You Can’t See the Truth for the Dollars in your Eyes

The other day during my planning time at work, I sat down and decided to take a break by checking into the world.  This check-in, of course, included the Twitter.  Who did I see on my little timeline?!  Yes, by now, I’m sure that each and every one of you has heard that John appeared on twitter for three little tweets.  In those tweets, he mentioned about how we was going to return next week and that he needed to get back in twitter shape.  This was welcome news for many fans who took these tweets as a sign that he was going to come back and come back for good.  As I’m sure you all remember that John used to be a fairly regular on Twitter around the release of All You Need Is Now until December of last year.  During that time, he used Twitter to answer questions and to response to many fans.  It seemed like he was using it to connect to the fans and even made references to such in his autobiography.  Then, he stopped.  Out of the blue.  No explanation was given.  He sent out a couple of other tweets when the Koshii and Hush song came out with him on vocals, but no conversations took place.  No responses to fans.  Thus, this week, when he came to say that he would be coming back, there seemed a collective sigh in the fan community.  After all, at this point, fans are pretty desperate for something from the band.  The tour ended over a year ago and no album release or tour dates on are the horizon.  I’m sure that there were many fans who thought that they might survive the Duran downtime as long as John really did come back to Twitter and this week, it seemed like they got their wish.

Then, a few hours later, Duran’s official twitter said something about how John was doing a twitter chat next week in conjunction with the release of his autobiography.  As soon I read that, I thought.  Really?  Is he just coming back to twitter to promote his book?  I tried to dismiss the idea as me being cynical but before the afternoon was up, I saw more and more Duranies vocalize the same thing.  These are smart women who were commenting about the very same thing I thought about.  If I thought that and these others thought that, is that true?  Is that all there is to this?  Should it matter if it is?  
I have no idea if the only reason that John is coming back to Twitter is to sell his book.  Is next week just a one off or the beginning of a real return with frequent tweets from him?  I certainly have no power to tell me that, but I think it is safe to say that many of us think it could very well be possible that the ONLY reason he is coming on is to sell something.  Time will tell if that holds true but that has been the case for 2013 and this seems no different as of today.  
Should this matter, is the bigger and more important question.  I know that many fans were super excited when John and Simon not only joined twitter but started to use it.  Quickly, fans could see that John was responding to people.  He wasn’t just making a quick comment about something he saw or read or thought.  No, he was reacting to people, seeming to converse.  People ate this up.  It increased excitement surrounding AYNIN and the following tour.  Fans saw this as John wanting to reach out to fans, wanting to connect, to really connect.  What fan doesn’t want to connect with one’s idol?  More importantly, fans saw it as John saying that WE matter.  FANS MATTER and that they matter to him.  Every fan wants to know that they matter and that they are appreciated.  Now, though, if John really is just tweeting for the sake of promotion, this puts his intentions before into question.  Did he really care?  Does he now?  How will we know or is the seed of doubt now planted forever?  
I’m sure that many of you are thinking that promotion does have a place in social media and that every celebrity uses it to promote their work.  That’s true.  Heck, many of my friends use it for that very reason, too.  Yet, they also use it to check in with people they care about and the people they are friends with.  They use it to connect.  Do all celebrities use it to connect?  Am I holding John to a higher standard?  I’m well aware that some celebrities only use it to promote.  Yet, I have to admit that I appreciate knowing that about them.  There is no guessing.  No false promises.  I am not looking for anything else from them but that.  John, on the other hand, convinced many/most us that he did want to connect and that it was more than just a promotional tool.  If this isn’t true, that hurts.  A lot of fans will feel lied to.  Betrayed.  While many won’t see this as a big deal, I’m sure this could turn a lot of fans off, so much that some may leave.  After all, why stay if we aren’t really appreciated, if we don’t really matter?  Many fans felt this way after Red Carpet Massacre.  They felt like the band just didn’t care.  They seemed so aloof, so uninterested in the fans that many fans left.  Many of my friends walked away.  Now, I’m sure that there are others of you reading this that are horrified that these fans would walk away “so easily”.  Yet, I assure you that it wasn’t easy for them.  They were just THAT hurt.  I’m worried that this is what will happen again.  The band should worry about that, too.
Maybe all of my worrying is for nothing.  Maybe John will prove me wrong.  I hope so.  I don’t want to feel like I did this week.  I want to believe that he does care about his fans, that he does appreciate us and that he does want to connect with us.  
-A

