People are nutty
I know I’ve typed those words before. Some of my readers over the years may even have taken offense to them. Truth of the matter is, we – the people – ARE nutty at times.
Lately, and I hardly think I’m the only one, I’ve been getting so many “fake” accounts following me on Instagram and Facebook. I wouldn’t know about Twitter, because I rarely pay attention there. However, Facebook and Instagram have proven to be a breeding ground for that sort of thing. I report, laugh, complain. Repeat.
Why do it?
Over the years I studied fan communities, and perhaps a bit more accurately, fan behavior, I never quite understood activities such as creating fake social media accounts. What really is the point? Is it about the art of deception? Is it a means to gain something else – and if so, what? I guess I have a hard time accepting that people really do “get off” on pretending to be someone else. Is that really enough? I mean, they honestly get so much out of pretending to be a celebrity that the hassle is worth it? And, is this really some sort of strange fan activity, or do these people just come out of the woodwork, pick a random celebrity and go for it?
Is this deception really just a fan activity? Something other fans learn to identify and avoid? My first instinct is to say no. I tend to resist the long held academic theory that fans lack something in their own lives that they are searching for in fandom. Isn’t that nonsense just virtue signaling? Is it a way of saying, “I study it, so therefore I do not share the pathology”? Or, is fandom just a particularly problematic activity? I chose to believe it was a source of joy.
Even so, every single day I either run into people who struggle with other obsessive fans online, or I myself come across somebody playing “who is the biggest fan?” Or I am notified that someone spoofing Dom’s account – likes a post I made about seeing the band five years ago. These games are just as annoying. They absolutely have the potential to kill the joy, at the very least.
I’m no expert
While I’ve done a lot of reading on the topic of fandom, I don’t think I’m really an expert. There are just too many questions, and I still don’t know the answers. I know that I don’t know much, in other words! I don’t understand why people enjoy playing these games of deception, or one-upmanship. Who do they think they’re “protecting”? Why would you want to fool other fans? What are we really “missing” in our own lives that makes us seek out fandom, anyway?
Well, at least for me, the answers aren’t going to be found in the amount of times I’ve seen the band, met the band, the number of albums I have, or the amount of fans I’ve deceived into following a fake account (spoiler: the answer is none to that last one).
I learned to do those things (well, everything but the deception part) for the pure joy of doing them, not because I truly believed they would make me feel any better about myself along the way. That is the one golden nugget of knowledge I learned over the eleven years I studied fandom.
I wanted to do something special
Back when I went and saw Duran Duran again in 2001, I was the mom of two little kids. I know I was involved in clubs at home, Girl Scouts, and things like that, but I still felt remarkably isolated. My unhappiness was palatable, I’m sure. Those were tough years on my marriage. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t leaving, either. I was antsy and anxious. Without really knowing at the time, I think I was looking for something I didn’t have in my life. I wanted to do something memorable and special.
Enter the Daily Duranie. Whether or not it met those goals is likely up for debate, but here I am on the other side of it all. I no longer feel like I need to prove myself, or do something special. I am finally, blessedly, satisfied with who I am, and what I’ve done with my life. The sense of freedom, or rather, the satisfaction I feel is self-affirming. I no longer feel like I need to go in search of something to do to prove my worth, and that feeling is golden.
My story isn’t yours
These days, fandom feels different. I’m here writing not because I am looking for anything in return. I just like writing. I’m looking forward to seeing a couple of shows on this tour. However, I can distinctly remember how desperate I was for them to get on the road back before Paper Gods. I needed them to tour. I couldn’t wait to get away and lose myself amongst the traveling, road trips, and overall debauchery. On this tour, I’m just hoping to reconnect with some friends and enjoy some great music.
I can’t speak for anyone else reading. I am certain that a good many of you just happened to like Duran’s music. Maybe you found friends online. Perhaps you like social media. I don’t know, and I wouldn’t begin to tell you why you’re a fan. I just know that for myself – there is a big difference between being a fan, and diving in head first, and not looking back, as I did.
In short, my story isn’t yours.