Tag Archives: fandom behavior

Meeting You

Since this pandemic/safer at home order began, I have found myself having lots of time to think about everything under the sun. In some ways, I feel like I’m beginning to understand myself better, including how I view connections, fandom, etc. Is it enough to just watch public performances? Is it enough to read and watch interviews? Is it enough to exchange messages online? What does it take to feel a real connection?

Initially, I started thinking about the idea of connection in relationship to politics and politicians. It is one thing to look at policies and positions and decide to vote for people based on that. It is another thing to feel motivated to campaign for them or to run someone’s campaign. When I look back at all the campaigns I have worked on, the ones that mattered most to me were not necessarily the ones with the highest position but the ones that I felt the greatest connection to. How did those connections happen? In the case of President Obama, I remember him telling a story about inner city students that felt like he had reached inside of me and brought words to my feelings. That said, my level of commitment grew when I met him. He acknowledged my work and spoke to me not as if he was the president or a presidential candidate but as my equal. It allowed me to feel instantly comfortable. In fact, I was probably too comfortable, which led me to literally whine like a middle schooler at him when he asked for more work out of me. Overall, though, getting to know political candidates as people has definitely increased not only my connection to them but my desire to help them succeed.

Does this kind of connection help with friendships and fandom? Friendship is an interesting case. As kids, people usually became friends with someone who goes to school with you or is involved in the same activities as you like sports or music. In some ways, adulthood is the same. I have met a lot of my current friends through work or my political activities. Sometimes, I have gotten to know neighbors at the various places I have lived. This would imply that face-to-face connection on top of having something in common really matters. Yet, interestingly enough, I think about Rhonda.

We first “met” online when we were nothing more than names on a message board or email. Would we have become friends through just those types of interactions? Maybe. It is hard to say. I won’t lie, though. As I started meeting more and more Duranies online, she did not stick out to me. There was nothing negative there but there did not feel like a connection, either. When I decided to go to the Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in 2004, I was looking forward to meeting, in person, so many people I had communicated with online but I cannot say that she was at the top of my list. No, it took to meeting in person, over vodka tonics, no less, that I started to think that a friendship could happen. Then, of course, the following year, we attended some shows together and the rest became history. Looking at our friendship, we are used to being far away from each other and rarely actually spending time in the same place. Yet, for me, at least, having some sort of face-to-face contact helps keep the connection.

So what about fandom? This is, obviously, a stranger situation to consider. Friendships are based on the personal. I have met many politicians through working for them or some other close connected campaign. Fandom is different, though. I am one of many. I cannot and do not expect actual connections. (I mean…my goodness…why would a celebrity want to meet me or any other fan? It just doesn’t work that way, which I’m more than okay with.) Yet, I have to admit that I like to see beyond the public persona, beyond the celebrity status. I’m not sure if that is because it makes my fandom stronger or not. It is just something I have noticed about myself. I think this is the reason that I seek out interviews. I want to see more than just their musicianship, in the case of Duran Duran. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Why else do people read magazines with celebrities or tune into talk shows? It also marks some sort of weird divide between being a casual fan and a more serious fan, for me. In the case of Duran Duran, I’ll watch any and all interviews. There are a number of interviews that I have watched a bunch. Yet, there are other bands that I would tune into an interview if it was convenient but would not go out of my way to see it. Depeche Mode comes to mind here.

As much as I watch and enjoy interviews with celebrities I am a fan of, I also know that there is still a persona that shields that person(s). I get it and do not blame them. They are, after all, aware that what they say and do could cause harm to their careers or their standing with their fans. I do the same thing standing up in front of my students. There is no way that I should step out of that role as teacher, not at that setting. Yet, I also get that my students like and enjoy when I am more myself and human with them as opposed to just educator. This is why I tell a lot of bad jokes and not-very-interesting stories. It does help to create connections. Hmm…so maybe the key is to allow some glimpses beyond a public persona to create or keep those connections.

