first things first! Happy New Year! thank you all for continuing into 2011 with me. I appreciate the company.
From time to time my inner sociologist gets the best of me, and I conduct pseudo case studies and analysis on various topics–all in my head, or I discuss with my friends. Based my environment at the time, it can be totally random about whatever I’m thinking–I’m a self admitted over thinker and critic. I spend a good amount of time on social networking sites, and thought I’d discuss how social media platforms help and hinder artists, in my opinion. For conversation sake, artist includes actors/singers/rappers/performers.
I remember watching CBS Sunday Morning a couple weeks ago and they did a segment on a hotel in California known for housing rising actors and talked about the stories of affairs and wild antics at this hotel. I was a bit intrigued by this info. I happen to love movies as much as music so I like to hear/read about actors and their lives prior to being super famous—their families, etc.
Reality TV has exposed us to pieces of many people’s lives and I think the very first reality show I watched religiously that wasn’t about “regular” people was the one with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. I thought their married antics were pretty cute and entertaining. I also realize that many things are edited for laughs, drama, etc. on “reality” TV so it’s not so real after all.
So on social networking sites you have the opportunity get the real deal–in real time updates. Many musical artists provide sneak peeks to new music, and at times share instant feedback about it with their followers/friends. It really allows you to interact with them in a way never possible before.
I remember being a child and being in love with ABC–that’s Another Bad Creation for those not knowing. I remember writing letters to them via the fan club address on the back of their cassette tapes. I remember going to see Immature in concert and seeing Subway perform at the skating rink and getting them to sign the poster I tore out of Right On magazine. I remember imagining how cool my favorite artists were; even while still knowing they were regular people just like me.
Recently on twitter we’ve seen certain rappers say they sometimes wish they had a normal life–being in the business since age 5 has to be somewhat difficult–only to be blasted by “fans” saying oh suck that shit up, you are rich. We’ve seen other rappers have melt downs toward “fans” for criticizing their music and just being an overall crybaby. We’ve seen rappers e-thug against each other and create TTs (trending topics) about the other based on their involvement with a certain celebrity groupie. Of course the point of the TT is to get their followers–usually regular folks like us to “go in” on said person. We’ve also seen singers get bashed for stealing men from other singers, or regular chicks or whatever. I mean…it’s all entertainment right? Is real life that messy? oh absolutely. One of my favorite sayings is “real life is stranger than fiction.” I believe this to be very true.
So going back to the TV special about this infamous Hollywood hotel, and with shows like E! Hollywood Story and VH1 Behind the Music were so popular because details about your favorite actor or singer were only rumored and it usually wasn’t until after someone created a documentary about their lives–many times after their deaths, or the dissolvement of a group, that we got to hear the details of what was “really going on”. There was a certain mystique involved with what we know as fame. We didn’t really know the people. And I was okay with that. That makes reading biographies actually interesting and informative (if biographies are your thing that is).
Now we have social media to remind us of how regular and normal these people are—which is fine, I mean they shop at Target just like we do! How jerky and narcissistic they can be. We all know the artists that only interaction with their fans is when they retweet compliments. Hell, we know regular people that do the same. And lastly, how sensitive they are to criticism and for some people how mentally unbalanced they are as well. No judgment, just saying. After all, they ARE human.
When I say I really admire the way some artists interact with their fans, I mean it. I see some of my friends @ reply about concerts and shows and get comments back from the artists thanking them and think it’s so cool! Before my page was protected, I got a few replies from folks myself and I even some mutual follows. Good stuff.
But I don’t like how people (celebrity or not) abuse the “familiarity” of real time interaction to be rude to people they wouldn’t even dare walk up on in real life. I just wouldn’t have the audacity to curse out one of my favorite singers because while I happen to think she’s awesome–yeah, she misspells words on twitter all the time. I guess this is keystroke courage, and it’s present in all online platforms–not just twitter and not just towards celebs. Trolling so to speak. And/or pandering for retweets and “LOL”s. I guess.
In the past I have always been able to separate an artist’s personal life from their music (prime example, R. Kelly) because I didn’t really know that person anyway. Being a fan of music didn’t require me to cast judgment on them, and since you can “sample/view” music and movies without spending your money you don’t necessarily have to make a financial stand against someone. I have heard several fans state that they wish they didn’t know so much about the inner workings of the minds of their faves. It can blur the lines and make it difficult to want to support someone’s creativity when you think they are just a downright terrible person and have seen the real time correspondence to support your notion,
until they delete the tweets.
I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me, I just felt like sharing. I know everyone has different reasons and expectations for how they use facebook or twitter or blogs or what have you. And nobody’s way is wrong, again this is simply MY opinion of the situation.
I’m just very cautious, yet very curious of how the world will continue to evolve, and how the line between fame and fandom will disintegrate with this technology and extreme access at our fingertips.
I purposely did not ‘name names’ or throw shots at specific people because if you are as perceptive as I am, you have an idea of whom these people are. Also, my gripe isn’t really so much with them as it is the relationship as a whole. They say “familiarity breeds contempt”…what do you say?