Am I the only one who laughed at Rhonda’s blog on Wednesday in which she discussed becoming a “top fan” of Duran Duran on Facebook? I laughed hard while I read. I cannot disagree with the sentiment that becoming a top fan does not really change anything or signal success. Even though I know all that, I couldn’t help but to think, “That will never be me.” Nope. I’ll never get top fan status. It used to be that this would bother me but I think I have accepted more of who I am and how I express my fandom.
So, I don’t really respond to Duran Duran on Facebook or Twitter. I’m not totally sure why. I could give a few possible reasons. First, I have a job that does not really allow me to be on social media when I want to. I cannot exactly tell my students to teach themselves while I check the latest. Even when I have planning time (or time to prepare for class without students present), I don’t feel like I can just respond to social media much. Take yesterday. Rhonda and I exchanged tweets during my lunch. This meant that I didn’t get an assignment graded like I had hoped. I’m cool with responding to friends or family but to tweet to or in response to my favorite band seems indulgent. Besides, it isn’t like the work goes away if I don’t get it done during work hours.
Of course, that doesn’t totally explain it. I could give the argument that I work a lot. I do. That is not a lie. During campaign season, I work 70-80 hours a week. Not kidding. So I can certainly use that as a reason or excuse or whatever. That isn’t the whole deal either, though. A part of it goes beyond the lack of time or the strictness of my job. No, it has everything to do with me. I don’t respond to the band’s social media because it is easier for me that way. What do I mean by that? Simple. I cannot get rejected and that matters more than the alternative.
Here’s a true story. I have always been an outsider even with my Duranie status. Some of you might be confused by that. Even in 1984 when Duran was at the peak of their popularity in the US, it wasn’t cool to be a Duranie where I lived. At that time, I lived on the south side of Chicago. In 1984, Michael Jackson was king. No one could compete against him in my neighborhood and in my school. Yet, I dared to stick out that way. Then, a couple of years later, I found myself in a different place and different neighborhood. Did that help? Nope. People in my new hometown did not accept Duran either. For my old town, it was that they weren’t as cool as Michael. For my new one, they weren’t manly enough to be embraced. Did I switch to become a fan of someone else? Absolutely not.
Soon enough, though, I stopped trying to voice my opinion about music and bands. I learned that all it would get me is dismissal at best and ridicule at worst. Fast forward a couple of decades. I assumed that life might be different. I posted on message boards and started writing here. Soon enough, I saw that I could not compete. I wouldn’t respond in a way that was witty enough or smart enough or worse…I might come across as arrogant or a know-it-all. None of this would get me accepted by other fans. Even here, I have always known that I’m not as cool as Rhonda. People have a harder time to relate to me. I’m not married. I don’t have kids. My priorities are very different. Outside of fandom, I’m a teacher and an activist and that feels right to me.
I could respond to the band’s social media but I figure that it would just leave me open to criticism or mockery. I don’t need that in my life. It would get in the way and make me feel crummy about myself like I couldn’t measure up. Nope, it is easier and better to simply not play. This allows me to save my self-esteem and to get my work done, work that matters a LOT.
In the past, I would feel badly about that. Am I a big enough fan? I would worry. Should I be doing something else to prove it? How will the band and their team know about me? (How ridiculous that I even thought that.) Now, I’m giving myself a break. Yes, I know why I don’t respond. I accept it but I also have to be okay with not being a well-known fan. I know how much I love the band. I don’t need to be out there on the band’s social media to prove it. I accept my secondary fan status and that I won’t get some badge on social media. I understand that there are not a lot of other fans who want to friend me or follow me since I don’t talk about the band much. I am not cool and am okay with that.