Interestingly enough, I feel like this has been happening, naturally, in Duranland. I think we are getting some of those more human as opposed to rock star moments. Two examples come to mind. The first one is every time that John cannot get the social media platform he is using to work. His frustration is not only understandable but also relatable. It makes me think of the countless times in my classroom that I cannot get some piece of technology to work. In that moment, John Taylor is like me or I’m like him. We both have struggled in that department. Then, I think of the video that Roger recently did, which featured his kiddo. How many people have had children or pets venture into a video or conference call? Again, other people could relate. At those moments, they are no longer just celebrities on a pedestal but real people with lives, problems, moments of joy, etc. To me, those moments are even better than any interview. I get a glimpse of the real person and feel a connection. That will definitely keep me coming back for more.

A-

Is Fandom Genetic?

Is fandom genetic? I ask that question not really looking for an answer as many will want to tell me “no.” I also not talking about raising one’s kids to be Duran Duran fans because they have grown up listening and loving them. That situation, I think, would be an argument that the environment plays a big role in developing tastes, hobbies, etc. Goodness knows, I am a White Sox fan because I grew up in a house that watched a lot of White Sox baseball. I spent many hours attending baseball games in old Comiskey Park in the 70s and 80s. My entire family cheers for the team, even my nieces who grow up far away from the South Side of Chicago. No, the White Sox fandom is a situation in which nurturing created fans. To me, the question is more about having a gene that makes it likely for you to join a fandom. Is there something within my genetic makeup that draws me to fandom, for instance?

Let me be clear here. I think everyone can be a fan and probably is a fan of something. Not everyone seeks out others who are fans, which is more of what I mean about fandom. Relatively few people want to commit serious chunks of time doing something related to what they are a fan of. Even my dad who is a big White Sox fan only spends so much time and energy on it per week. Yet, some of us dive into a fandom, wanting to eat, live and breath it. Obviously, I fit into that category. As much as other things take my time, I still make sure that my week allows me to focus on Duran and being a Duranie at some point. I write this blog, at least three times a week, and spend quite a bit of time thinking about the band, especially when they are around in some capacity or when I see/hear/read something online about them. I would go see as many shows as I could and happy that I have collected as much as I have. So how come I wasn’t just content with buying their albums when they came out, going to see a concert or two? Why did/do I need to do more? Why did I need to connect with other fans?

As I start to think about this question, what pops in my head is passion. I don’t just like Duran Duran. No, my feelings are much more intense than that. When they do something awesome, I feel like I’m on top of the world. When something happens like a band member leaves, my level of concern is overwhelming. I feel deeply. That’s the question when it comes to the fandom gene. Why do I feel deeply about Duran Duran and my sister, for example, doesn’t feel deeply about anything she is a fan of? How is that since we grew up in the same house and had shared experiences?

I have pondered this question over the past week after having a long conversation with my youngest niece. My niece and I have been watching a show “together” for months now. While we live far away, we pick out a TV show to watch, agree on how many episodes to watch per week and then plan a time to discuss. At times, when we are both busy, the discussion might take place via email. Now, we are calling each other more and more to talk about the shows since we are both stuck at home. This last time led us to talk about fandom. My niece gets very passionate when she is into a show and feels deeply with various plot points. We talked about how we both loved some of the shows we watched, which led us to discuss conventions with the actors or creators attending. I told her that I had been to a couple of those conventions and enjoyed myself. As soon as I said it, I realized that I would love to go with her to one! She enthusiastically agreed! I explained that I attended those conventions alone in the past and would love company. I wanted to be with someone who got it, who understood fandom. She immediately understood and went on to share about how weird it is for her, at home, because no one at her house gets it. Her sister, her dad and her mom just like shows, movies and music but they don’t love them. No, my youngest niece and I are more kindred spirits in that way.

