This idea that there is span of positive and negative fans started early in the week when I was on some social networking site and saw that a friend of mine had posted something about an actor she likes who just signed on to a new project. I glanced at it quickly and planned to move past until I saw that she wanted people to comment on this new project, but only if the comments would be positive. She didn’t want to read negative reactions at all as she just wanted to be excited and happy about seeing her favorite actor in some new show. I almost responded to it, but not to react to the actor news but to respond to the no negative statements wanted comment. I didn’t, though. Then, a couple of days later, Simon hurt his back and the band had to cancel their appearance on Sirius radio. Immediately, there were negative reactions to the news as some seemed to think that this would stop Duran’s ability to do a lot of promotion and to play shows, which would seriously harm their chance at success for this album. Again, this type of reaction caught my attention and again, I thought about commenting, but didn’t.
To me, both of these types of comments are extreme. As far as the “I don’t want to hear anything negative” person goes, this seems not only silly to me but detrimental. Are all moves that a band, actor, sports team or author does good moves? I don’t think so. I have seen Duran Duran make moves that I thought were fabulous and I voice that opinion here, on social networking sites or on message boards. Like many Duranies, I was beyond thrilled with the reunion and expressed my excitement all over the place!! That was a great move, in my opinion. On the other hand, I have also seen moves that make me cringe. For example, the decision to work with Timbaland was one that I questioned. Now, years later, I might conclude that this was a bad move for them. Yet, do all Duranies agree with me? No way. I’m sure that there are many fans who liked Duran with just Simon, Nick and Warren. Maybe Warren was their favorite member. I’m also sure that there are those who think that working with Timbaland was great. Disagreements are going to happen. Should fandoms just accept the idea that everything the band/actor/author does is fabulous? I don’t think so. Part of fandom’s goal, in my opinion, is to discuss what is good and bad. I think this type of discussion keeps people involved and engaged and that once people become unengaged, then they will leave and the fandom dies. Of course, the fandom could also struggle if every fan is on the other end of the positive/negative gamut.
Some fans always seem to find something to criticize about the focus of their fandom. In these cases, it is almost like the band/actor/author/sports team can’t do anything right. In Duranland, I,sometimes, feel like these fans are just sitting and waiting for the next move because no matter what the band does, it isn’t right. It reminds me of those parents who aren’t satisfied with their kids getting Bs and As on their report cards because they should have gotten all As. It is never good enough. As much as I don’t understand the “let’s always be positive fans”, I really don’t understand the others. Isn’t there something positive and good with the band/actor/author? There must have been at one time or another or else I’m assuming that they wouldn’t have become fans in the first place. Now, I’m not saying that people should stop having opinions. I don’t think that. I also realize that there are times when it might seem that all of the moves are negative but if that is all that there is, then why still pay attention? Why still care what the moves are? If they are all bad, why not just walk away? Plus, I don’t think it does anything to help the fandom thrive, either, as this doesn’t lead to meaningful discussion either. Maybe there can be some good conversations, but after awhile, people will stop listening or caring about what Mr. or Ms. Negative is saying.
Luckily, I believe that most people in any given fandom are somewhere in between these two extremes of all positive and all negative. Most of us, Duranies, think that most of the moves have been generally good, but will agree that some haven’t been. We like to discuss which moves are which. People then engage in conversation and get to know other fans. This helps the fandom stay alive as people get a personal connection and remain part of a community and a community with diverse thinking.