Tag Archives: Twitter

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

Just Get a Picture: Simon’s Twitter Win

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sporadically during this last tour, Simon has taken to posting his view from his hotel room.  Sometimes, that view is of palm trees and a sunny sky, or a pretty flower garden. Other times, it is looking down over the top of a hotel roof, complete with industrial-sized AC units, or into a brick wall across the way, or even a tiled shower. Today, he posted one from his cabin, which is on a boat somewhere in the ocean.  I believe I read last week that he was in Cannes for the Panerai Régates Royales.  (He posted pictures from his room there, too)

Here’s the thing: I love the pictures. Simon doesn’t have to do much – just post the pics, and let his followers respond.  And I do.  And so do many others.  I have no idea if Simon reads them (I doubt it).  The point is, just by posting those snapshots of where ever he is and whatever he’s seeing at the time, he’s engaging and sharing with  his followers just like any of us might.  And THAT my friends, is the point of Twitter.

Granted, I too remember the glory days of John’s Tweetfests. I remember doubling over, cackling with laughter at some of the replies I’d see flash through my timeline when he’d be online and active. Those were good times. Sure, he was engaging and let’s face it—he had fans salivating over every last tweet.  But I think there’s a potentially hefty price that needs paid when you give so much of yourself online. I know how I feel when I’ve dug deep and shared things here. It leaves one feeling vulnerable, and that isn’t always comfortable. I think Twitter, and social media in general, is one of those things where you have to find your groove and what works for you.

What I like about Simon’s posts is that well, he actually tweets, first of all.  No, he doesn’t post all the time. He doesn’t really have to, either. It’s just nice seeing something from him every once in a while. For me personally, the toughest part about the in-between tour time is when the band just disappears. It’s silly really, but here we are, writing this blog, being fans, obsessing over every last news item, etc.  We go all out while they’re touring, and then suddenly, BAM—it is over and we’re back to real life. And there’s nothing. Talk about withdrawals! Yeah, I’m an addict. I think that’s probably pretty apparent to most everyone by now, including myself. Hello Daily Duranie!! So to actually see tweets every now and then from Simon, regardless of whether they’re about Duran Duran or not??  I’ll take ’em.

Secondly, they’re casual and light. It’s difficult (but not impossible) to be deep on Twitter. I have had conversations on there, but a lot of the nuance gets lost in 140 characters. Photos leave a lot open to interpretation, and there’s room for both depth and cheek, if you want it.  Again, I don’t know if he’s reading, but he’s definitely engaging.  I like seeing that he’s found something that seems to work.

I have friends who really don’t like Twitter. They don’t get the point. I remember when we were all sort of stuck on “Wait, you mean I just type whatever I’m doing at the moment?  Who cares?!?” It’s so far beyond that now.  I like that I can just put something out there, into the universe so to speak, and see if it catches on and causes conversation. I also use it as a sort of train of thought thing. Sometimes, I’m ranting about home. Sometimes, I’m laughing at something stupid I’ve done (that happens a lot). Other times, I’m posting about my dog. I like that it doesn’t take much time and I still get something out of it.

Twitter has its place in the sphere of social media. Facebook is personal. Twitter can be light and easy. Instagram is for the more visual amongst us. I don’t do Snapchat but I’ve been told by my kids to stay the heck off of it (I kind of take this as the “get off my lawn” statement for the young).  If I had to pinpoint the one thing I like most about Simon’s pictures is that it’s Simon being Simon. Sure, he’s Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran—I don’t think there’s any getting past that at this point for him, but I’d also like to think he’s being himself, or as much as he’s willing to share with the world.  I like it.

-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

 

 

Outside Looking Into Myself: Adult Fandom

As much as I love being with friends, it is nice to be back at home.  I think I’ve settled back in, and I might have even caught up on my rest.  Compared to the band, ten days isn’t very long to be away, but for me—it was quite a while. I’m the mom, master-scheduler, housekeeper, cook and chauffeur. I’m sure you get the idea. Things tend to fall through the cracks when I’m not here, and it’s up to me to gather the loose ends when I get home. I might be young again while touring, but when I’m home, it’s back to “adulting” I go!

This is my catch-up week before Amanda arrives next Monday evening and the madness begins again. Part of that catch-up involves reading the reviews I missed last week, and seeing some of the reactions on Twitter.  One of the comments I’ve seen over and over, whether we’re talking this tour or ten years ago, is “I feel like a kid again when Duran Duran is on that stage!”

I know that feeling well. I described the night I saw them at the House of Blues in Anaheim in 2001 with similar words. This was before the reunion, before Dom joined the band, and before Daily Duranie became “a thing.”  I caught a glimpse of myself back at the age of twelve, and I didn’t want to let go. I felt vibrant, energetic, and yeah, young.

Each time I went to a show, I felt transported back to the mid-80s. The music had a way of doing that, I guess. In many ways, that feeling was addictive. But after a while, I started experiencing the shows as an adult. That reads weirdly, but stick with me as I try to explain.