So how did my niece get the passion for various TV shows that she did when she did not grow up in a house with fandom? I could say that she learned it from me or her uncle (who loves comic books) but we all live far away and when we would get together, fandom was rarely a part. This is why I wonder that maybe there is a fandom gene?! What do the rest of you think? Do other members of your family also participate in fandom? If so, why? Was it learned or just part of their nature?

-A

We Twist and Shout

When we first began composing daily posts for this website, our goal was simply to share the daily activity of Duran Duran fans. Sometimes it centered around the good things, of which there are many. Other times, we focused on the not-so-great, which are not nearly as numerous, but sometimes overshadow everything else. I don’t know that we were cognizant of how many times we would write about friendship.

As fans, the one thing that bonds us all is our mutual love for the band. While we may not see eye-to-eye on anything else, including our favorite songs and albums, we all share mutual admiration for this band, which is sometimes forgotten during the heat of debate. Often, we are so set on being “right” that we forget we’ve all come together, more or less, for the same reason. Even Amanda and I forget that from time to time as we discuss blog topics with others, or defend our positions on certain posts.

Over the years, we’ve seen a great many blogs come and go. What I haven’t seen a lot of, though, are podcasts. The allure of speaking and being able to make a succinct point without tiptoeing though the minefield of written word is there, at least for me. I just don’t know that the world needs to hear more from me, at least on the subject of Duran Duran. This is why I appreciate podcasts like The D-Side, produced by my friend David. This month marks the completion of his first year at the helm, and he celebrated both the new year and the occasion by hosting a party in his hometown of Atlanta over the weekend.

I was not able to attend, unfortunately, but what drew me to write about the event was that others did. Out of nowhere, people hopped on a plane to Atlanta in order to spend one evening with other Duranies in celebratory spirit. We’re not talking about a weekend filled with events, or even a special concert somewhere. It was one evening in a club, and for some, they left the very next morning to get back to real life. If that doesn’t speak to the true definition of friendship amongst Duranies – I don’t know what will.

Duranies get a bad rap at times. Sometimes, yes, it’s earned. Bad attitudes, snarky on-line behavior, and of course the ever popular “knife-in-your-back” way with which some handle themselves tends to color all of us with one broad stroke. Even so, true friendships are out there. Amanda and I consistently run into people who gleefully tell us they met because of the band, and have remained friends ever since. She and I are in that same category. We met at a convention and have traveled great distances to meet up or get together, whether for shows, to do a road trip, or even a fun weekend.

I suppose I’m just saying that if you haven’t quite found your Duranie tribe just yet, don’t give up. With each album cycle, we find new opportunities to meet new people. Even if they don’t become your forever best friend, those people can feel a lot like home when you find yourself going to something alone.

Congratulations to The D-side on a first full-year of podcasts. I look forward to hearing more in 2020! Something tells me we’ll both have a lot to talk about and mull over.

-R

Depeche Mode’s Spirits in the Forest: Fans Connect

I know that we are supposed to be on a blogging break but I feel compelled to write. On Thursday, I went to a screening of Depeche Mode’s documentary, Spirits in the Forest, with my friend, Kristin. When I saw this advertised, I knew that I wanted to go even though I didn’t know much about the film. After all, I would list Depeche Mode as one of my favorite bands of all time. They were, in fact, the first concert I ever attended. Anyway, I went into the movie theater with a drink in hand and figured that I would just sit back and enjoy the music. I hadn’t even watched the trailer as I didn’t want any real expectations. Well, I was in for a treat.

