Tag Archives: Facebook

Basking in the glory of top fan

Ever heard of that “Top Fan” badge that is available on Facebook? I noticed the tiny little moniker that somehow made its way onto the top of the posts from people I recognized. It only shows up when one is posting on a page like Duran Duran, and not everyone has one, apparently. From the little I know, it is something that the math geniuses at Facebook derived an algorithm to apply for those people who post a lot on a particular page.

From the onset, it seemed like the whole “top fan” thing was a bad idea. I can’t speak for other fan communities, but the competitive nature of our own certainly makes it seem like picking fans and elevating them to top fan status would generally be a nightmare. Oddly though, not many have talked about it – at least not publicly. I don’t know if it is because the badge is so tiny that it’s unnoticeable, or if it is because people like me explained that it wasn’t the band choosing to crown people as top fans, but merely Facebook.

Can you imagine the bloodshed if it were John, Roger, Simon and Nick picking out the top fans?  Even if it were found to be DDHQ behind the act, I am convinced all hell would break loose. I mean, my goodness – even when the band used to participate on social media, fans would clamor for attention and regularly try to shut one another down, and/or shame one another in the process. The whole thing seemed sketchy at best, and if the band were involved – it was only a matter of time before the entire fandom erupted, nuclear-bomb fashion.

I really don’t know how long it has been that top fan status has been a thing on Facebook. For the most part, I didn’t notice it unless someone responded directly to me that had one. I found myself wondering how many times one would need to post or react to something before the algorithm would play out in favor. I didn’t know the answer or what might trigger it.

A few weeks back, there was a notification for me saying that I’d been “awarded” a top fan badge for Richard Blade’s page. Out of all the things….but hey, I was curious, so I claimed my badge. Not much happened. No heralding trumpets. Not even any confetti or congratulatory balloons, and to be perfectly blunt,  I don’t even know if I still have one on his page. Hey, it was something!

Then last night, I went to check out Facebook before I put my phone down for the night. Lo and behold, I have somehow been awarded top fan for the Duran Duran page.  I didn’t even realize I’d reacted much to their postings lately – but I guess I did!

Immediately, I began making retirement plans. After all, this must be the success Oprah warmly and kindly taught her viewers we’d find. (I just KNEW I’d learn and be able to apply something to my life  from watching her talk show for all those years!!) “Do what you love, and you will find success.”

I am living the dream, Oprah!!

I looked at my bank account this morning. It still needs some work…. along with several more zeroes attached onto the end of another real number, but you know – it’s coming. I feel it. I’m a top fan now. I’m at the height of my achievements! This is it!!

I explained to my husband that I could sleep in this morning because I’m a top fan now.  He looked at me a little quizzically as he walked out of our bedroom at 5am this morning to commute up to Santa Barbara.  Shame. Apparently he hasn’t figured out to do what he loves just yet. Poor guy. I’m sure my success will rub off on him though, and he’ll learn from me. Isn’t that how that works?

I’m going to get back to planning that retirement, though, so I have to wrap this up. I just need to set this blog to post, work on school with the youngest, do the laundry, wash dishes, take somebody to piano lessons, clean the litter boxes, vacuum, dust, make dinner, and wash the dog. Then it is back to basking in my glory.  I am a top fan now, baby!

I made it, Mom!!

-R

I said I wasn’t going to write about the set anymore

I swore I wouldn’t talk about the set list again…but then I did. As I’m asking myself “When will you EVER learn, Rhonda”, I figure I may as well write about it.

This past weekend, I saw a post on Facebook regarding the band’s set list. I read through the comments because, well, of course I did.  A question came up about whether or not the band plays a lot of their B-sides. Not deep album cuts, not bonus tracks, but B-sides. I felt like I could answer the question without getting myself into a huge discussion or trouble.

I responded by saying that as a rule, they really stick to the songs most people know. Not a controversial statement by any means, and I know well enough to stay away from the emotional side of that. How I may have felt about whether or not they played Late Bar or Secret Oktober, for instance, was immaterial to that conversation. Best to stay matter of fact and move on. I answered pretty offhandedly, without a lot of flowery words, and moved on to the rest of my day.

Later that night, I picked up my phone again, only to see that more comments had in fact been made. The conversation went from discussing the actual set list, to a sideways chat about who should be blamed (meaning band member). There was a time when I might have joined in, joking along. The KEY word in that sentence is “joking”, but even back then, some people would take us seriously.

Nowadays? Oh hell no, I’m not looking for that kind of fight, because when I say something, it’s seen and broadcasted as Daily Duranie is saying something.  I get it, and I’m not even going to step one little toe into all of that. The last thing I need, is to have the word get out that Rhonda from Daily Duranie is blaming Roger (purely for example and no, I don’t blame anyone!) for the set list. Ah, no. No I am not. Have fun fellow Duranies, and I’ll see myself out.