22 thoughts on “You Can’t See the Truth for the Dollars in your Eyes”

  1. Hey, it's not often I disagree with you, but I'm going to today! 😀 (sort of!)

    John stated some months ago very clearly (I think it was on a blog, but it might have been a KatyKafe reported here) that he was putting down twitter for the duration of writing the album, as it was a distraction to his creative energy. I believe he's honest and sincere and wonder why fans wouldn't remember this and cut him some slack for sticking to it? He said he hoped to be back, and I'm sure he will be in some form or other.

    I really admired this decision and John's statement of it, because one thing I've always seen in his behaviour on Twitter is that he has clear boundaries, he forges his own path and he shares just as much of himself as he wants to, and no more. I like his style of not really entering into conversations with individuals, as Simon does, but answering people's queries publicly with commented RTs. This means that the widest number of followers can see all his tweets, without having to click into his timeline to look at his @responses, plus it's a nice way of interacting with fans.

    I can also totally understand where he's coming from with Twitter being a distraction. I spend far too much of my energy and brainspace catching up on my timeline instead of doing other things. This is evidenced by the big pile of unread back issues of newspapers and magazines on my table at home! So I know how much of a distraction/avoidance tactic it can be. If I have a lot of work to do, I will sometimes need to leave Twitter for a day and let go of trying to catch up, as it's the only way to stay sane!

    So regardless of why he's coming back, whether it's just for the Twitter book promotion thing next week, or if he's back using the same style as before, or if he's going to try something new (hopefully not as bonkers as Nick's TV Mania Twitter outing!), I for one welcome with open arms whatever he's prepared to share.

    Bryony

  2. Why can't it be a combination of both? I certainly use Twitter as such (and Facebook and Google+ as well). In this day and age, connecting with fans via social media IS promotion, whether it is intentional or not. I think it's a matter of who cares what prompted him to return to Twitter, only to be happy about his return. (Especially considering that the band aren't greatly known for how well they are when it comes to reaching out about the fans.)

    For me, the only true Twitter transgression with promotion is having someone else tweet for you (as some celebrities do). Then it feels fake and pointless.

  3. Many of us take breaks from twitter, I myself have a business account and to be honest sometimes I forget to use the business account and when I remember its there and I need a change I go there and deal with my clients and tweet away to them.

    Let us not forget for a moment here, John Taylor is in a band Duran Duran. Duran Duran to us are our favorite musicians, to him Duran Duran is a job, a brand, his business. Do people really think that JT was ever on twitter purely to make friends with fans? Please, thats quite dillusional all tweets by him, are in business terms working the marketing and publicity opportunities. Fans are his business' customers he is doing what he has to do to keep you all interested in the brand, so why are there suggestions of betrayal and it all about the money? Of course it's about the money its purely business that's life. Use it for the opportunity that it is, to interact with your favorite pop star, because there are many who do not even bother with that. I can never understand why everything they do has to be ripped to shreds and analyzed, why can't people just be grateful and enjoy what is on offer? At the end of the day you think the book is another money making opportunity? You are probably right, and if that bothers you, simple ….. don't buy it!

  4. *coughs*

    First of all, let me address something: This blog is Daily Duranie. We have NEVER, EVER shied away from talking about things that concern fans, whether or not the masses agree. We also tear things apart, we admittedly do so – and if this offends you or you're annoyed by what we do – don't read. I understand what is being said here, but I also want to explain that hey, it's what we do. We're not really finding fault as much as we're just asking the questions. This is OK.

    I don't think that the point is whether or not they are out to make money here. That's pretty clear and no one is actually saying they shouldn't be doing that. If you're reading Amanda's blog that way, you're completely missing the point. The trouble, at least the trouble *I* find as a fan – is that it's feeling less and less organic and a WHOLE lot more contrived. It's a delicate balance that has to be struck in order for Twitter (or any social media) to work properly, and yeah – we're *daring* to stand up and say “Hey John – could really be any MORE obvious that you've got something to sell here?” Sorry, but that's reality.