Right away, I found myself surprised as I assumed that it would be mostly concert footage with maybe some interviews with the bands or random shots of fans. I did not expect that the film would focus on the personal stories of six fans from around the world. Almost immediately, I thought about other films that focus on fans. I did reviews of the two that popped in my mind instantly, which were Trekkies about Star Trek fans that you can read about here and Something You Should Know about Duran fans with the link to it here. In both cases, I had such high hopes for them. I wanted to see films that celebrate fans and fandom. Instead, I found both of them relying on common stereotypes about the extreme behavior of fans. It wasn’t enough to just shows fans but they needed to show fans who have collected personal items from band members or fans who love it so much that they create offices with their fandom at the center. I felt like if non-fans watched those films, they would assume that fans are all a little obsessed, maybe a little crazy. They wouldn’t be able to relate to them at all. If fans watched it, they might have a similar reaction, differentiating themselves from the images on the screen, thinking about how they are fans but not like that. There is a lot of stigma out there in the world about fans and presenting just the extreme behaviors feed or reinforce those stereotypes. So, when fans appeared on this Depeche Mode documentary, I worried.

As I watched the stories of these fans, I found that this is the exact opposite of those other documentaries. These fans were people I found myself connecting with. They were people that I wanted to meet or be around. I loved hearing about each one of their stories and, more importantly, how their fandom played a role in their lives. Then, as we learned more and more about them and their fandom, the film beautifully interweaves concert footage. These fans were not the ones with the biggest collections or the most concert experiences, although they might have been. No, that information wasn’t important. They were just people who loved Depeche Mode. People might not view them as the biggest or best fans (whatever that means anyway) but they were people who have connected to the music on a personal level and have found or kept personal connections as a result of being fans.

Throughout the film, these fans described how specific songs meant something to them and why. They explained how these songs hit them, emotionally. For example, one fan described how the song, Precious, reminded him about his divorce and his relationship with his kids. Another fan talked about how Enjoy the Silence was so fabulous to him that he tried to remake the video. In some cases, this personal sharing either brought tears to one’s eyes or laughter from the humor of the situation. You found yourself feeling what they are feeling. I know that I personally found myself connecting to the fan who listened to Depeche Mode during treatment for breast cancer as my mom was recently declared cancer free for four years. While she was undergoing chemotherapy for the same kind of breast cancer, we spent a lot of time listening to songs from women with strong, empowering messages. Music matters.

If all that wasn’t enough, the film also described how the music did more than just allow people to connect to songs but brought or kept people together. The fan with the kids created a silly cover band with his kids, bonding them for life. The fan from Romania discussed traveling to go to shows and meeting other fans that he now toured together. The woman with breast cancer educated her children about the music and more.

The film showed the absolute best part of being a fan. Fans fall in love with the music but they join a fan community to share that love with others. Some people might argue that the film should have focused more on a band. It should have had more concert footage or band interviews. Yet, the live shots brought it all together as the viewers could see that the band created this. Their music matters to people and has been the conduit between people. In this way, it celebrates Depeche Mode in a way that just a concert or interviews with the band could not. Fans are the results of producing material that matters.

-A

Here’s the trailer if you are interested. If you get a chance to go, I definitely would.

Seated In the Darkened Room

Do you thrill when the green light starts pulsing

I’m sure that by now, many of us have gotten social media requests from a Nick Rhodes, or a John or Roger…or even Simon They try to act as though they’re the REAL one, but of course, they never are. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten requests like that over the years. Even Dom has had someone spoof him and set up a page.

Normally, I wouldn’t draw attention to this, mainly because it’s silly – but I just have to wonder why people do it. Take this website, for example. It takes a lot of time to keep this up and running. I know I try to play it off as though it’s only a half-hour of my time each day, but that’s really just the writing portion. If I want to update the site, do any kind of maintenance, or God forbid there’s a problem, those things can take hours to figure out. Who has the time for more than that?

I realize that perhaps I’m missing the point. Maybe it is really fun to pretend you’re a band member and con several people (if not hundreds) into actually believing that Nick is chatting someone up on Twitter, or that Simon really cares who his fans are on Instagram. I’ll gladly admit that I’m totally missing the “fun” part of this. All I’m thinking about is that it takes a gawd awful amount of time to set up an account and then act believable enough to make people think they’re conversing with the real deal. Why would anyone bother?