I did eventually go back and clarify my comment because I am a sucker for punishment and couldn’t just let it go.  As I said last night, the band has a fantastic problem.  They have a large catalog of great songs to choose from, and there’s no way to please everyone. They also continue to attract an audience of NOT just die-hard fans, but a wide variety of people. Many of those only know Duran’s hits, and while that might bother some – the band would be foolish to ignore that there are people in that audience that only know songs like “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  It’s just not all that simple. I think it’s pretty obvious I’d go to the shows no matter whether they play the same set list ten times, or they switch it up.

I’ve been to shows where the band left of “The Reflex”, for example. I would go home feeling great about the gig, and there would be people on Facebook complaining about how their favorite song was left out. People would say they’d never been to a show before and that their only wish was to hear that song, and since it wasn’t played the entire concert was ruined for them. I don’t know if the band ever reads or hears about that kind of thing, but it would send me straight over the edge if I were them. I’d get to the point where I’d probably play all of the hits, fearing more comments like that if I didn’t. Particular so, if I were the least bit sensitive.

Huh. Maybe there is something to that set list thing, after all.

And, while I’m at it – they’re not the only band to stick to the same set for an entire tour or more. I saw Chic when they played on the bill with DD quite a bit during the Paper Gods tour. Every night, they played the same set list, right down to Nile’s speech about getting cancer.  I was amazed that every single night, Nile was able to keep up the energy and excitement, even when he spoke – because it was the same show. Yet I danced and felt energized. Every single night, without fail, I’d tell Amanda that I wasn’t going to dance (out of being tired), and yet there I’d go, up and at ’em before the first song was even over. Those shows were among some of the best I’ve ever seen, too.

On the same token, I’ve been to shows where a band has decided to showcase their deepest cuts, songs that only the most ardent of fans would know – and I’ve been bored stiff. I saw The Cure many years ago, and they didn’t play a single hit. I left early out of boredom, and I’m not sorry.  I’m not a huge fan of The Cure, and while I appreciated that they wanted to play for their fans, this was at a festival. Judging by the amount of people who were leaving with me, I wasn’t alone in my boredom.

Actually, Duran Duran had gone on right before The Cure that night, and they played songs everyone knew. I was way the hell back on the lawn, and even back there, the crowd was wild, dancing away throughout their set. So, I can’t really find the words to complain when Duran Duran decides to play what people know.

No, the band is never going to get it perfect for every single person. I know plenty of fans who stopped going to shows during the Paper Gods tour because as they put it, “The shows are all the same and I’m not going to pay $400 or more to see the band play the same set over and over again.”  I can’t argue with them either. They certainly have a point. Maybe Duran Duran isn’t expecting their fans to go to ten or fifteen shows on every tour. I would venture to guess most people don’t.  Those that do, well, we should expect to hear the same basic set list at least most of the time and not complain.

The band really can’t win, though. It took me a while to see that and really get it. After all, I complained about the set list for many years – something that I can’t pretend didn’t happen. That said, I can’t keep finding fault with a band who is trying to entertain their audience as best they can. Sure, I’d love to hear a B-side or bonus track thrown in for good measure, and every now and then, it HAS happened. As a rule, the band does stick to the songs most people know or have at least heard before. But every now and then, they shock the heck out of me and play something I never thought I’d hear. I’m not going to complain about those moments.

This is why I’m not going to keep writing about the set list. I’m not going to complain about specific songs anymore, either. Sure, Nick might peer down from his “Great Keyboard Rig on the Stage” and watch my reaction during the first few notes of “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but I don’t need to write about that.

All any of you need to know is that yes, even after fifty shows, I’m still going back for more. It obviously doesn’t matter what they play, I’m still on board, and I still love it every single time.

If that’s not an endorsement to convince others to go see a band, I don’t know what is.

-R

 

 

Are we still a Networker Nation?

In yesterday’s blog post, I mentioned the power of social media. Although I don’t have Sirius XM radio, within moments of the interview John Taylor did with Richard Blade on Monday, I knew what had been discussed. I felt triumphant.

Say whatever you like about the evils of Twitter and Facebook. They can definitely be a cesspool of humanity. I agree that Twitter can seem like an echo chamber. I don’t believe that Twitter changes anyone’s mind, and I don’t think it is necessarily the best place to chat about politics. In all honesty, I stay off of it as much as possible anymore because it isn’t enjoyable. The population of people that once posted has changed.  I think even the very function of Twitter has changed since its inception.

However, if I need information quickly, Twitter is my failsafe. I can put a question out there, and get an accurate answer in an incredibly  impressive amount of time. Twitter is reactive, sometimes explosively so. Facebook seems to be more of a warm, fuzzy place…most of the time. It is where I connect with extended family, and it is where I have learned things about family members that I really didn’t ever need to know. It is also where I get good and bad news from childhood friends, and find out that my former high school crushes have gained several chins and collected wives along the way in the same spirit as I have Duran Duran ticket stubs. Even so, I don’t tend to loiter on social media as I once did.