At first, it was all about experiencing Duran Duran as I would have done when I was a teen. “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”…”Planet Earth”…all of those songs…and it was because back when I was a teen, I never saw the band live. Singing and dancing my way through those shows gave me some sort of closure on that part of my life and that part of my fandom. I acted silly. I wore light-up horns. I held up signs. I did everything that I probably would have done back then. It was fantastic!

Somewhere along the line though, I stopped wearing the horns. I didn’t bring signs to shows. I stopped willing myself back to the 1980s. Instead, I started appreciating that I was in the 2000s. And then the 2010s. And so on. Don’t get me wrong, I still hope against hope that they play some of the songs I’ve never had a chance to hear live (old habits die-hard and I’m not at all sorry about that). It’s really more that when I go to the shows, I don’t feel twelve any longer. I feel like an energetic and vibrant 40-something.

What does that really mean? To begin with, I see the band a lot differently now than I did when I was a kid. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bust anyone’s fantasies here, but they are human. They are real people with failings like anyone else. (I hear gasping out there.) They sometimes make very poor fashion choices. They are occasionally very slightly off-kilter when it comes to their talking points. Other times, they are brilliant. Their music speaks to me, and for me, in ways I couldn’t have ever written on my own.

They were my childhood heroes in the same way that once upon a time, my dad was Superman. Once I grew up, I came to the harsh reality that my dad didn’t know everything and was not the strongest man on the planet.  Similarly, the same reality check came upon me for the band.  Now—well, now they are people I deeply admire, even if they have no idea who I am.

There’s also the attraction thing. Yeah, I know it isn’t cool with the Duranie guys out there that the girls notice the band’s good looks. Perhaps if someone else were writing this blog, they wouldn’t mention it, but the truth is—of course I notice. I’m female. I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice their good looks. I’m attracted to them. I scream for them.

That doesn’t mean I’m standing in the audience, desperately hoping for my one night stand with any of them. Yeah, I might be a soccer mom. Sure, I’ve been married for twenty years (to an engineer, not an accountant, thanks), and yeah – if one of them looks my way I’m gonna smile back. That said, if I were to run into the band somewhere after the show I’m not wanting for much other than a conversation. That’s part of being an adult. We can converse without expectations for more.

Despite however much screaming, flirting, or fawning I’ve done over a band member during a show, let me be clear: the last thing I need to continue my fandom is a quick one-night stand in the room of a band member. I would much rather go for friendly conversation over a beverage, and walk away knowing that no one is going to be hurt by that in the end.  Love the fantasy, hell—I wholly encourage such behavior simply by writing this fan blog—but reality is another thing altogether. Self-awareness is a real thing.  I’m not saying anyone else shouldn’t bother, but it’s not my goal.

Another thing about experiencing fandom and shows as an adult is that I really try to stay in the moment. I want to soak it all in. I can’t speak for the rest of you reading, but I swear the years from about ten to twenty-six went by in a blink. I didn’t do too many DD shows when I was in my twenties but there were a few, and I hardly remember them. Even the first few shows I went to after the reunion are a distant memory. I barely remember the first Astronaut show I went to in Chicago of 2005. The memories are a blur after a vision of the band walking to the front of the stage with a heartbeat vibrating through the floor of the arena.

As time has worn on in the years since, I have tried to remind myself to embrace each moment of the show.  If I could slow down time during any point in the set, I’d choose New Moon on Monday.  I’m still sitting here marveling over that song. I just never thought I’d hear them play it and now I’m afraid that someday I’ll forget they ever did.

Sometimes, I’m more successful than others at enjoying each note of the show. I’m still guilty of occasionally grabbing my camera during specific songs in the set. I try to remember that I don’t know what the future holds. I should enjoy each second. Kids don’t typically do that because they think they’ll live forever. Unfortunately, I know firsthand that we do not.  So I work harder to be present.

I am happily embracing that I’m in my mid-40s, seeing shows and having a blast. I feel young and vivacious, and sometimes I pay for that the next day which reminds me that yeah – age can hurt sometimes!  Even so, I wouldn’t trade this tour, or any of the experiences I’ve had along the way. I am enjoying being a fan of this band as an adult, and as John says, “You’ve just got to go with it.”

-R

The time has come

After a late night, it was really nice to sleep in this morning—a luxury I rarely allow myself at home. When I woke up, I realized that today is the day!  Amanda should be driving in and other friends will be arriving. Tonight we will celebrate the beginning of our Summer Tour 2016.

Amanda and I will celebrate the completion of our massive rewriting project.  We made it to July, and Ravinia is happening tomorrow night!!

I did see a few posts from people who went to the Nashville show last night. Seeing that the show wasn’t rained out made me happy. No one likes seeing that happen. Everyone said the show was great, but the comments that stood out most to me were the ones about the friendship we share. I love seeing other people give testimony to things Amanda and I have felt for many years now.  The love of a band brought us all together. That’s amazing.  The music is outstanding, but the real gift has been the friendships we’ve made along the way.  I love seeing other people react similarly.