Someone always watching what we do

Then there’s the whole “why on earth would you believe that Simon has the time and inclination to chat you up, anyway?” Seriously. As much as I’d love to believe that any one band member has time in their day to hear me wax poetic about them, the fact remains that they’re rock stars, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. My laundry and cleaning can pile up around me, and while my family might start giving me the sideways glare, it isn’t likely they’re going to fire me. (actually, I dare them to try it!) The band though? I don’t know, I kind of think when they’re in the studio or working to get something related, they’ve go better things to do than tell me all about how hard they’re working to make fans happy. Don’t you think?

I can understand wanting to insert yourself into the narrative. After all, I run a fan site. I get it. Where I end up lost is at the point someone decides that talking about the band isn’t enough – they want to be the band, or at least pretend. This sort of behavior is far more emotionally motivated than say, hacking into someone’s account. The perpetrator apparently wants the average fan to believe they’re the band member or celebrity, and I don’t understand why.

In the shadows

While I’m really not sure it’s completely in the same vein as Single White Female, or even stalking, it is in that general direction. Pretending to be someone you aren’t is bizarre, particularly when it seems to be done merely to gain attention, and it happens far too often to ignore and chalk up to just your typical “fan” sort of thing.

I’ve been a fan for a long time. Some might even say too long! Never once have I thought about starting a Roger Taylor account. I mean, it’s one thing to have a page about Roger Taylor (which I do not), it’s another to say you ARE Roger Taylor, you know? It’s way over on the other side of creepy as far as I’m concerned, but I’d love to know what anyone else might think is the motivation here. Chime in below!

-R

In My Fantasy Fire

I love summer break. Extra time is giving me the chance to catch up on some movies I missed. For example, a couple of weeks ago I watched Crazy Rich Asians. I had read the series (I like escapism when I’m reading for fun, obviously) and was very curious as to how the movies would turn out. It was cute and I enjoyed it. This past weekend, I was able to catch A Star is Born.

Now, I know the rest of America has already seen the movie. Like many, I sat entranced watching Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing “Shallow” at the Oscars. The song didn’t thrill me, but their chemistry was undeniable. (I think that might be called “acting”. Apparently they’re both good at it!) I was channel surfing this weekend, I decided to give the movie a try.

Looking for a token

One teeny little scene keeps replaying itself in my head. For those who may not know, Bradley Cooper plays a rock star in the movie by the name of Jackson Maine. Gaga plays a singer named Ally who is nearly giving up on her dreams of being on stage. They meet by chance at a drag club. Jackson is entranced by her. At one point, they’re sitting down on a curb in a parking lot, talking. (as one does with a rock star, you know?) She mentions to him that people seem to treat him as though being a rock star or a celebrity means he’s not a real person. Maine deflects and changes the subject almost immediately.

The scene reminded me of a conversations I’ve had. Both with other fans, as well as with people who have worked with the band. The way people react to, or treat the band, is a real thing that we’ve written about here before. I suppose to some extent, some of the circus-like atmosphere that ensues is part of the deal when you’re a celebrity. Admittedly, this is the area I most enjoy studying when it comes to fandom, and seeing the topic barely being scratched at on screen immediately piqued my interest.

There are at least two issues here: putting a celebrity on a pedestal, and, possibly as a secondary response – not seeing that star as a real person. What it is about the relationship of fan to rock star that creates this dynamic?

Something to prove

For my part, I know I’ve done some of this. When I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine any member of Duran Duran as a real person. To me, they were enigmatic “beings”…purely existing on a stage, on my TV, on the radio, and of course, in my daydreams. It never occurred to me that one day I might actually occupy breathing space any closer than say, me in nosebleed seats while they were on stage. My brain couldn’t get past the idea that they were rock stars – pure fantasy.