I do miss sitting around and tweeting with friends. It was like a giant chat room, and no, we didn’t always agree. That didn’t matter, though. It was about the gathering, the communication, even the immediacy and yes, even the friendship. Something happened though, and for all of the good that could be found, Twitter turned angry. It isn’t very enjoyable much of the time. I don’t see many fans on Twitter these days, at least not that are there for the pure enjoyment of being a fan. I suppose we take our cues from the band to some extent, who themselves seem to have left social media – at least as recognizable people using their own names (Not that I know otherwise. I’m just saying that if they wanted to participate under a blanket of anonymity, they probably could.)  I can’t really lay blame in any one direction. Even so, when I need information, it does have its place.

I don’t think we can ignore the fact that within moments of news breaking, whether that is a devastating earthquake, or a tour being announced, it is being discussed on Twitter. The same holds true for Facebook, although the reaction time is longer. Social media has its place, but where do we go to really enjoy being fans without the trappings that “real” life on social media has to offer? Is it that we’re all just too busy now? It wasn’t that many years ago when the message board and/or forum of DDM was a bustling place. Post counts jumped by the dozens within seconds. Does anyone still talk about the band anywhere?

Oddly, we have a message board that is largely ignored, and I need to shoulder at least half of that responsibility. I find that I spend very little time “online” these days. It isn’t because I have that much less time, it is because the last thing I want to see or do is talk politics, or read about more horrors taking place within my country. I don’t need five hundred friends sharing the same comments, memes, and complaints. I’m sick of it.  Rest assured, I feel the same as many of you, although likely not with the same intensity as some. I’m just tired of talking about it all, or reading about it. So, I stay offline as much as possible. I can’t imagine I’m alone. I check out Instagram, I smile at pictures. I love cats and dogs. I need the good things more than I need to read the bad things five hundred times.

So while there is certainly power within social media, and our fingers flying across the keys does far more to “spread the word” than it used to, I have to wonder where the fun has really gone. Is it time to fire up the message boards again? Sometimes, I wonder. I miss our online fun.

-R

A Special Tribute to Ann Le Bon

Some blogs are difficult to compose. Not because I don’t know what to write, or because I can’t think of what to say. Instead, they’re hard because I don’t know how to properly put something into words without sounding too familiar, or on the other hand, too much like a journalist. I’m neither, so….I’m going to try my best.

At some point this morning, DDHQ sent out a note from Simon letting fans know that Ann Le Bon, Simon’s mom, passed away in the night of the 19th of June.  The full note reads (copied and pasted from Duran Duran’s Facebook) as follows:

“Ann Marie Le Bon died willingly & peacefully in the night of June the 19th. She’s the person I’ve known the longest in my life.  We are all very sad.  But she has left us with overwhelming love, which she planted as seed in all of our hearts.”  

I did not ever have the good fortune to meet Ann in person, at least not that I am aware of. I don’t believe Amanda had either. Many of our readers have met her, some even having tea with her at one point or many over the years, and still others found themselves a pen pal in Ann.

As for Amanda and myself, well, we found a reader. Ann read our blog, at least often enough to decide to follow our page on Facebook. Both of us were dumbfounded—truly, we were speechless—the day that we received notification that she’d followed us. I won’t lie, at first I think both Amanda and I felt it might be a fake account, but after really looking at it, we were convinced it really was Simon’s mom, and yes, we were really pleased she thought enough of the blog to follow. Sometimes, not often but a few times over the years, she would post an encouraging comment to the page as well. I am sure she never knew how much we appreciated those, but as I move forward from this point, I’ll never forget her kindness. I’m sure many will point out that our blog was not the only fan page she followed, and that is exactly my point. She cared about the fans.

Ann was unique in that aspect, as Amanda and I have come to find over the years. She wasn’t afraid to open her heart (and home) to fans. Often times, all I need do is make mention that I write a fan blog to someone I’ve just met, whether they work in the industry or not, and I will get the side-eyed looks and stares that tell me I’ve already been labeled a freak. Family members of those in the industry tend to shield themselves from fans, much of the time—and granted—some of that (if not much of that) is out of necessity, but Ann did not operate that way. She loved us, cared about us, and to my knowledge, never mentioned that we fans were strange or odd because our fandom followed us through adulthood. I think she sensed how much we all cared about her son, which in some respects was the common bridge we shared.

As someone who has lost a parent, this is not a club anyone looks forward to joining. I think we all are cognizant on some level that our parents will not be with us on this planet forever, but however long we have them never seems quite long enough. As I said before, I didn’t know Ann personally, but it wasn’t difficult to see how much Simon adores his mum.

