As I was doing my very quick perusal of Twitter this morning, I came across an interesting group of comments directed at DDHQ…or at least the Duran Duran twitter handle. The person was clearly disappointed that he/she was never acknowledged, and attributed this to the fact that they are a younger fan. Their feeling was that the older fans are acknowledged all of the time for showing off their collections and so forth, and that younger fans are ignored.
To begin with, I don’t know this person, and I really am not sure what “young” means. Even so, I was curious by their statements. I’m not entirely sure that the band, or their management or DDHQ, really takes the time to notice whether a tweeter is young, old, or something in-between when they’re acknowledging people. I think it happens far more fluidly than all of that, and I’m not entirely sure that fans understand just how many comments the band has in their twitter feed at any given time, and that’s during the times when they themselves haven’t tweeted! Let them ask a question or call out an upcoming “Tweetstake” and their feed goes wild. So while I can understand wanting to be acknowledged, I think we have to be fair. There is just no way the band can respond to everyone. They would have to have one person dedicated 24/7, and even then, I highly doubt they could keep up.
Acknowledgement is important. Social media, and specifically Twitter, is one way we can have an ongoing “conversation” with the band. Relationship building is very important, and is done completely differently now than it was even a decade ago. It’s taken us several years to even get to THIS point, where we’re all kind of beginning to understand how Twitter (and other social media) can be used most effectively.
Much to my dismay and that of many others…it is NOT used so that the celebrities of choice are on there to chat with fans all day every day. I know, I know…it’s a shock….but we will overcome! (in case you didn’t read the sarcasm, read again. It’s there, I promise!)
It’s difficult to be a fan sometimes. Even I have found myself wondering what the point really is when weeks if not months goes by without a single interaction – and I’m not really talking about being singled out or acknowledged as much as I am saying that for me personally, it’s not as much about DDHQ remembering to say “Happy Birthday” as it is seeing members of the band active on social media from time to time. Then a day will come and without warning, John will post a photo, Dom might tweet something…maybe even Roger will post a picture on Facebook and dare to ask for it to be captioned. I’ll see these things, smile, maybe even respond…and all is well.
What is it about THOSE moments that are so special and turn me right back into a giggly teenager?!? I can’t help but laugh over the silliest of things, whether it is providing a snarky caption to the picture Roger Taylor posted on Facebook and believing he’ll actually take the time to look at the comments (it is not my fault that he left the door WIDE open to my constant teasing after practically promising to have the album completely finished by his year end Katy Kafe…), or noticing that Dom wore a particular t-shirt in a photo. It’s those tiny little things that make me (and hopefully others, otherwise I am way more into this “fan” thing than I thought…) believe that yeah, maybe they care just a little. Is it crazy? Probably so, but it’s fun. I’m sure you readers know that it’s fun as well. Otherwise, let’s be honest, we wouldn’t keep bothering. We’d listen to the music once in a while, maybe catch a show when it was convenient…or find reasons why we couldn’t..and say that we once loved Duran Duran. Past-tense.
I’ve spent time observing fan behavior. I know that sounds bizarre, but when writing a manuscript about fans…you tend to observe. For some fans, that teensy bit of acknowledgment really matters. Some go out of their way to get it, by tweeting and retweeting the same article or photo over and over again. When they are finally granted that RT from a band member or DDHQ, they wield it like a trophy, and I have no doubt that to those people – it really DOES matter that much. This isn’t about making fun, it’s about observing behavior. That’s why social media works, and that’s why bands like Duran Duran spend so much time doing it. For other fans, they like seeing the tweets from the band members, and if they are lucky enough to get a tweet back – they’re thrilled. To them, this little bit of interaction feels genuine, not forced, and as natural as chatting with a celebrity is going to get. Still others recognize Twitter and Facebook as just another advertisement for the band. They see it as a sales opportunity and don’t expect the band to really chat. They’re surprised by those who want or expect more. Still others might be there to watch the whole thing unfold, but they’re disgusted by everyone else clamoring for attention. For as many fans as there are, there are at least that many expectations…resentments “in training”.
All of that in mind, I’m still not sure how fans can ever expect the band, or DDHQ, to acknowledge them. There are tens of thousands of fans. On Twitter alone, there are over 134,000 followers. That is a LOT of tweets. As someone who writes a blog dedicated to being fans of Duran Duran, it’s rare when the band responds or notices we’re alive. I’ve had friends ask the band to acknowledge my birthday or even the blog’s birthday and it goes unnoticed. I’ve said many, many times that if we were writing the blog or were fans purely because we wanted to be noticed, we should have never started. Sure, I could take all of that personally…but I didn’t become a Duran Duran fan thinking that someday I would be best pals with the band. I became a fan because I loved their music. I fell in love with Planet Earth before I ever saw the faces behind the sound. The rest was just fantasy. Fun, delusional fantasy…but still just fantasy.