographic shows, 79% of tweets were aimed at celebrities, and just 21% at listeners, yet these tweets were still retweeted by their audience. What is most interesting though, is what this little infographic doesn’t say. For instance, it doesn’t tell us whether or not those tweets of song requests translate into more plays for specific (requested) artists. It doesn’t tell us whether or not tweeting has affected the Arbitron Rating for the station. And of course we can’t tell the affects any of this has or has not had on sales.  
From my point of view as “Rhonda, the above-average radio listener”,(above-average because I’m slightly out of the target demographic!!)  I don’t even follow my local radio stations on Twitter. I couldn’t care any less about what they tweet. I spend a fair amount of time in my car, and I do listen to the radio, but at home I listen to Spotify or my own music library as opposed to radio unless there’s something specific on that I want to catch. I don’t see the direct effects Twitter has had on radio per se. What I do see though, is that Twitter has had a major affect on marketing in general – across the board. Even my husband’s company has a Twitter handle, and they’re just a silicon chip company. It also has had a huge affect on customer service as well. Who needs a phone when you’ve got Twitter??  The other day I was having difficulty with our domain – and I’d mentioned that I didn’t know how to fix it on Twitter, never once thinking that someone from our domain host would reply with the answer for me. It was nice to see such a helpful (and friendly!) reply to something that I was really just musing about “out loud”.  
Once again, I think it all comes down to learning the new business model and how to make IT work, as opposed to companies learning how to work for IT. We live in a world where information and effect is meant to be instantaneous, and that’s a tough adjustment for those of us who grew up during a time when the media solely controlled the flow of information. The old ways of marketing and promotion just do not apply – they just aren’t enough for a public that wants everything yesterday. It’s fascinating to me that, like other areas of the music industry, land-based radio is slow to embrace social media correctly and use it to their benefit. It appears that they’re only understanding half the reasoning behind Twitter.  It’s not enough to just tweet outwardly – in order to truly be effective, there has to be that give and take.  The conversation. In today’s world, marketing and promotion is most effective on a relationship-level, so those little retweets, those acknowledgments, and those shout-outs matter. They spark that connection, even if only on a transactional basis. I might even suggest these relations matter more than a print ad, and possibly even more than a commercial these days. The celebrities, musicians, and entertainment franchises of all types who learn how to harness the energy available through direct-to-fan contact as well as social media will be (and are) among those leading the way for those still stuck in the learning curve cycle. Resistance, at this point, is futile. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.  

Somehow we’ll find the love we can share

Tonight I’m going to a college night at my oldest daughter’s high school. She is nearly seventeen and in her junior year. College has been a hot topic in our house now for a while…and this year, my son joins in on that subject as a freshman. So, tonight going to be a big one for both of them. Our high school is hosting 151 colleges and universities for a 3 hour “fair”…and my mission is to figure out how to see as many of those colleges as possible. My daughter already has a working list of schools that she is interested in, so it’s a matter of my matching her list to the list of colleges in attendance. Many of which are not in the state, so it would be helpful to have her go and see their representatives, if for no other reason than to do some weeding out before we make plans to go on a “College Visit Tour” next summer.  My son, on the other hand, has no idea what he really wants. I take that back, he knows that if the school offers video game programming, he’s at least interested. I spend moments marveling over the excitement ahead for both of them, and conversely trying to ascertain how the years flew by so fast. In a matter of just four years, two out of my three will likely be away at school, their childhood memories left behind for safekeeping by mom. How did this happen?! I still feel like a kid myself. I mean, I still go to concerts!

That brings me to an awkward subject. Lately, I’ve had some discussions with friends about fandom. I might be wrong, or even overgeneralizing, but it seems to me that fandom is constantly evolving. For example, the things I loved doing as a fan at the age of twelve are at least slightly different than the things I love now. I mean, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I did stop trying to kiss my posters a couple decades back or so. If you haven’t, that’s OK.  No judgment here. I’m just talking about myself, anyway. It used to be that I would stop and take extreme notice at every single thing the band did – and a lot of times, the message of whatever they were saying at the time was completely lost because I was too busy staring at them. I can remember times when I would see an appearance of theirs on TV, never once noticing that maybe Simon sang out of tune or maybe one of them seemed a little…well…under the influence. I’m not sure if that was naivety, ignorance or just the plain fact that I was too busy being excited to see them on my TV screen to notice anything else, but in my head, everything they did was wonderful and all for me. I am pretty sure all of us were that way to some extent. It was normal behavior as a young teenage fan, and it was fun.

Amanda has written about the ebb and flow of fandom here on the blog before, and I think many fans experience that as well. I know that in my mid-to-late-twenties I did as well. I was busy learning how to be a parent, and at some point during that decade of my life, I stopped being that fawning teenage fan. Now, I did regain a bit of that around the time of the reunion, but lately – and by lately I mean the past several years – I’ve seen my fandom change again. It’s not that I don’t still love the music – I do, and it’s not that I don’t like being a fan – I very much do. It’s something a lot less easy to put my finger on, but I’ll try. Keep in mind, I can really only speak of my own experience here – so what I’m sharing are my own feelings. I can’t account for those of you who feel differently, and I’m certainly not trying to tell anybody how they should feel.

