Pic fr Christina Grimmie Official Facebook
Happy New Music Monday everyone!!!! It was a heavy weekend filled with so much loss and senselessness. We are truly living in an extremely scary world. When an artist can't feel free to do a meet/greet with little to no security or a group of people (ANY people), can't take a night to listen to music and dance with out fear of being gun downed.......it is a scary time. My heart and prayers go out to all of those who lost someone this weekend and the families left behind who now have to deal with the varied stigma's, assumptions, speculations, and even just the technical actual facts of what their loved one has done. Lives where lost on many levels and all for no good reason. Now, we are left behind to make a very big decision, do we let this change us? Do we allow it to lead us into living a life of fear? Do we stop going to shows? Do artists stop doing meet and greets? Do all venues shut their doors and stop the music? Do we put our lives on pause, push stop...........or super glue the freakin' play button into the ON position??!!!! My vote, we glue the freakin' play button into the ON position!!!!!! I've always lived by the idea that we are either a victim of our circumstances or a survivor of them and I have done my best in the past to live as a survivor. Even now, when walking a rather difficult part of my journey, I choose to believe, whether I can see it or not, CHOOSE to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that He has a purpose for everything. You won't get me down. Your senseless actions will NOT keep me from living life at whatever speed I choose. To stop living is to hand over the victory to these hate filled people. So, let us raise a glass, say a LOT of prayers, and push play!!!!!!
I have been going back and forth with which idea I would go with on this weeks #NewMusicMonday. I have been reading news articles all day online about both shootings this weekend. Because this is #NewMusicMonday I wanna touch on something I read concerning Christine Grimmie's story. One outlet reported that it was unknown if Grimmie had been experiencing any online threats, was being stalked, and exactly why this gunman came for her specifically. The outlet said that to Grimmie's team's knowledge she didn't have any stalkers or she at least hadn't mentioned anything to them about it. I am thinking that as the investigation continues they may get into her social media accounts, e-mail, etc. and review the interactions she has had from her fans over the last few months, etc. to try and determine if this was escalated stalking or potentially somewhat of a isolated moment of rage/insanity/jealousy/etc.
I do not know how artists deal with some of the trolls, haters, and questionable folk that approach them daily in real life as well as online. Particularly after events like this have occurred. For the most part, of course an artist genuinely loves their fans and wants to reach out to them. Let them know they are seen and heard by them, and thank them for their support and investment into their careers, but now and then there are people that make that almost impossible. As I mention in my past post "Fans, Frans and The Others" some people take extra time to hate and troll artists as well as their fans online. I have been amazed at the time and effort some haters take to create fake accounts, post hateful, rude, and straight up vulgar comments on artists pages, pictures, and even on fans personal pages. It TRIPS ME OUT!!!!!!!!! What beautiful positive change could you be making in the world if this wasn't how you are spending all your time, energy and resources??!!!
What I am thinking about right now is how we as fans can help create a safer environment for the artists/bands/personalities we love as well as each other, to be able to freely interact with out having to be as concerned with the haters and trolls. I am sure you are thinking, "How in the world can little ol' me from way over here do ANYTHING to help make an artists fan space safer?". Well, I know for myself as a fan I hesitated becoming interactive on my fave artists social media pages because I feared being lumped in with the crazies. I later realized that in allowing trolls to keep me from posting support to my favorite artists, they are winning. And that these folks whose songs we sing in the car, movies we watch on a rainy day, books we read chapter after chapter, are also just human. Like you and me they are some ones child, spouse, sibling, parent, friend, co-worker, boss, etc. They have feelings that can be hurt, enraged, made numb and encouraged just like the rest of us. They spend a ton of time away from "home", family and friends in order to chase their dreams and help you to live some of yours. All of this makes our words of support and encouragement honestly truly important to them. That is why they keep things fans hand to them in m&gs, why they repost certain posts on their social media, why they do things like periscope, facebook live or even have a social media account to begin with!! So, here are a few of my suggestions when it comes to aiding in the creation and upkeep of an at least somewhat safe virtual environment for artists and fans alike that can be done from wherever you are, whoever you are. Trolls and haters excluded of course.
1. Do NOT let the crazies/hateful/vulgar folk keep you from showing love for your fave artist via their social media pages. When you want to let someone know how one of their songs got you through a day, TELL THEM!!!! You might be surprised at how many artists actually read some of, if not all of the comments on their social media. It means more to them than you know to read the encouraging and sometimes just hilarious things fans post.
2. Do NOT let the crazies/hateful/vulgar folk keep you from making "Frans". "Frans" is a word I a little bit made up to describe those fans that become friends with one another because of their shared love of an artist/band/actor, etc., but also for those fans who attend so many shows, are so active on social media, fan clubs, etc. that they become actual friends with the artist they are supporting. So, many folks are just looking for community, a place to fit in, a place with people who love what they love and so many find it by following an artist on social media and by hitting up as many of the shows they can. There are certain artists that I truly am so impressed by how their specific set of fans have become a bit of a community. None of them living in the same city,state or even country, but acting as one group showing their support all over the world!!! It's beautiful!!!
3. Do NOT let the crazies/hateful/vulgar get away with it. If you see a comment or picture that reads as hate, inappropriate (i.e. pornographic, violent, threatening, or dangerous in anyway) please, PLEASE, please, report it. Most social media sites have a team of people who specifically work on keeping certain kinds of hate speech, vulgarity, offensive content off social media. When you report something you are helping them to do their job and you are helping to create a safer virtual environment for fans and artists to interact.
