Why Twitter

This is probably the latest blog entry ever.  I apologize for that.  Today has been a crazy day.  As many of you know or have found out, our lovely little Twitter account was hacked overnight.  Thus, much of the day was spent trying to change passwords or respond to people in this regard.  What a mess!!  Anyway, Rhonda and I appreciate people’s patience while we fixed our account.  This blog entry, though, isn’t about our twitter account but about another situation that took place this week on twitter.  This week, on twitter, many tweets were made and exchanged about John Taylor’s twitter.  No, he didn’t say anything political nor did he say anything to a fan.  Instead, until yesterday, he had been off of twitter for about a month.  This absence created quite a discussion!

John’s absence from Twitter led some people/fans to speculate if he would return and also why he was tweeting to begin with.  Some fans thought or felt that John might never return and that his appearance on Twitter was solely to promote his book, the album or the tour.  Others felt that John was likely off of Twitter to write his book or to spend some with his family.  This twitter vacation did coincide with a break for Duran, which could have added to the theory that John was on Twitter just to promote.  Let’s break down this argument some.

As I stated in the first paragraph, we have a Twitter account.  We also have a Facebook account.  Thus, we use social networking.  Why?  Why did we choose to get accounts for the Daily Duranie as opposed to our own personal accounts (we both have them, by the way)?  One very large reason that we got those social networking accounts were to connect to other fans.  We wanted to get to know other fans and make friends, which is probably the reason that many of you got accounts yourself!  That said, we also got accounts for a couple of other reasons.  We are students of fandom.  We are writing a book on fandom and we cannot do that well if we don’t exchange dialogue with other fans or observe other fans.  Goodness knows that no one is going to want to read about just our opinions and our experiences!  Thus, being on Twitter and Facebook will help us understand fandom better,which will positively affect our book and whatever else we do to bring fans together!  The other reason we have those accounts is as means to share what we are doing.  We want to tell people about our blog and our book.  We want people to read what we write.  Is that straight up promotion?  I don’t know.  I suppose it depends on how you interpret promotion.  Does it matter that we don’t get paid for this?  Does that make it less like promotion?  I don’t know.  You tell me.  This leads me to think about John’s possible reasons for having a Twitter account.

Why do you think that John joined Twitter?  Were John’s reasons like ours?  I don’t know.  That said, I could analyze the possibilities.  Did John join twitter to get to know fans and to make friends?  I don’t know.  Does it appear that he wants to get to know fans?  I don’t know.  He responds to fans when he goes through those tweet-fests.  Does it appear that he wants to actually make connections?  I wish that I could say yes but he is really just answering questions or making quick comments.  Of course, we, fans, appreciate that he does this as we get to know HIM better.  So do we think that John joined twitter to understand fans?  Obviously, he is not studying fandom (or at least I don’t think he is!) but is it possible that he wants to understand Duranies and what they think?  Does he want the feedback that we provide him?  That seems possible to me as I’m sure that he gets tons and tons of tweets about people’s favorite songs or about what people thought of a show or video.  This leaves the last possibility in that John joined to promote his work.  Does John’s presence on Twitter help sell records or concert tickets?  I think that is possible as many people might start following him because they kinda liked a song or because they were fans back in the day, which leads them to check out the new material.

Now, of course, people expressed concern that John was just on Twitter to promote Duran and/or his book.  I guess I don’t really see this as a big issue and part of this is because I didn’t and don’t really think John is trying to make friends there.  At least, I don’t think he is there to make friends with fans.  This led me to believe that he was just there to get feedback and/or to promote.  While I love the idea that he wants to make us happy by becoming our friend, I don’t see it.  Yes, I don’t think he minds making us happy by answering our questions or commenting here and there.  Who knows…maybe this is his motivation.  It just feels like it is more possible that he was there for feedback or promotion.  Perhaps, making fans happy is a great side effect, a bonus, an extra. 

What difference does it make why John Taylor joined Twitter?  Really?  Does it make fans less excited when they read his tweets or get responses from him?  I don’t think so.  While I understand that people don’t want to feel used, which is what people might feel if they find out or believe that he is only there for promoting, I think it is important to remember that he is the rock star and we are just the fans.  We aren’t ever going to be friends.  Maybe I am excusing him from not being more concerned about us fans.  That’s possible.  At the same token, I want to enjoy him on Twitter whenever it does happen.  If I feel like I’m just being used, I won’t have as much fun watching for tweets.