    I don't think anyone believed that John joined Twitter solely to chat with fans. Well, maybe a few out there did – but it's called Social Networking and Social Marketing for a reason, isn't it? (on a side note, there are actually college courses for this now, which cracks me up) I do think though that John gave the impression on more than one occasion that he actually liked it, and so when he did take his little 10 month break (give or take) – I was honestly more than a little surprised. I understood his reasoning, that the album needed his attention, so on and so forth, but I was still surprised given that Twitter is something you can pick up and set down however you need. It's not like the timeline stacks up on you – you see as much or little as you care to see. Regardless, I was surprised whether or not the rest of the fan community felt that way. I own my opinion here.

    I think what struck me this week though, was that John came on Twitter to announce his return and it did sound very much like he was looking forward to it – and maybe he is – but I think the timing of his chat being the same day made it feel way more about publicity than anything else, and that's what called attention to the whole thing. Does it make it any less “real” or genuine? I have no idea. I just know that we're doing what we always do here: We're ASKING the fans what they think.

    I can always decide not to join in, not to buy a 4th copy of his book, or not to get involved on Twitter. It's like that for any one of us, isn't it? It's a delicate balance – John has to use social media to promote, yet if he doesn't at least sound sort of sincere, people *will* eventually grow tired. We're not as easily fooled in our 40s as we were when we were 12. I know that for me personally it takes a lot more to drive me away from my daily duties to take time out to join a Twitter chat. I just can't drop everything these days. Then again, I'm sure maybe a lot of fans are fine with whatever John and the band are willing to give. Maybe not. I don't think either way is completely wrong, and I think it's worth at least kicking around as a topic of discussion, and there isn't a single thing wrong with that. No one is suggesting that we all boycott the band, for crying out loud.

    -R

  5. I think it can, Robin. I also think one can make it sound more genuine and a lot less like marketing if they so choose. Whether or not John is doing this is simply the question we're kicking out there. 🙂

    -R

  6. Bryony,

    I think a lot of fans would agree with you. They are ready and willing to take whatever the band is willing to give, and you know – that's fine. It sells things, and that's what they want.

    I also think that there is a way to make it seem more real – by walking that fine line between marketing and genuine interest and caring for people who have been your fans for many many years – and a way to make it seem like all they need are wallets ready to make a purchase. It is pretty much up to each of us as consumers (as well as fans) to decide.

    -R

  7. I may still be missing the point here, as I thought pop stars / musicians make music, and we (the fans) buy that which is what supposed to make us happy. At what point did the way they may or may not put themselves out there become part of the contract of us liking the music? They owe us nothing, their job is to make music, we choose if we like it or not, same as with books / merchandise we choose to buy or not to buy, that is our choice, but our decision for liking / buying into it isn't and shouldn't be based upon their ability to interact or come on social media. When this band first hit the scene in the 80s when social media didnt exist, they were bigger than they ever were now, and it was their music and probably a more fickle reason being the looks but it never had anything to do with how they interact. So why is the expectation now that they must or if they do they have a reason for it? In the 80s they used to go on TV shows and perform, issue videos to sell their products, using twitter and Facebook is the modern way to ultimately achieve the same result. It is quite ridiculous for people to be even suggesting he would lose fans because he is only doing it because he want's to sell yet another copy of his book. Of course that is why he is doing it. Unfortunately, I think a lot of fans think because they buy their music this whole “they are where they are now because of us” attitude exists, and some fans think they are owed which they are not. They put themselves where they are because they have talent make great music and have repayed us with timeless classics we love and enjoy and will do for many years after the band ceases to exist. Sorry but I enjoy your blogs but disagree with this one.

  8. Fair enough. We don't write the blogs so that people agree. We write to get discussion going.

    I don't think it's actually that ridiculous to say that fans grow tired. They do. They move on. It happens. Whether or not it's because of this sort of thing or something else – well, that depends on the person. Like I said, I don't really know if there is a wrong or right answer here, only that many have commented on it. -R