4. Do NOT fall for a scam. As I mentioned earlier, vocabulary, requests, complaints, hate, vulgar, etc. it all starts to have a similar wordage when it is the same troll posting over and over. I mean, come on people, it isn't the "DaVinci Code", it's social media. Figuring this stuff out isn't always all that difficult. It becomes very easy to spot and then of course there is basic common sense. I am telling you RIGHT NOW with 100% certainty that no, Dierks Bentley did not send you a private message asking you to help him retrieve $200,000 that he has stashed in a suit case in a locker at the train station. NO!!! No, the 14 #1's, multiple gold, platinum, and multi award winning country artist himself did NOT send you a personal message!!!!! He DIDN'T!!!!!! And he for sure did not ask you to keep it quiet because of his management team or for money!!! Most artists accounts aren't even capable of interacting privately/one on one. They are set up specifically for public posting and commenting. They aren't "private" or "personal" accounts. A lot of artists ONLY have one, official, professional, account. And yes, they do often post on them personally and not have a member of their team handle all postings, but still, they DID NOT SEND YOU A PM ASKING FOR MONEY!!!! I mean, I wish I could skip right past this point of discussion, but it happens so often that it has to be said. It's like that picture on the tag of your hair dryer that warns against blow drying your hair while sitting in a tub filled with water. You think to yourself, "who needs this warning?!", and then sure as the sun rises' there's a story on the news of someone electrocuting themselves by blow drying their hair while bathing. Some people need it spelled out. Well, truth be told some people need it explained using cartoons, but what are ya gonna do?! For the last time, KIP MOORE DID NOT SEND YOU A PRIVATE MESSAGE!!!! He will not be meeting you in a yet to be disclosed location that his manager and team know nothing about so that he can give you a combination to a bank box that has a family heirloom worth millions of dollars that he needs you to keep safe for him. HE DID NOT!!!!!! As a onlooker, I really think that if he has to make another video or post explaining this he very well may explode.
When you ask Kip if he sent
you a PM (private message)
asking for money......
..........When you let a few months go by
and you ask him for the gazillionth time
if he sent you a PM asking for money and
he could'a swore he done told you once
that it ain't him !!!
6. Do NOT stoop to their level. This one hangs on the coat tails of the last one and is actually for the artists/orgs/business'/ministry/etc that have this troll/hater clogging up their pages with hate and annoyance. Dear Artist/Business/Organization/Ministry - I love you and your work. And I want everyone I know to feel the same. So, please do your best to refrain from feeling as though you need to defend yourself to these haters. Most of you have a legion of faithful fans who are your virtual front line and they will pounce on a hater before you can unlock your screen. Trust them to have your back. If you respond, no matter how completely awful this troll/hater is, it will ALWAYS look like the quarterback/head cheerleader taking on the biggest loser in the school in the courtyard during lunch time when EEEEEEERRRRRRRRYYYYYYBODY can watch. It also encourages your fans to react and act in similar ways. I know you didn't sign up to be a role model in anyway, but like it or not, folks are watching and mimicking your moves. I would encourage you instead, if you MUST comment and just can't keep yourself out of the mix, to acknowledge, thank, and throw out some shout outs to the fans who have your back, are attending the shows, buying your product, spreading love and not hate, and are using their time/social accounts in a more positive fashion. It will only further endure your fans to you, proving to them they are right in supporting/promoting/investing in an artist like yourself. It will encourage them to continue with the good and it will quite possibly make the troll spontaneously combust due to being ignored. I picture it like that bug spray commercial where the roach realizes he has been sprayed with quality repellent and then poofs into dust.
7. Do NOT be afraid to reach out to a official fan page administrators, an artists admin./team or someone from a social media sites help desk. These folks are as disgusted, disturbed and annoyed as you are by these kinds of postings, accounts, and trolls. They do not want that content on their pages and they want everyone to feel safe in interacting and communicating in their specific virtual space. So, if you have problems reporting, blocking or exterminating a troll/hater please feel free to reach out to admins and help desks for their assistance. They want their pages to be a safe space and they have a longer reach when it comes to getting down to who is actually behind it and putting a stop to it.
8. IRL (In Real Life) - When senseless acts of violence like the ones' this weekend occur we all begin to realize exactly how vulnerable we are, in general, but especially when out in these crowded, loud, hot, sometimes intoxicated environments. You ARE indeed there to have a good time. No doubt about it. You ARE there to veg out, chill, and enjoy a good show, reading, movie, etc. You SHOULD be able to not have to think about life's larger loads and you can, but I would just encourage you, as the person who might be sitting beside you, to always be aware, if even just in your little space of the event. YES, enjoy yourself. YESSSSS!!! Of course party hard, rock out and stand in that meet and greet line!!!! But, like a flight attendant might say, be aware of the emergency exits, notice who is sitting directly around you, look around as you sit down your blanket, bags, coolers, get in line or take your seat in a venue to what/who is around you. Does anything seem out of place? Does anyone seem to be suspiciously alone? Do you know where the security people are located? Our hope is always that we would never need any of this information, but our reality is that in today's world, heart breakingly......we do.
I know this was a mighty long post and I thank you for sticking with me through it. Please feel free to repost this and share with folks. Next week I plan to return to regularly scheduled #NewMusicMonday sharing with tunes from Kip Moore, Frankie Ballard, and Ashley Monroe. Feel free to share in the comments any tips or tricks you have for avoiding or dealing with online trolls/haters, how you interact with fellow fans or artists, or how you make the most of venue treats at shows, etc. See y'all next week!!!
Myself and DDP working/rocking "Creation Festival"
in 2000.......something. The long day was
definitely starting to show on me. I can still feel my bones
aching if I think about it too long.
Thanks to ALL those team/crew members, volunteers, law enforcement,
medical teams, and fire crews who I have worked tons of shows
with in the past. None of it could happen with out your
diligence, hard work, and great spirits!!