Grief is a weird thing. At first (at least for me, and everyone is different), the memories were almost painful. The last thing I wanted was to feel that sting and emptiness that thinking of my dad left me. As time has gone on though, I appreciate the fond memories I have of my dad. They give me comfort when I need, and sometimes—particularly when I am doing something I know he would “bust me” for doing—I can hear his voice booming in my head with a resounding, “Rhonda Lynn!!”

It makes me smile.

I hope the same for Simon and his family. My heart goes out to his entire family.

-R

I’m Not Alone: Embracing the Connection from Fans

In one way or another, I have been studying fandom now for just about nine years. You’d think I’d be an expert by now (or at least have a Master’s degree!), but instead I’ll just say that I have a very good grasp on the complications of fandom. Not an “expert”, not even very knowledgable. I just know about how much I don’t know.  Progress?  I’m not sure.

Every once in a while, something new comes down the old Twitter timeline to grease the wheels. This time, it was something a friend who had recently gone to see New Kids on the Block in concert. I believe it was an excerpt from their tour program (forgive me if that’s incorrect), and it’s certainly worthy of sharing here.

photo courtesy of @expired_data

When I read the statement, I have to admit, I wished that I had been a New Kids fan. I was never into their music, but I have friends who still go to see them. They speak of meet and greets, and fan events like cruises, and even tweeting back and forth with them on Twitter. There seems to be very little barrier (if any), between fan and band, which to me is both incredibly unusual…and honestly…a little other-worldly, given my own experiences as a Duran Duran fan. It’s completely different from what I know.

Maybe some of you would argue otherwise. Perhaps those who really know the band would say they’re just as tuned-in. Maybe not. Maybe Duran Duran is more reserved. Personally, I still revel in the moments when Simon comes to center stage just before they perform during the encore, because he usually speaks from the heart. Sometimes it’s about the fans. I appreciate that moment because it’s heartfelt. I almost always leave a show feeling bittersweet and thankful I’m fan.

There are so many potential discussions to be had here, it’s difficult to know where to begin. I can also see how easily this can slip into “why can’t Duran Duran be this way” territory, which it did the other night when I had some chats about it on Twitter.

There were tweets about the relative absence of Duran Duran members on social media (aside from the DDHQ posts). Some mentioned that sometimes the band just seems very inaccessible, cold, and distant. I had one person even say that sometimes they look down from the stage at the fans as though we’re trying to climb into their lifeboat  just a like a scene from the movie Titanic. Still others think the band is slowly trying to disengage because they are coming closer to their own retirement.

Whether or not any of that is true, I think as fans we tend to expect a lot more than any human can deliver. Also, despite speaking the same basic language, the differences between our cultures and the types of boundaries we maintain are vast. I can cite hundreds, if not thousands of tweets I’ve seen with my own eyes from fans that are miles over the line of what is socially acceptable. While yes, it’s all in good fun when we send them, we don’t know how they’re being taken on the other side. I must count myself in that insanity. I’ve done dumb things over the years just like anyone else. Lastly, the band skyrocketed to fame hard and fast at a very young age. I can’t help but believe that didn’t have some effect.

Comparing Duran Duran to the New Kids on the Block is like comparing an apple and an orange. They’re both fruit – juicy and yummy – but in completely different ways. It is unfair to hold one up to the same standards as the other, so we (I) must resist the urge.

So, let’s focus on the obvious – how cool was that statement??  I think what strikes me most is how well they recognize exactly what fans feel. Not only do they acknowledge how they feel as a band, they seem to realize that fans feel the same way. They share that connection, and one feeds the other. I’ve often wondered if bands out there really get it. NKOTB certainly does.

The last few lines really tug my heartstrings. “That reminder, that ‘somebody out there knows me’ and that ‘I am not alone.'” (Anybody know, are those lyrics?)  That’s how I feel at a show, which is crazy because Duran Duran doesn’t know me, but sometimes it feels like they do.

The one thing I’d say to Duran Duran, if possible, is that whenever I’m on social media and get into this kind of discussion with fans, invariably someone will interject and say that the interpersonal connection doesn’t matter. It’s only about the music. I can count on someone tweeting me to say that every single time. In some ways, it feels a little like a dismissive statement, in other ways, it feels like they’re trying to tell me that since I’m not “all about the music”, I’m less-than.  While I cannot deny that for some fans, it may really be all about the music… maybe they go to concerts, buy albums and go home. I don’t hear from them about my blogs, or see them online very often, if at all. I’m here to tell you that for the vast majority of Duran Duran fans that I have ever run into, it is NOT JUST ABOUT THE MUSIC. Music plays a huge part, but there’s a little something more there than just liking some songs or a few albums over the years.

