Do you feel it? The sense that shows are right around the corner? Lately, when I have had the time to glance at social media, I notice that there has been more and more discussion about the upcoming shows. Specifically, I’m seeing more and more chatter about people’s plans for the upcoming shows. As I saw these discussions, I was reminded of how it used to be on DuranDuranMusic in which there was always a flutter of discussion before a show or tour. Initially, I felt a sense of sadness that things are not like that anymore but then I realized that there were elements of the past that I don’t miss all that much.
How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards during the peak years of 2004-2007ish? I was as it seemed like quite the place to be. People hung out there day and night writing countless posts about various band members, the news, rumors and more. While the regular day was busy, it felt one couldn’t keep up when there were shows on the horizon. As soon as shows were announced, threads would be started that included roll calls for each and every show. The idea here was to have everyone going on a list. This seemed totally awesome and was for a lot of people. After all, wouldn’t it increase your excitement to know that a lot of your friends were going to something? I know that it does for me. After all, I check to see who is going to someone’s party when I am invited to one in my non-fandom life.
From a fandom stand point, a list of who is going is all good. It is a sign that a fan community is healthy and thriving, that a lot of people not only want to go but are planning on it. This could encourage others to make the decision to go as well. Maybe they see who is on the list and it is a lot of their friends so they pull the trigger to go, so to speak. Perhaps they just want to be a part of something that seems popular with the promise of an amazing time. It all shows that the subject of the fandom is doing well with their fans as people want to go see them or go to an event about them.
Yet, there is something about it that still bothers me. Does a list like a roll call do more than show how many fans are going? Does it also indicate a sense of popularity? I distinctly remember looking at these lists and seeing the same names over and over again. Are those the “in” fans I wondered? Are they the ones who know more or have more social status within the fan community? What if you are a fan who isn’t well-known? Do other fans just brush off your name, not caring that you are going? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that making or contributing to a list like a roll call is bad or mean-spirited. I don’t. Heck, I am sure that I have put my name on one a time or two or ten, but I always felt a little weird about it. I’m sure that it was done to do exactly what I said up above, that it was done to increase excitement or to just share how thrilled someone is about going. But for me, it felt problematic.
The roll call, itself, didn’t do much besides share who is going to a show or many shows, depending on how many roll calls were posted at one time. That said, they often had another element which was when additional information was shared like where their seats were. While I’m certain this just continued the excitement, I wonder how this would make the fans who couldn’t go or couldn’t go VIP. Maybe this was only a problem for me. Admittedly, I worried that no one would care if I was going or worse, that my presence would deter others from going.
Let me be honest. I know how those old threads made me feel. For a long time, I was not someone who could go to many shows. Then, even when I did, I couldn’t go VIP except for a couple of special shows. I remember how it felt to not be able to be a part of that. I know that no one was trying to make me or anyone else feel badly but they did. They made me feel like I just wasn’t part of the cool group and would never be. After awhile, I just started to pull back and stop trying to fit into the cool group whether on DDM or elsewhere.
About the same time that DDM started to die down, social media grew in popularity. At that time, it felt like Twitter was the place to be, especially when some band members were around, tweeting. That feeling of not being good enough stayed with me from DDM, though, which is why I opted not to say much. I didn’t even try. So, for me, I don’t really miss those roll calls even though I could include my name more than I ever did back then. It feels better this way to me.