-A 

8 thoughts on “Why Twitter”

  1. Well Duran Duran have always been about self promotion. Is that a bad thing. No. The Beatles were self promoters. Look do you think John Lennon sat in his bed naked with Yoko Ono and didn't once think “Well I know people want to listed to what I have to say”… that in and of itself is “self” promotion. You are promoting yourSELF. I think if John was on Twitter everyday all day, during Duran times or non-duran times I think it would seem that he is more about being “liked” rather than doing the twitter thing to connect with fans. He will connect with fans when he has something to say when he is promoting a book, CD, tour. I don't need a twitter about “took a shower, took a dump, ran a mile, drank some tea, have a cold…” etc. We all do that I don't post it all on Facebook either, I mean really does anyone want to know THAT much about me, or even that much about the beloved John Taylor.. I hope not, I really do, otherwise (IMO) you want to seek professional health. Think of it this way if you are so “needing to know” what your friend is doing that you call him/her every day. Really? I am understand there are friends and family that I talk to everyday, or every other day.. but once day I call, then they call a day later, or I will call if there is SOMETHING to say. John will tweet when he has something to say. If its about a book, album, or tour does that really matter? It's not how often someone calls, but what they have to say. I enjoy the occasional tweets, but I think if John tweeted everyday about everything I would say he would be more interested in being a reality TV star than a musician in Duran Duran. IMO. I might be totally wrong, and everyone can believe, not believe what they want and that is fine since we are entitled to believe what we want. This is all just MY thoughts and I wasn't intending to OFFEND anyone.

  2. I think I remember John or Simon saying it is a way that connects with the fans while maintaining a little distance. It is a good and important way to self promote, he doesn't try to hide that. However I have seen him make comments about tweeting when he is lonely, or getting his feelings hurt by a tweet. He probably engages more than he thinks he will. He has dm'd me when I shared a struggle with my sobriety, and I saw him dm someone who accidentally said something that came out rude because he didn't want them to feel bad. So it isn't all business.

    So, maybe mostly promotion with some human touch thrown in?

    thanks for the blog love it.
    Rebecca

  3. I think John joined Twitter because he loves contacts with fans… he needs contact with fans… he already made it on his own site while his solo career with chat… now he needs some rest and have to write his book…

    I know it seems to be long without him but before we didn't get any news … so I have faith in him and know any bad reasons could be behind his joining tweeter…

    Nath

  4. He and Simon were asked this very question in an interview in the May 2011 issue of 'Paper' magazine. The interviewer states:

    These days, the trend that Duran Duran is embracing most aggressively is social networking- a valuable tool for promoting the band as well as a way for the guys to feel more plugged in on the road.

    They made a conscious decision to use social media to push the album. As John Taylor explains, “I found, to my shock, that I was having a lot of fun with it. I'm enjoying the interconnectivity that comes about from tweeting and getting tweets back. We have a better sense of where we're at in relationship to our audience today.”

    Le Bon is loving Twitter too, “It's an instant two-way street. We have a lot of opinionated fans that tell us, 'You don't want to do that. Do this!”

    So, yeah, I think the initial decision was for professional reasons but that he has genuinely enjoyed interacting with us. I think he's gotten something out of this too, as a previous commenter noted, talking to us helped him quit smoking because he said he didn't want to have to tell us if he'd started again. And I remember the night of their first canceled concert, when he was flipping the TV channels, wondering what to do, and said, “I'm in GIG MODE!” After many more shows had been canceled he came on and said, “Okay, I admit it. I'm depressed.” Both times it seemed that talking to us helped him feel a little better. His tweetfests are often very funny and he seems to appreciate the clever responses he gets, remember the thread about turning DD song titles into Broadway shows? But I think it can be exhausting. One fan asked, “How do you keep up with the rush of tweets you get when you come on?” and he said, “Just breathe.” He's generous of himself with fans and I think during his month off he was just doing what he had to do to recharge. I hope he's feeling refreshed now and ready for 2012!

    And I hope talking to us on Twitter has been a way for him to know we're still here, we still care, and we still love him.

    -Lee

  5. Being in PR myself, I tell clients to use Twitter (and FB) to connect with their customers/clients. As mentioned above, it is a great way to have a limited connection. I do believe it's very smart of them to use social media to keep fans engaged. Even if it's from a bit of a distance, it's closer than a lot of fans ever get. It is all about perceptions and when the band members tweet back, or retweet a fan, it's a personal experience for that fan and that fan is more likely to buy merchandise, go to shows and talk positively about the band to others. (I can speak from personal experience now that AT has 'tweeted with me' of just how much 140 characters or less from someone you have admired for decades can mean.)

    I didn't go with a personal Twitter account myself until I heard about the live Twitter feeds at their shows. I've stayed because I've found this whole Duran Duran twitter community a fun lot and I do enjoy JT's tweet-fests and SLB's musings.

    As for why JT was off the Twitter for a bit, my guess is he needed a break. I can only imagine how many tweets he and SLB get every day. It has to be overwhelming. Everyone needs a break from being connected. It's really nice to hear that JT has responded directly to fans. I do believe that guys genuinely appreciate our devotion. ~Betsi

  6. Nath-Good point about how John used to connect with his fans online during his solo days. Would make it hard to believe that he was there just for promotion.

    Lee-Thank you SO much for bringing over that interview!!! I agree that John probably has gotten a lot out of Twitter and the examples you gave with smoking and feeling depressed were perfect!

    Betsi-Good point about allowing Johnto connect with fans at a distance. I bet that does work to his comfort level.

    -A

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