As an adult, particularly back during the time of the reunion shows and even the Astronaut tour, I still didn’t quite equate them with being “real”. I mean, of course I knew they were real people – but those thoughts didn’t run through my head as I pranced down hotel corridors with friends gleefully yelling “Le Bon”! (Oh yes. Yes we did. Those of you with me here know who you are.) I didn’t think about how they might react to seeing signs and posters at shows that said “Roger, can I twirl your stick?!?” (I wince ever so slightly while typing that). Cognitively, yes I knew Roger might see it, and possibly even react…but my feeling at the time was “He doesn’t know me, he’ll never recognize me after this, so who cares?!?”

I actually do care, funny how that changes….

More than a flame

But when did that really all change? I suppose that if I had to nail it down to a moment, there were two. The first was when I went to the UK with Amanda in 2011, and the second was when I was in the front row in Biloxi, 2012.

Going to the UK permanently changed me, and as result, my fandom too. There is something about walking the same streets as the band once did, seeing entire tours canceled, and then actually seeing Simon standing directly in front of me, explaining what had happened to his voice. (without anybody else screaming, or begging for pictures, or autographs in the process) I’ll never, ever forget it.

I really think it was that day when I realized that yes, these are real people. They have problems like anyone else. They LIVE like anyone else. That day, Simon was just a normal man – standing in front of us wearing a flannel shirt and denim jeans. He mentioned that a few of us had come a long way to see them, which was true. I can remember being surprised he even noticed, given the situation at hand. Despite not actually seeing them perform, I don’t regret the trip. The best way to describe my feelings is that I saw Simon as a person for the first time. I continue to have trouble rationalizing that the man who seems to recognize me, and has waved to me on more than one occasion, is in fact the same person who is in all the videos. Yet, he really is the same guy, and my life has taken an incredibly odd turn.

Even if I wait a lifetime

Later, even after we’d returned to the UK in December of that same year – something else happened to change my thinking. Amanda and I had thrown caution to the wind and traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi in 2012. We were determined to do the one thing we hadn’t experienced yet, and that was front row. We waited in that GA line, and yes, we did get those front row spots. Standing there waiting at the rail was surreal, but I felt something else stir deep in my belly. Apprehension? Concern? Nerves? Probably all of the above. The only way I can really describe this, and even then many of you may not relate to my feelings that night – was that I knew with certainty that the band would see me, and in turn, I would see them. No trickery needed. It was happening.

I could no longer pretend that they were just these figures up on a stage. For whatever weird reason, being at the rail broke some sort of bizarre boundary for me. I went from thinking of Duran Duran as these fantasy-figures to seeing them as real people… who could in turn see me, too.

It took me months after that trip to come to grips with being so close to the stage. Think about when you’ve seen the band yourselves. It is easy to trick yourself into believing they looked right at you while you were singing the words to “Ordinary World” or when you were smiling along with Nick during “Pressure Off”, regardless of how far back you are. If they look in your general direction, it is obviously meant for you – am I right?? It is another thing entirely when you are directly in front of them – no one else in front of you – and you KNOW they’re looking at you. They see you. As a real person.

Ease the lost cause

I think those moments when a band member and I saw one another as actual people, are what changed the way I viewed them. Not only were they totally knocked off of the stories-high pedestal they’d been living on since 1981 or so, but I saw them as people like me. No better, no worse. I tend to respond to them in that way on social media. It makes no difference whether or not they truly read anything or not. I “converse” with them the same way I might any one else I’ve known for over half my life. Weird? Maybe.

My curiosity about other fans and their reactions remain, though. When I mention here about what fans do to be near them or have their time – I’m not doing so in judgment. I have been with people who have no issue – they run down hallways, jump over furniture, cut in line, interrupt private meals or conversations just to have their moment. In fairness, these are all things that the band expects, and they have reacted by putting up their own personal boundaries as to what they will or will not do for fans at any given time, and rightly so. On the other hand, I know of people who are more likely to give them wide berth, even if there are no other fans around. Maybe it is due to circumstance, or because these fans can see more value in allowing the band to decide for themselves whether or not to engage.

