I realize that this question might be a silly one since I’m asking online, on a blog. Obviously, if people are reading this, they are not the fans I’m curious about. I’m curious about the ones who are offline or who are offline, at least in terms of fandom. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about casual fans of Duran. I define casual fans as people who have a few songs of theirs or maybe an album or two. They might say that they are fans but there is no real investment: time, money or emotions. I can say I’m a fan of many bands. I might have some songs and/or albums of those other bands but I’m a FAN of Duran. I have invested my time, certainly my money and very clearly my emotions (silly me!). My point is: are there fans who are invested, at least to some extent who aren’t online or minimally online? I don’t have an answer to this question but I do wonder. I guess I think it is possible as I’m sure that there are some people who can’t afford a computer or internet. Maybe, they don’t have the time to go online. Perhaps, they are interested but wouldn’t even know how/where to get involved. What about those people who can get online but choose not to? Why? Then, if they don’t go online, does that mean that they aren’t interested in talking about the band with other fans? Are they content with being fans on their own?
I have to admit that I struggle to understand how/why a FAN, someone who invests time, money and/or emotion, would not want to make connections with other fans. After all, if it is something worth the investment, wouldn’t you want to share what this means to you with other people who UNDERSTAND?! After all, this desire to communicate, to share with others is the very first step in someone really joining a fandom and becoming a part of a fan community. Thus, I don’t that there are many fans who fit this “don’t want to be online” category since so much of the communication and sharing takes place online. Maybe, it really is more about how people don’t know where to go. It used to be relatively easy. When I rejoined the Duran fandom, there were the message boards on dd.com. Duranduran.com would be the natural first place for fans to visit online. Thus, those message boards were often the first place people went. Of course, then, there was DDM, DuranDuranMusic, which certainly was a very popular place in its heyday. There were smaller message boards, too, like DuranDuranFans, Lizard King, Trust the Process, etc. Often, people found out about these other boards from the board on dd.com. Now, though, many of these boards no longer exist and many have become far less popular. Yet, I feel like this desire to make connections is still there. Just this week, I found myself included on a new facebook group. The focus of this new group was on former or current members of one of those once popular but is no longer boards. Many/most of these people were active posters on that board and no longer find that board to be the place to be for a variety of reasons. As people were added, they seemed genuinely excited to be chatting with each other once again. So, what is the story there? Were all of these people away from the online Duran world? Did they find a different spot online before this?
So, let’s assume that there are a lot of fans who aren’t connected to the places I am. I obviously spend a lot of time on facebook and twitter. I also venture over to the last remaining message boards, at times. Then, of course, there could be places within those locations that I don’t know about. While I like to think that I have a sense of what is happening in Duranland, I admit that I probably only know or see a sliver of what is out there. For example, there are a ton of facebook groups focusing on Duran in some way. Some of these groups are totally open to everyone, some are secret and some are everything in between. Do the members of those facebook groups only communicate among themselves? Do some members explore the rest of the online fan community to bring back news and whatnot? This, of course, leads me to think about Duran Duran. How do they find all of their fans? While I’m sure that their followers on facebook and twitter represent a lot of the fan community, do they represent all of them? How do they get word to all their fans? Heck, I think of this even when it comes to the convention. I actually get upset thinking that there are fans out there who would love to go, but don’t even know about it. I don’t want that to happen. I would love to be able to reach them to tell them about the convention. After all, the convention is all about bringing fans together and being able to really celebrate our fandom. Every fan should have that chance.
What do you think? Are all Duran fans online? If so, where do they spend their time? How do they find out about Duran and Duran related happenings?