I like a lot of different bands. I sing along to many different songs on the radio, and buy hundreds of albums. I love music in general. But there are remarkably few bands that I spend real time on. I mean REAL time. Forget the money, I’m talking time that could (and probably should in my case) be spent elsewhere. My friends come from this community. My travels are at least in part due to this band. I wouldn’t spend that time if I didn’t like, if not adore, the people I was supporting. I’d just sing along on the radio or buy an album and be done with it. That isn’t what is going on for me (and thousands of others) with Duran Duran. You don’t spend thirty or forty years on a band if you don’t feel some sort of connection with them. You just don’t.

Sure, you can pay someone to do all that work for you. The tweeting, the fan gatherings, the contests. Every band does that, and by all means it is a vital and necessary part of PR that no one has the time or passion to do on their own. I will just say that the few times John even goes to the trouble of sending a video that gets posted, or when Nick takes a picture pointing out Late Bar on a sign…or when Simon takes a picture from his hotel room just to share what he’s seeing, those moments are golden. Why? Because it’s an acknowledgment that we exist. That they know we’re out here, still paying attention, still supporting, still being fans…and maybe, just maybe, we actually matter to them even a fraction as much as they matter to us. It’s about the connection. Despite what some try to tell me, I know enough to realize that yes, it really does matter.

I applaud the members of New Kids on the Block for not only getting the message, but embracing it. By far, this is the most lovely thing I’ve ever read from a band to its fans.

-R

 

 

Running Against the Tide – Daily Duranie and Social Engagement

If they could see me now…

“They” in this case is all of you, and thank goodness none of you can. I’m sitting here, at 10:15 am on a Wednesday (it IS Wednesday, right?) at my computer. I have coffee in front of me, and I’m typing this while in snowflake print flannel jammies, a pink hoodie, socks, and my hair…well…it’s a mess. Tissues litter my lap (and floor if we’re being really honest. I see no point in sugar-coating now), my nose is red and raw, my lips are chapped, and apparently cracked, as I just found out (ouch). To top it all off,  I’m sweating because I am pretty sure I’m breaking my fever. Or…I’m having an amazingly bad hot flash. I really can’t even tell the difference anymore. YAY!

What does that have to do with Duran Duran?

NOTHING!!  Except that even while sick, I’m idiotic (shall we go for driven??) enough to blog. I also don’t mind sharing my far less than glamorous moments (spoiler: there are MANY) in excruciating detail. Think of it this way, however bad you might have felt this morning, I have somehow made it not seem so terrible.

So, what’s shaking today? I don’t even know. I’ve been in bed since about 7pm last night. I had my phone with me, but I gave in to the chills around 8:30 or so and finally put my phone down and curled up into a ball under my comforter and afghan. My worst writing days are those when I feel like I’ve been out of contact, and lately—well, for a while now really, I’ve removed myself from just that!

When Daily Duranie first started, I was all about the social media. I loved social engagement! I was practically a social butterfly…ONLINE. I liked flitting in and out, around and about, checking Twitter and Facebook and talking with other fans. I knew what was going on in the community, I heard the rumors, the hyperbole, and the flat-out gossip. Trouble was, some of those things nagged at me. I’d read things, and then not be able to let them go.

A common scenario would be that I’d get our Daily Duranie email and there’d be an unkind comment in there. I’d bring it up online—venting, basically—and then someone would call me out for doing so. Saying that I should expect as much, and so on. It ticked me off that I couldn’t even vent my own feelings without judgment. So, I’d swear off saying anything about the blog online, and I’d be good for a period. I’d keep my thoughts to myself, and then something would happen and I’d unleash it, only to have another Duranie play smack down. It wasn’t fun, and I started having massive writers block. I can’t necessarily attribute that to any one thing, but I can tell you that at a certain point, I started worrying about what I was writing. Would someone get mad? Did the band care? Would I get more hate mail? I wouldn’t say I obsessed about those things, but I’d hit “publish” each day, those thoughts swirled in my head.

A couple of years ago, there was a larger-than-normal blow-up. I am not going to get into details, but it taught me a lesson. First, when you make jokes – someone out there is always going to be offended. It doesn’t matter what is said, what the joke is about, someone will be offended, and reacting is the very last thing I should have done. Hindsight is an amazing thing.  Anyway…   Secondly, there are one hell of a lot of people out there in the online world that take on the role of being holier than thou. I’m not going to elaborate, but there you have it. Lastly, when someone tries to take your bliss away, don’t let them. Friends do not do that to one another. After that incident, I took some time off, and realized that I needed to change the way I handled myself and social media.

Some might remember back when Amanda and I would interact on Twitter. We’d “talk” on Daily Duranie,  which got very confusing because it seemed as though our Twitter was talking to itself (it was), but it was fun! We don’t do that these days. It is a very rare thing when I respond as Daily Duranie, and while I sometimes all of the social engagement, I enjoy the peace of mind.