Leave a light on

I don’t know that there is truly a “right way”. The socially accepted behavior of fandom always seems to be up for debate, and perhaps that’s the core of the issue. What is remarkable though, is how differently each of us perceive the band, and the roles they occupy for ourselves. My fascination lies not only with how we see and/or perceive our idols, but the reasons behind our behavior. I need John, Simon, Nick and Roger to be real, and in turn see me not as a crazy fan. Someone else might need for them to be on a pedestal. They need them to occupy that space seen as “perfection”. I don’t know why that is, but I like theorizing possibilities!

How do you see Duran Duran? Are they meant to be the epitome of perfection? Do you find yourself forgetting that they’re human? Are you more of the type that wouldn’t approach? How do you feel about those front row spots? Join the conversation – tell me what you’re thinking!

-R

Where is the line crossed from Fandom to Standom?

Hi everyone! Welcome to Wednesday afternoon!  I know I’ve missed a couple of blogging days, so I apologize. I am happy to say though that the “For Sale” sign is out in front of our house, and we have a big open house weekend coming up. Anybody want a house in a nice neighborhood in Orange County, CA?

Meanwhile, there is this blog, which has sadly been neglected this week. I’ve missed writing, and I must warn you that there could be a few more days of that ahead, depending upon how it all works when we actually move. Just recently, I saw a tweet from DDHQ declaring that there would be no live dates until February 2019, and that seems like a good goal for me. Get moved and unpacked by February!  I can only hope…

As I sat down to the computer today, I didn’t have anything in my head ready to write about. Someone must have read my mind and sent me an article about Stans. (Read it here)

A “Stan” is an overly obsessive fan. Funny thing about the words “overly” and “obsessive” – they require interpretation. Where is that line, and how do I not cross it?  This is a question we have continued asking since the blog was in its infancy. It would seem that there is no hard and fast answer, even when many of us would be far more comfortable if there were.

The article isn’t about asking what or who is a stan, but instead talks about the destructive culture itself. What does that mean? Well, in the case of the article, they use a recent incident involving Nicky Minaj and a critic, who dared wonder in print if Nicky could get past the “silly” stuff and write lyric with more substance. Nicky lashed out in return, sending the critic a rather violent and crude response over DM. Not to be deterred, the critic took a screen shot and posted it for all to see. Nicky’s fans went on the extreme defensive, harassing the critic on every known form of social media. They went as far as finding her cell phone number, texting her death threats, and even locating photos of her daughter and circulating them online. In my personal opinion, it was completely unwarranted, unnecessary, and over the top.

The internet allow a shroud of anonymity to hide behind, and some are not afraid of spewing vitriol whenever they disagree with something that they read. In my own experience, it has gotten to the point that I am far more careful about what I say, or even what I write about. For a select few – it in’t enough to disagree, they feel like they need to ruin someone’s reputation, and even harass family members. All for the sake of proving a point?

Disagreeing from time to time with something that is written is normal. I expect people to take issue with things I write, for example. In fact, sometimes I write with that intention in my mind. I would expect that other writers, bloggers, and social media managers are the same. What no one truly expects though, is to have their private lives ripped to shreds because a fan base, or “stan” base.

I can cite numerous examples of this within our own fan community. Attacks on critics who aren’t as positive about the band (that’s putting it mildly – as is the word “attacks”), and even the way we go after one another when someone says or writes something we don’t agree with. But where or when should it be enough? Do we need to “expose” the person on every form of social media? Going after family members and death threats were activities that were at one time left to the most obsessed. They were called stalkers, not fans.  However,  they are commonplace now, to the point where we have an entire category of fan named for them, Stans.

It is my hope that everyone reading this blog will click on the link for the article, and that doing so springboards discussion. The question I  want to now pass on to each of you reading, is simple. Where is the line? At what point do we begin to realize that not every online disagreement needs to end with a threat of questioning someone’s character, or at worst – suggesting death?

-R