In preparing to write this blog, I sent out a general request on Twitter – if anyone had watched the event and wanted to chime in with their thoughts, they could either DM me on Twitter or send Daily Duranie an email. Everyone who responded thought the idea in general was a great way to communicate with the band, although it is the type of event that would naturally need to be very limited. For example, it would not be wise to have 50 fans attempt to video chat with John Taylor at the same time. I am sure he’d agree. Wholeheartedly. This is the sort of event that would probably need to either be used on a very limited basis with only a select few fans at a time, or something that is done more often but with few people. I’m guessing the band would go for the former (if at all) and not the latter. We fans are an overwhelming lot.
There were fans though who were disappointed by the selection process, as always. I have to admit that while the idea of having a chat with any band member is appealing, the idea of sending in a question for “judgment” by the powers that be turned me off slightly. I think the idea was to make sure people didn’t ask silly questions, and for that I’m thankful, but on the other hand, I like the organic nature of a real conversation, and I’m delighted to say that for the most part – that DID happen yesterday. The one thing I didn’t care for at all though, was the use of a moderator. I recognized her role and I can’t really fault her for doing her job. I realize that to some degree it was necessary because no fan would have wanted the conversation to end, but it made it feel a little sterile and synthetic. Less like a conversation. There has to be a better way.
I also made note that there were fans who felt a sense of unease. I will admit, I squirmed a bit in my chair during some of the questions – they just felt a little personal, as though they were questions you’d ask a close friend. I think that is something I struggle with, both personally as well as someone who writes about fandom. While you and I know the band – we’ve had them on our bedroom walls, on our stereos, lining our bookshelves and in the magazines we read and TV’s; the band still doesn’t really know us as individual fans for the most part. (some of you are luckier than Amanda and I in that regard, but for the overwhelming majority – they don’t know us much beyond our face in the crowd.) The relationship is not quite reciprocated on the same level. Those boundaries are blurred and muddled. I am not faulting the questions, mainly just noting the discomfort that I along with a few others (including Amanda) felt while watching. I could see some of those questions being asked during an more intimate conversation and setting, but as a viewer – it felt very strange. Amanda and I traded emails regarding the hangout, and something she noted was that we don’t just ask the band about the music. Granted, this particular scenario was to talk about his book, and as such it covers far more than just his career within Duran Duran, but I do think we feel that after this much time – we are ready to talk about far more than just how they felt about the last album. While I might squirm with discomfort at times, I see the point. Many of us have experienced the loss of a parent or loved one by now, and that is something that maybe makes us feel a kinship beyond a mutual love of the music with John. Still others of us grew up Catholic, or in ANY organized religion for that matter, and are struggling with our own definition of God and spirituality. Some of the best conversations may very well be the ones that make us the most uncomfortable (at least at first), so I leave this subject hanging in the air for further thought.
One of the most interesting questions for me, particularly due to the writing Amanda and I have been working on – was about social media. There is an ongoing discussion that comes up each time the band disappears from Twitter for any length of time – and it’s about whether the band is on Twitter because they genuinely enjoy communicating with the fans or whether it’s purely about business. I think that by now, most fans recognize that for the band – Social Media IS a part of the job. That doesn’t mean that they would never communicate with anyone if it wasn’t required, but it also doesn’t mean that they want to spend an inordinate amount of time on there. Again – we fans are an overwhelming lot. Even I sometimes need to take a step back. It all gets to be a bit much, and I’m not a celebrity. It’s easy to forget that communicating in person can really be much nicer than just online! So when John spoke about this topic, he talked about how much more meaningful he thinks fandom has become for the fans as a result of Twitter. He asked about making friends online through the social networking, and whether that has heightened the excitement we have for shows and things of that nature. I ask you John Taylor, have you not read our blog?? We are ALL ABOUT the social networking. Many of us would have never met without it, and when you finally got on board and embraced it – seeing the band on there, willing to even read what we’re saying about you – well, that cinched it just when I think the band was on it’s way out with many of us. None of us (well, most of us) are kids anymore. We’re grown. We have kids of our own that are now the age we were when we first found Duran Duran! It’s made being a fan much more fun again, much more three dimensional. We hear the music with our ears, we see what you are all up to by reading the news – and whether it’s overhyped in our own minds and hearts or not – we feel the love by the communication with you. (Simon, Roger and Dom…and even Nick for those who are involved on SecondLife) It’s a good thing we all embraced social networking when we did – because I really am not sure where the band, or any of us, would be without.
All in all, I found the hangout to be successful, if not short (and the cut-off was ridiculously abrupt). I hope John is brave enough to try it again at some point, if not some of the others as well.
I noted in my attempts to set up a Google+ account for Daily Duranie (by the way Amanda, we have one now – only after I had to make an appeal to Google because they weren’t letting me use our name – Daily Duranie – and I’m not even joking.) that ANYONE can set up a Google Hangout. This is something that I would love to look into more for the use of Daily Duranie! Sure, we have to wait for shows or other meet ups in order to get together, but in the meantime – maybe we can set up some hangouts for fans. Drinks, video chatting…seems like a fun thing!
Happy weekend, everyone!!