There was a time when I think the entire fan base would take any and everything the band had to offer, with exuberance. Unapologetic alliance, loyalty, love and joy. The band grew very used to the fact we’d take whatever they gave us – and that “relationship” worked for a very long time. In some ways I think the band saw themselves as commodity. A product. Certainly not as people. That probably played with their heads in a major way, especially as I consider that they were barely in their 20s at the time. It seems that the band could have easily lost themselves, their own personalities, in that whole scene. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t…I really don’t know because I don’t know them on any level other than as the people I see onstage. What I do know is that transactional relationship: they provide, we take; we’re the dollar signs to their bank accounts, is a very, very odd one. Let’s face it, the trained response here is that the band knows we will take anything and everything they have to give (and still want more). It’s not as though we really know Simon or John, or Nick, or Roger…or Andy, Warren or Dom…beyond who they are or what they bring to the table as Duran Duran. (Yes, I know some of you do, but you are the rarities amongst us.) I don’t know that the band actually wants or needs to know us as much as we want or need that from them…and an important point here is that not all of us fans really do want or need to know them. Many are just satisfied with the music, and find the rest hilariously funny for wanting anything else.

Over the years though, I think that for many people, including myself, that sort of fandom changes. It was really fun at 13 to believe that everything the band did was wonderful. I would gladly lap up whatever the band threw my way, and immediately want more.  Sometimes, I’m still that way…particularly when the band tours. I had a bit of a childhood resurgence over the past 13 years as I saw the band reunite, then split again. It felt good to go to shows and forget that I’m a middle-aged mom of three. The thing is, I don’t know that fandom can just stay that way permanently. At least, not for me. I can’t just sit on Twitter for an hour, tweeting questions to John Taylor every second or so, pray he answers, and when he does feel validated as a person or a fan, for example. It feels weird, as though that’s something I really should be OVER by now. I don’t know that I’m really any different from anybody else in that I would much rather have a real conversation with any one of them than deal with Twitter. I am fairly certain I’m not the only fan out there that feels that way…not by a long shot. Of course, I don’t actually expect that to ever happen, either. I’m just saying that for me, Twitter seems ridiculous and yet the absolute opposite is impossible. The thing is, I don’t know that any of them, the band that is, really want that sort of friendship with a fan. They certainly aren’t seeking that out, and they’re not wrong.  The very idea that any of us as fans would hope for that as a possibility is weird, if you think about it. The boundaries are there for a reason. Once you’re a friend, you really can’t be a fan, and I would even argue that if you’re a fan that has become a friend, it probably makes it really weird to befriend other fans. The complexities are real.

I am really not sure where I sit in all this mess. It was just something that occurred to me a week back or so… that I just don’t know if I really want to spend my time chasing something or someone that doesn’t truly want to be caught. I have friends in real life who actually do want to talk with me, that value my opinion, my hard work and my friendship… and they don’t automatically assume (by decades of field training) that I want to completely consume every last portion of their being.

Let’s just consider the fact that much of the time when you tweet any last one of them in the band, it’s essentially the same response as talking to the wall at home. Think about that a bit. I think the novelty of tweeting, hoping that they’ll respond, is kind of over for me, and that is written as someone who has gotten more than one response from John Taylor. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to him, or any of them for that matter. It’s that I’m starting to feel just a little bizarre leaving comments or tweeting when it’s very clear (to me) they’re not that interested in having a two-way communication. I can’t help but think that here I am…I’m almost 43 years old, I’ve got one child ready to go off to college and another that will be following behind relatively soon…and I’m still trying to communicate with the band I followed and loved at 12.  When am I going to get over it and realize that to them – I’m pretty much just a dollar sign? When I write that, I am very much aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily the band’s fault that message has been received (by me) loud and clear. It’s the nature of the beast, and I acknowledge that this fandom thing can be very strange. For all of us, fan and celeb alike. Sometimes it’s better not to think about it for too long because it can really feel creepy. Each of us decides for ourselves what works and what doesn’t, and I don’t fault anybody for liking Twitter, or even Instagram or Facebook for that matter. I did too, and in plenty of ways, I still do. I just think that generally speaking, my feelings about being a fan, or HOW I’m a fan, are changing.

As I said a week or two ago to a friend, it’s not that I don’t like the band or that I’ve stopped loving their music…or even that I’ll stop going to shows, or stop screaming for them when they come on stage. It’s finding a proper place for it all in my head and heart that makes sense for me.