Right now, I am so thankful for just being here and having the chance to celebrate with everyone, I still couldn’t care any less about what the band is playing tomorrow night. Something about the past week or so has really been a kind of wake up call to just enjoy the moments. I keep telling my sister and my friends that I just want to have fun and not worry.  Just breathing and not thinking too hard has been a relief.

Every single time I’ve set out on one of these road trips, no matter the length,  I’ve learned something more about myself. I suppose this is all as much about personal discovery as it is listening to great music and losing my cares for a couple of hours each night.  This time, it seems that I’m learning how to live in the moment and not the little things get me down.  (And I haven’t even been to a single show yet!)

I hope to see many of you at the meet ups we’re doing, or at shows along the way. If you aren’t already following us on Twitter, you might join in—I’m sure Amanda and I will have plenty to say, some of which might even be printable!  We also have an Instagram that definitely be filling up too.  We’re ready to take everyone along on this road to insanity!

The rest of my morning includes preparing for Amanda’s arrival and getting this show—Summer Tour 2016—on the road!

-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

Social media: Facets on Diamonds in the Mind

First of all, have you done your Duranie homework yet?  I know, I know – the “homework” portion of Daily Duranie is typically handled by my more-than-capable cohort, but since I just over at our message boards, I decided to mention it. In order to participate, one must register for the boards – no “anonymous” participants (sorry!), but you can pick whatever screen name you’d like and join in the fun.

Speaking of our message boards, I’m really pleased with the small group that is beginning to call the board “home”. If you’ve been shy about joining, or are nervous to join due to preconceptions of what message boards have been like in the past, I encourage you to come and take a gander. The board is small, and it’s been very friendly thus far, which is something that will continue. We aren’t there to debate the blog, or really have hard conversations about much of anything – it’s really a safe place to find community. I really hope to see more of readers participate. The more active the board, the more time people will spend there.

Interestingly enough, Daily Duranie has a number of different social media you can find us on these days. Not only do we have the blog, but we have a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a presence on both Google + and Tumblr, a YouTube channel, and the message board. I’ve done some reading recently about social media and audiences – and I’m fascinated by the idea that some rather prominent figures out there believe that the same basic type of audience can be found across all avenues of social media. Amanda and I have had lengthy conversations about this ourselves, and we’ve found something quite different in our case.

Oddly, we can post a blog here and, depending upon the topic, we can get a variety of responses and they are definitely not all the same. For example (hypothetically speaking), where the response might be all positive on Facebook, Twitter could be otherwise.  Comments here on the blog itself are usually far, far different from the comments we get in other places – not better or worse, just completely different. The demographics we reach for each type of media are very different as well. Tumblr seems to be a bit younger. Google + is hard to tell, no one really sticks around there for long, although we do get comments from time to time. Twitter and Facebook seem diametrically opposed to one another most of the time – and what I mean by that is however people are commenting or feeling on one, it is the opposite on the other. That includes if we’re getting a ton of comments in one place, we’re not getting any in the other. We post some video blogs from time to time on YouTube, and our responses there seem to be from mostly males (although rest assured there are females too), and quite frankly they seem to be pretty tech-savvy to the music industry, which is great! And, our message board? It’s the warm-fuzzy place. There’s not a lot of talk about the blog, per se (which I for one appreciate!), and it’s the place where Duranies can come, fangirl or fanboy themselves out, and not be judged. I applaud that.

Sweeping generalizations aside, my point is that the audiences across the social media spectrum are not the same. Whats more, I’m learning no matter how many places we post, engage or reach, we’re still finding fans that are more than thankful to find the blog, find other fans, or find a place to chat about the band….and there isn’t a ton of overlap, meaning that our audience on Twitter is fairly unique. If you’re checking us out on Facebook, maybe you’re not that active on Twitter. Or, if you’re into YouTube, you might not love Tumblr, and so on. For someone like me, who stumbled into this whole social media thing and learns as I go, each day brings on a new learning curve, and I love it.

It’s fairly easy to form an incredibly myopic view in fandom if you’re sticking to one source of social media. Fandom has a sort of “mob-mentality” that goes along for the ride when someone decides to stick their neck out on one issue or another. It is easy to assume you’ve seen or know everything that has gone on, or that you know the entire story based on what you’ve seen on Twitter. Think again. Just because you’ve seen the tweets of two accounts means precious little, because maybe that conversation or topic has been discussed in a variety of different places with a vast array of responses and opinions. In our case alone, we write the blog here, but it also gets posted in about four different places online before the search engines even begin to have their way with it. We get responses to blogs EVERYWHERE…from our private email to YouTube and everything in-between. It’s pretty inciting to jump on the bandwagon when you see that “everyone” on one particular social media is responding in a similar way.

However, that’s really only one facet of the diamond, isn’t it?

-R