I let my thoughts fly as I blog, hit “publish”, and then I am done with it.  I think it was Simon that explained that for the band, they own the album until it’s released, and then it becomes the property of the listener, of the fans, of the public. I tried very hard to understand what he meant, but for a long time his words would circle in my head and while I’d pretend to “get it”, I really didn’t. Well, I do now, 100%.  Once I hit publish, I don’t look back. The hardest days are when we get comments, and I have to read through them. Sometimes I’ll want to debate or argue, but I’ve trained myself to just hit “approve” and move on and stop thinking about it. The exercise is difficult, sometimes painful, but I have to do it. Anything else just gets me into trouble.

I typically won’t even respond on Facebook when readers discuss the topic, because when I do—invariably it gets me into muddy waters. At some point I learned that my “job”, so to speak, is simply to begin the conversation. The rest of it is up to you guys, and I let you have at it. There are times when readers completely miss my point or disagree with me, and in the past I would try to explain. I’ve realized that most of the time, it’s pointless. That doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means that I need to let you, dear reader, decide what my words mean to YOU, whether I like it or not. It has been one hell of a rough road and learning curve, but I think I’ve finally managed to learn my lesson.  Maybe. Sometimes I’ll still respond on Facebook depending upon what is said and, most importantly, who is saying it, but mostly I try not to even look.

Particularly in the case of Twitter, it is far too easy to let 140 characters get the best of you. Or me. I think most of us have had our fair number of Twitter “exchanges”, and while some don’t care what anyone else says to them, I do. The bad things tend to really stick with me. In fact, I can still relate, word for word, one of the last truly bad Twitter exchanges I had on the Daily Duranie account, and if you ask Amanda, she’ll tell you that I still bring it up from time to time. The experience spoke volumes to me, and weighed heavily. Overall, it got to the point where the negative things outweighed the positive, and it was then that I made the conscious decision to stop feeding the monster.  I couldn’t continue social engagement in the same ways without really hurting myself and the blog. Coincidentally, this is was almost about the time that Amanda and I began writing with a firm deadline, and I had to focus on writing.  In September I took a job, and now I’m not even at home as often anyway.  I suppose my priorities have changed.

So, if you were ever wondering why Amanda and I stopped participating in social engagement…there you go. My guess is that we’re not alone.

-R

Is This How We Stay Connected? The Joy of Social Media

I am thinking about quitting social media.

I remember back in the day, not so long ago when I would venture online and gleefully connect with others. I found friends I lost track of, discovered brand new friends, and even found a line of nearly direct communication with a band I’ve loved since childhood. What wasn’t to like?

It gave me great joy to chat with so many people. I still love hearing from friends I’ve known since childhood. I got back in touch with people from my old high school marching band, and there are even pictures of me from grade school floating around somewhere.  I found some of my sorority sisters, and had the chance to make things right with one of them before she died tragically in a car accident a few years back.  Social media made that happen and it still gives me a sense of peace, happiness and light knowing that Laurie knew how much I loved her before she died.

I found message boards, then MySpace and eventually Facebook and Twitter. Fans flooded the various platforms, and I rode the tide as long as possible.  I saw the band, or at least members thereof, embrace social media, and then make a hasty retreat back to the sanctity of private life.  I’ve watched fans clamor for attention, beg for retweets, offer love, respect, and admiration, often (but not always) tinged with a little lust in return.

While the band recorded new albums, I read any article I could grab, and inhaled the gossip. I poured over every last possible Katy Kafe,  gleaning whatever I could. I read interview after interview, retaining as much as possible. I debated other fans, and was taken to task more than once over things I’d written and/or posted.

I remember what it was like to be a Duranie in the mid-80s. I didn’t really worry about what was coming next. I enjoyed each album, played it until the grooves wore out (after all, we’re talking days of vinyl!).  I watched videos until my VCR would eat the tape!  Then, out of nowhere—a new song would suddenly pour out of the speakers of my radio. My heart would flood with pure joy. I didn’t think about what producer the band used, or worried about who was playing guitar. I didn’t think about meeting the band because they were untouchable. There was no such thing as Twitter, so being retweeted was impossible! I didn’t need to compete for attention from a band that was unreachable. The bliss of being a fan in the 80s.

These days, the band really isn’t online much if at all. I avoid saying a lot of what I think or feel. I don’t tell jokes about the band, because to say a single disparaging word, even in jest, is asking for trouble. My friends from high school have grown tired of the political nonsense on Facebook, as have I. My sorority sisters have moved on. Our lives are very different from they were in college thirty years ago. It was great finding them again, but we’ve run out of things to talk about. I don’t check every Duran Duran set list posted. I want something left to chance, to surprise.