  9. This is my opinion on the subject.. I personally think that John took time off from Twitter because it was the something he wanted to do. Being “John Taylor” of Duran Duran took it's toll on him before, as I am sure it does now. I think John wants to take a break from being “John Taylor of Duran Duran” for a few months. He wants to spend time being himself, being with his family, working..etc. Nothing wrong with that. Sure I accept that he (and Simon) get on twitter when it's time to sell something; but isn't that what we expected? I don't think John (or anyone else on twitter) NEEDS to be on it. It's a convenient thing, when he feels like it he will. Just like you, me or anyone else.. right. I don't blame him.. not to mention he did say he was going to take a break. I don't begrudge the man at all for not wanting to be “on” at all times of his life. We all need a break. I think Duran fans could get a little overwhelming. Just look at the Facebook page… John posts a picture of the studio and what are the responses? “Bring Andy back”, “Your hot”, “come to 'such and such' town”, “why didn't you tour here last time?”, “don't play the reflex”, “I loved your hair on the Notorious album cover”….etc. Come on. Can you imagine the bullshit he gets on his twitter feed? I imagine he wanted to take a break from that before starting the whole process over again. He uses twitter to tell us what his business affairs are, cause that is all we should really expect of him. If he wants to make a youtube about Obama..etc. Those are all additional things for us fans to take in, but that is up to him when he wants to post, what he wants to post..etc. It's not like we are just waiting for handouts. Shit, I don't call my friend and say “tell me about your job, when are you going to do this, when will this be done, can I see it, this isn't as good as your other work”. You talk to your friends about what YOU and THEM want to talk about – also an import distinction is that John Taylor is NOT our FRIEND. We love Duran, we love his skill and we admire him.. but I don't ever hang out with the man, I don't call him to shoot the breeze, I am not invited over to his house.. as I am sure most of us are not either. The window that he lets us in on should be minimal. I don't want to share my business with strangers or people that I just know of. I say if John wants to post on twitter post, if he doesn't don't. Fine by me either way. I am good letting John be John for a while rather than being “John Taylor of Duran Duran”.

  10. I think that is a completely fair and reasonable argument to make. I don't think that Amanda was suggesting that he should be on Twitter even when he doesn't wish to be. That wasn't at all what she meant (in fact, I know Amanda well enough to say that she actually prefers when John ISN'T on Twitter, because when he is – it becomes a free-for-all much like what you've mentioned)

    Thanks for posting this. It's a different angle to the entire discussion. I like that. 🙂 -R

  11. I often forget to check back after commenting but was keen to see what everyone else thought today! One thing which struck me from the above was the word 'genuine'. John has always been very genuine in his enthusiasms and what he chooses to share with fans, on twitter and elsewhere. Anyone who went to one of his book readings cannot fail to agree! But perhaps he felt he couldn't be genuinely honest, open and entertaining with us while he is writing and would rather stay away than be less than he would like – or we expect?!

  12. I will say this – the comments we get here on the blog do not tell the full story – we've seen many on Twitter who in some way or another agree with the general sentiment of Amanda's post. It's actually been a great discussion as there are many sides to this entire notion of social media…which has been great to read. That's the whole purpose of a blog like this, and I'm proud of that. Many just want to blast this post to pieces without even considering that there really are plenty of different angles to this discussion, and still others want to talk about social media and what it really means, it's purposes, the responsibilities of the band and whatnot…and expectations. Expectations are really amazing to read and ponder because everyone seems to come to the table with different ideas. I don't know, say what you will about Amanda's blog, but no matter, its gotten people talking, which I think is great. It's not about whether people agree or disagree, it's about the discussion. -R

  13. People constantly ask John if he enjoys Twitter. Is he supposed to say no, it's a drag but it's part of business now? Of course he's going to say yes. And he's going to talk about it in interviews because that is going to draw more people to his feed where he can give the message. Social media has allowed artists to sell their message directly to the public. They don't have to get it filtered through an interviewer anymore. So I would imagine that he enjoys that aspect of social media and it is probably nice to get some instant feedback or having the ability to crowd source. But Duran Duran has been interacting with fans in some fashion or another for over 30 years. I'm sure there is a feeling of BTDT. How many times can he be asked certain questions? I cannot fathom what it must be like to be on the other end of his timeline. Certainly they know that the fans matter. But how much I think is the question you are asking. Do they owe it to us to be intimate or personal? No, I don't think they do. If they do, it's nice, but I think in general it shouldn't be an expectation. As fans, I don't think we should be hurt by the realization that it is a business tool. That seems naïve.

    Following some fan interaction regarding JT's book, this blog criticized the participants as being “too personal” and that they should stick to the music. So which is it? If we as fans are supposed to stick to questions about albums and projects, can we be upset when in return JT talks only about his projects?

