In the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about fandom, what I like and what I don’t like. I have been around the Duran Duran fandom long enough now that I have participated in a bunch of different ways. Maybe, I’m finally to the point where I get what I want/like these days.
When I first rejoined the fan community, like everyone else then, I sought out message boards. I tried out a couple before I found one that fit me. What did I like about Duran Duran Fans vs. the official message board or the Duran Duran Music board? I liked that it was relatively small. It didn’t take me long to figure out the key posters and see who knew who, who was friends with who, etc. I also appreciated that the general vibe of the place was more joking than serious, more sharing of opinions, politely over a know-it-all arrogance. Of course, some of that seeped in occasionally but it was nothing like what I saw elsewhere. The official board had many members, it felt like, who had been around during the “lean years” and weren’t all that welcoming to those of us returning to the fold. The fan community’s board’s focus seemed to be about who was going to which show, who had more interactions with the band, etc. Here’s a big secret about me. If I feel like I will be rejected, I just back away slowly and don’t try. Therefore, I really only lurked before finding a board more my speed.
Of course, over time, message boards died out as social media took over. On Facebook, there are many, many groups of Duran fans. I’m a member of many of them but I rarely post in any of them. I never really took to social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, etc. Yes, in typing that, I feel sort of like a little old lady. I couldn’t figure out Snapchat. Tumblr seemed to have a lot of “young” participants. I get the appeal of Instagram but I don’t really have a lot to take pictures of and certainly even fewer to share. This left Twitter, which has been my home for quite awhile now.
Daily Duranie joined Twitter a lot earlier than I did as an individual. Rhonda and I wanted a place to share the blog and everything we were doing. Obviously, Duran discussions morphed from there. It took me a long time to get my own Twitter. One reason was what I said above. Why would anyone care what the heck I was doing/thinking? Of course, I got passed that but never jumped at the chance to tweet the band or Simon or John (when he was still on there). Again, if I feel like I might get rejected or judged, I back away. I hated the vibe at that time. It felt like such a competition to get a like or a retweet or a response. I saw people push to be super clever to get some form of engagement while others tried to prove that they were the biggest fan through one method or another. Some tried to tweet to them over and over and over and over again. Everyone, it felt like, was trying to get above the fray to get noticed. I knew that I could not compete with that so I didn’t try. Part of me wondered, though, if there couldn’t be a different way. What if everyone just responded as they would normally and the rest of us could just be happy for those who got a reaction?
Now, I know that sounds like a criticism, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m not judging anyone for trying to get attention. In fact, I’m jealous of everyone who could and did try. I wished for a long time that I could be more like that or, at least, didn’t recoil from that vibe. You know, a number of years ago, a friend of mine used to tour with Rhonda and myself. She decided that as much as she liked Duran, it wasn’t for her. The culture didn’t feel good for her. I didn’t get it then but now I think I do.
I am ready to just admit it that I don’t want to compete. I don’t want to be the most knowledgeable or or the most clever. I don’t want to have to prove my love for Duran Duran and their music. I don’t want to debate fan behavior anymore. I just want to appreciate what I love about Duran. What would that look like? I’m not even sure. I know that there are accounts who are posting pictures, which is fine. Enjoyable even. I don’t mind just seeing clips of songs, videos, interviews, lyrics. Frankly, right now, I enjoy being able to share more about my personal life with other fans and enjoy when I am able to get to know them. After all, being a Duran Duran fan is one part of me, but not the only part. Now, I know that seems like an innocent statement but I also recognize that how I see the world, what I do in my spare time, what I think and feel might not be welcomed by all. I might not love everything about other people and they might not love me but it feels somehow better to me than competing. I would like to do more cheering others on and supporting them rather than proving myself to be better than them.
What about the rest of you? How much do you want to talk about Duran Duran? How do you want to talk about the band? How do you want to interact with other fans? Are you like me in that this has changed over time?