Can I still balance joy to annoyance when it comes to social media?  Is it worth my time to try? Why doesn’t the band bother?? That said, privacy is golden. Where is the line of trust? Does one exist? Do I really need to know that so-and-so fervently believes the band doesn’t need a guitar player because the one they have for touring is terrible, or that Jane Doe knows that “it’s serious” that Nick isn’t on tour?  For every single thing posted, there are 50,000 opinions, and I’m talking purely about Duran Duran. Was I better off in the bliss of not knowing a single thing about the band until they did an interview?

I suppose, as I mull the possibilities, the real question is joy.  Where do I find joy? How do I keep it…and how do I ignore the rest of it?  There’s a lot of BS out there.  The “truth” is often a tangled mess. With all of the information overload available, I enjoy the moments where I’m present. While away from home, I stopped paying attention to the never-changing set list posts from the shows. Reviews were put aside until I got home. I just enjoyed being at the shows. I forced myself to stop comparing each one (not an easy task and I definitely found myself failing from time to time!), and just spent my time ENJOYING them.  Living in the moment, particularly in the shadow of social media, isn’t easy.

For obvious reasons, I can’t just quit social media. For one, this blog depends upon that interaction. Instead, I find myself working to keep social media in its place. Nothing matters more than face-to-face interaction. On the same token, many of my friends do not live next door to me. In fact, none of them live anywhere near me. I get great joy from engaging with those people.

Instead of gulping down every single last tweet or Facebook post, I am learning to be far more discerning with my time. I don’t respond unless I have the interest to do so, and I’m finding many times—I just don’t. There’s no need to argue about guitarists, or bother explaining why I feel one way or another about a particular song. I am not sure that I really need to worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, because I’m really just trying to enjoy today. I’m going to do more of that, too.

-R

 

 

Spring Break 2016!

Hi everyone,

At this moment, I should have my headphones on, writing as quickly as my little fingers can type… but I wanted to take a moment out just to write a little update for those who do not currently follow us on Facebook or Twitter. (and really, why don’t you?!?)

For the past “I-refuse-to-even-consider-how-long-it-has-been” several years, Amanda and I have worked diligently on a manuscript that we hoped to have published.  Call it Durantime if you choose, but these things take a while! The work was wildly academic with just enough color to make it interesting for others. We finished a solid draft, sent proposals to publishers and hoped for the best.

With some interest, we find ourselves with the unique opportunity to completely redirect the manuscript. We have a limited timeframe to give to such a task, and so we’ve made the difficult decision to re-establish our priorities. While we love blogging and Daily Duranie will continue with earnest very soon, we are taking at least a few weeks off to really work hard on the new version of the manuscript, hoping it will pay off in the end.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be activity here on the blog, but the lengthy writings that readers are used to will likely be a little different for the time being. And…as the band tours, readers will be happy to know we’ll cover the shows as best as we can, whether that is within our weekly “Vodka Friday” series – those will continue because even Amanda and I need breaks from reality every now and then (check them out on our YouTube channel!!), or here on the blog when we have time.

We realize the timing is pretty, well….challenging….for this to happen now, given the North America tour beginning just this week. But, we also believe that this is happening now for a reason. While we love Daily Duranie, this is part of our dream potentially coming true and one of the major reasons we took this journey to begin with.  Hopefully at some date in the future, we’ll be able to celebrate and share what we’ve been working on.

Until then, check in with us on Facebook, send us a tweet on Twitter every now and then. We’re always happy to hear from friends and readers, and we’ll definitely write when we can!

-A & R

Influencer Fans Matter

If there was ever a doubt as to how much bands need well-known faces to tout their music to their friends…all of that was put to rest today as I read this article from the International Business Times.

The good news? Social media matters. The bad news? The article focused on younger, fresher-faces than say….the ones found on here on Daily Duranie. Not that we’re old (gasp)…but when one of us has a daughter who is the same age as many of the “influencers” cited in the article…. what more can really be said in our (ok…my) defense?

The article explains that labels will go to extreme lengths to make sure that young influencers, such as those of well-known YouTube, Vine and Instagram “stars”, talk about the bands and artists labels wish to heavily promote, many times paying those people, or, at the very least, treating them to VIP-like experiences at concerts and festivals. To labels, it is a (legally…if only just barely) form of advertising, and interestingly enough, in a survey taken in 2015, 61% of marketers said that they would be either including or increasing their budgets for these influencer campaigns.

What does that mean for Duran Duran? Well, I’ll ignore the obvious – like a website featuring DAILY advertising for five and a half years now from a website and blog (along with several other forms of social media) that happens to be near and dear to my heart <wink, wink>.

Huh. Obviously, I have been looking at this all wrong….

Fans matter. It is something I’ve always said, and will continue to say. If the band wants other people to be influenced enough to buy their music – which does seem to be the issue at hand – they need to find people (or see and publicly acknowledge) the people standing right in front of them who influence their community to buy those CDs and purchase those concert tickets.

This is also the sticking point, because I think upon reading that last paragraph, the assumption must be that Duran Duran needs to find a couple of young fans to appeal to others. Wouldn’t that be lovely if it actually worked?