  14. I was surprised when at first he announced he was coming back to Twitter, because of what Bryony had said above, about him taking time off while they wrote the album. But when it became clear it was for book promotion it made more sense. I understand how everyone got so heavily invested in him being on Twitter and being accessible, because it was fun to interact with him in that way. But what's that saying, “Expectations are resentments under construction”? I believe he quoted that saying in his book. When the fans have developed an EXPECTATION of a certain kind of interaction with him and he's not providing what they think is now a standard that must be adhered to, then noses get out of joint. He's on Instagram for anyone who wants to follow him there, he doesn't really reply to people, but he's not completely out of the social media loop. He's still sharing part of himself with us, and it's not the place of the fans (IMHO) to dictate the terms of our relationship with him. He can give us or not give us whatever he wants. And every fan can choose whether or not that is enough.

  15. Interesting. After reading the comment, I went back and re-read my blog from the day of JT's hangout. My specific comments about a few of the questions were merely that some made ME squirm, BUT…my final sentence was that some of the most uncomfortable of conversations to have are often times the best. I felt at the time, that as a viewer – it was a little like eavesdropping on a group conversation. I still feel that was a fair characterization of how it felt, but that did not mean it was a bad concept or that it shouldn't have happened, and my blog doesn't even come remotely close to saying that in any way. How we got from those comments to your saying that Amanda and I have said that questions should only stick to the music – I'm not sure, but let me guess: While viewing that hangout, Amanda and I agreed that collectively WE AS FANS tend to want to know about MORE than just the music. Our “relationship” or “connection” to the band has moved well-beyond just wanting to know about the music. There's a more intimate bond there, but it's a complicated one because although we know John Taylor, it isn't a two-way street. He doesn't know but the smallest few of us in any other way but what he's recognized from Twitter or from live appearances. Our point that day was that we have moved beyond just being connected through the music.

    This is Amanda's blog, and while I've tried to explain how I'm feeling today – it's really her post and I'm going to let her respond in her own way. I just wanted to chime in with regard to your comments because I am the one who wrote about the Hangout. -R

  16. Hey y'all,
    I realize I'm gonna be in the minority with this one, but I wanted to add my two cents anyway. I'll try and be brief (not a strength!)
    Recently a friend published a book about growing up with Duran, and she 'used' twitter to promote it (probably other forms of social media as well, but FB is the devil and I refuse to look at it unless the sky is falling). I RT'd her tweets when I saw them simply because she's my friend and I want her to do well with it. It's also a good book, but that wasn't what was behind my RTs. I was sort of backing up her promo in the only way I could.
    I hear lots of people saying 'John's not your friend, he doesn't care about your life, it's a one-sided thing” etc., but that doesn't matter to me. I want him to do well with his book because I care about HIM (even though it isn't reciprocated). Im sure writing it, publishing it, putting it out there had to be EXTREMELY hard. I can't imagine the fear of judgement he must've felt, and–yes, maybe I'm projecting here–I think it helped him to know we had his back through that. I guess I think he made himself vulnerable by doing it at all, and my knee-jerk reaction to that is to do my tiny part in saying 'Atta boy. You did great.'
    My point is this: Even if his twitter return is solely for book promo, and even if he came across as disingenuous (which I don't think he did in those three little tweets), I've still got is back. I can't help it. As crazy as it is, I feel protective of him with this (projecting again!), and so the selfish me who wants that 'connection' back is trumped.
    PS–It really sucks to know people can't disagree without being mean.

  17. In my humble opinion, John will be back only on Monday and just to do promotion.
    I heard he will be “properly and more friendly” back on Twitter in Spring 2014.
    By the way, thank God it's scheduled on Monday, as on Tuesday I'll be at my eye specialist visit and my eyes will be out of order for a good part of the day.

  18. Hi there–Just a quick response to that.. How does one 'hear' something like that? (Properly and more friendly back in spring 2014) — Also, if that's true, it does sort of bolster the opinions out there that he tweets for promotion's sake.

  19. Hallelujah! Absolutely right, John is in a band, and this is his job!! Who cares if he's using Twitter to promote something – and he does not have to justify the way he is using Twitter to us. He is certainly not betraying us and treating us like we don't have a brain! Don't take it all so personally. Just enjoy it for what it is (or not).

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!