We could change the world if we stay awake

Social media blows my mind sometimes. Some days I feel as though it’s like herding cats, and other days it feels very much like mob mentality. This particular day feels more the latter, not the former. As most know, the US government has been “shutdown”. Now, I’m not really here to get into the political discussion of whether it’s a good, bad or ridiculous thing…I’ll leave you to make those decisions on your own, but as you might have seen, this has created a whole topic of discussion on Twitter and Facebook today. I can’t really go anywhere on either site without reading a litany of posts about such things, much filled with name calling and hateful comments about people – rather than actually posting with their own ideas, apparently the easiest thing for people to do is call one side or another names.  …and we wonder why our government can’t get along? Gee, I don’t know…

In any case, it struck me today that for as long as I’ve been online, whether on a message board, Myspace or now Facebook and Twitter, crowd mentality seems to be par for the course. Generally speaking, people like jumping on a winning bandwagon. Or just a bandwagon altogether.  I’m not saying that a particular bandwagon has more merit than another, only that it seems to happen everywhere. I can remember days on DDM when a spat would break out, only to become such a spectacle that I would hear about the argument on a completely different message board! There are any number of hypotheses that can be asserted here: people love drama, the more outspoken like to get involved in such things, and social media of all kinds tends to drive people to extremes.

Most people, most Duranies anyway, would agree that people seem to love drama. Some love to create drama, some like to participate, and still others like to watch it all unfold. I’ve seen it happen on many a message board, on Twitter…and even here on the blog. Let a little controversy happen, or a less-than-positive comment come up, and sure enough we’ll almost double our page views for the day. Yes, it really IS that obvious. Let’s face it: some of the longest running TV shows in history have been dramas.  There are daytime dramas, nighttime dramas, and entire series of novels to feed that addition. Drama is so fascinating. I suppose part of it is that we all have troubles in our lives, and it’s nice to see we’re not the only ones once in a while. Someone else’s drama is our entertainment, isn’t it?  Sometimes it seems as though we forget our humanity in the daily “mess”, and that this entertainment that is happening isn’t always just a TV drama, it’s someone’s life. Hey – if someone is willing to put it all out there for all to see, then we should definitely be able to read it and secretly (or not so secretly) get a chuckle or more out of it, right? You tell me.

Back to those message boards again…no matter the subject, no matter the message board, when drama happens, there are those that are directly involved, and those that feel the urge to comment anyway. Maybe they were watching the whole thing take place and have an opinion. Maybe they felt that as an innocent bystander they could add another dimension to the discussion…maybe they feel that as a user of the message board, they have the right to get involved. Maybe it’s something else entirely, but I am sure we’ve all seen it – a discussion or spat starts between a couple of people, and the next thing you know there are 20 pages to that particular thread with at least several other people involved. The same holds true for other sorts of social media, like Twitter – but perhaps it works a little differently there due to the mechanics. Maybe one user tweets a comment about a particular subject, and still others retweet that comment. Someone sees it, disagrees, and not only replies but retweets that reply to all of his/her followers. Before you know it, the entire world is weighing in, and more continue to join in as they see fit. Again, if someone is willing to tweet their opinion on something, then surely they are begging for someone…or several thousand people…to argue with them, aren’t they?

There is a certain comfort in social media. It could be the degree of anonymity, or perhaps it’s the idea that there’s a computer screen separating you from the rest of the world. Maybe it’s the idea that no matter what you say, there’s no sense of accountability (whether that notion is true or false). Amanda and I have often wondered if we turned off the ability to comment anonymously, whether that would change the tone of the comments.  We know of many blogs, increasingly so, that no longer allow comments at all. Why is that? Surely when we blog, we expect to draw discussion, and with discussion comes an abundance of opinion, right? Even if the opinion is submitted anonymously, it is worthy, and we accept this.  However, there is a certain sort of phenomenon that tends to take place occasionally, and that’s when a comment is submitted that isn’t just a difference of opinion, but it’s one that might be filled with anger and the occasional put-down or four. When I first found myself online, probably about 17 years ago now, I wondered if people really spoke to one another in real life the way they did online. I know that none of the people I was friendly with in real life (such as neighbors or coworkers or other friends) ever really did. Nowadays though?  The world is much different. I don’t see people, especially younger people, but even people my age, taking the time to watch their words and how the address others, whether they are online or right next to one another. It does certainly seem as though social media allows for a false sense of zero accountability. I say false because, like it or not – many times we know who you are, whether you post on Twitter as yourself or a made up screen name, if you’re on Facebook and we’re friends, or whether you post here and assume that simply because you choose to post anonymously that there’s no way to find your IP address and know where it came from.  I tend to believe that we’re all accountable at least in some way for who we are as people and what we project out to the world, but that’s just me.

The other night I was watching TV and came across an interview that Piers Morgan was doing with Ricky Gervais. I was interested because they were talking about Twitter of all things. Both Ricky and Piers are active Twitter users, and it is clear that they each enjoy getting their followers riled up from time to time.  Ricky commented that Twitter is all about extremes.  You can post that the sky is blue, and there will be people that not only tell you that no, it is actually pink…but that they are personally offended that you would even mention the color blue, and they demand an apology as such. Then they retweet that comment to their followers, and before you know it, there is an angry crowd after you. It breeds not only a crowd/mob mentality, but an extreme one at that. Is it just that only the most “extreme” amongst us use twitter, or is it just that it’s only the extreme feel it necessary to comment?  What do you think??

In the meantime, I’m staying off of Twitter for the day and working on “real life” work instead!