As with anything, this can’t just go one way. Duran Duran shouldn’t focus solely on young people. Some might even argue with me, and say they should focus on what they know – their fans that have been with them for decades – and I wouldn’t necessarily argue. However, I also know that youth is the lifeblood of the music industry. There’s really no getting around that fact. There’s also no getting around the reality of a band that is in their 50’s trying to appeal to a crowd that wasn’t even born when they had their first tastes of success (and in some cases, their second in the 90s). Work one end of that spectrum of age, and the band would most certainly lose the other, no matter the direction we’re talking.

Instead, we are looking at Duran Duran taking new directions: a ballet, a musical. Maybe another album. Maybe not. The one thing I do know for certain: Daily Duranie will continue as long as there is a band and projects to support. Some might say we’re the “older and much wiser” equivalent of what is described in that article, and I’m sure others of you would wholeheartedly disagree, saying that “anyone could do it”.  True. I wouldn’t argue otherwise, and I think that’s the point.

-R

We Danced, We Laughed, We Chatted!

I’m not going to be around much tomorrow, so I’m writing this on Sunday night.  With any luck, I am going to be at a day spa, relaxing and “balancing my qi”…as my youngest likes to say.  There will be no dancing on the valentine for me tomorrow…hopefully just some lavender-scented bliss.

Every once in a while, I tend to get so caught up in the motor that runs Daily Duranie (and my house) that I actually forget to BE a fan. I forget to take time to stop and smell the roses much beyond the occasional “listen to Paper Gods” in the car. That bugs me, too, because here I am, trying to write a blog about what it is really like to be a fan, and yet sometimes I am hard pressed to even know what to say!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that being a DD fan is drudgery. Far, far from it. It’s the peripheral stuff. You know….life: taking the kids to school, trying to put together a lesson here at home. Catching up on Twitter only to find that a couple of friends had a fantastic (and yet way way way over my head) conversation about a group I know next-to-nothing about, but very much want to learn. I catch DDHQ posting a question about favorite lyrics from Paper Gods…and my mind goes completely blank. (I truly sat back and had to think for a few minutes. “What in the hell is ON that album anyway???”) In the interim I realize I’ve shot away 30 minutes that I should have been reading my world history textbook in order to teach a lesson to my son. There’s not much time for watching videos. For laughing. For enjoying being a fan.

This (school) year seems a bit worse than previous ones as far as time goes, likely because I’ve taken on some added responsibilities by deciding to homeschool my very youngest. Sometimes I question my sanity with that decision. (like right now in this moment) Even so, I miss feeling like I can sit around and chat with my friends on Twitter or Facebook…or even on our message boards without facing some pinnacle of crisis later in the week for not spending that 30 minutes doing one of the other 10,000 things I was supposed to do during that time. I am sure I’m not alone.

That’s why last night was so precious. I was able to spend four beautiful hours just watching videos and chatting with friends, both old and new, on the Daily Duranie boards. We have a “shout box” built into the boards, which acts as a chatroom – and it’s open all the time. (I noticed a few people saying they couldn’t find the shout box – when you get to the message boards, scroll all the way down to the bottom and it’s there.) We made it into a party, called it “Dancing on the Valentine” and even gave it a theme drink. (because why not?) We made up a video playlist and hung out watching videos and chatting. I can’t even tell you how much I needed a night like that. That’s the  thing about Daily Duranie, we do this as much for ourselves as we do everyone else.

It isn’t ever very hard to remember why I became a fan. I’ve been told that this blog shows just how much love Amanda and I have for the band, even underneath all the blogs where we’re kicking their asses about one thing or another. It’s just that sometimes, I forget to actually be one.

Then there are the friendships. Oh, the friendships. It is easily the best part for me…I love seeing fans find other fans, connect and build a friendship. Hosting chats and online (and in-person) parties brings people together. Giving fans a place to meet and cultivate friendships begins to grow a loyal community, so anything that I can think of to make that happen is exactly what we’re going to do next.

Hosting chats isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. I’m really more of the type to sit back with my beverage and watch the scene unfold in person. You’re far more likely to find me in a dark corner talking to one person at a time than in the middle of a crowd. But, when it comes to Daily Duranie, somehow…I find a way to make it happen. And really, I need those moments.

Even more? I loved watching a lot of videos from Live in London, or smiling at the video for What Happens Tomorrow. I even saw clips I hadn’t seen before (there are a lot out there!!), like the band covering Starman, or the interview they did with Howard Stern back in 2006 (or something like that). In fact, I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more videos before bed tonight. (don’t tell anyone!)

Those moments, however far and few in between, renew my spirit and rejuvenate my fandom.  I hope they do the same for you, and that if you missed our little party last night, that when we announce the next one, you’ll find your way to hang out with us.

-R