Your favourite musicians are human too

Written by Georgia Moloney on 21st May, 2018
Your favourite musicians are human too

The landscape of fangirl culture completely changed with the introduction of social media. No-longer were the musicians we idolised posters on our walls, pages in magazines or backgrounds on our computers. Suddenly, they were accessible like never before, and technology advanced faster than online etiquette did. 

Social media allows us to express our personal opinion about anything posted onlineIn the music scene, likes and comments are used to show admiration, adoration and support for musicians and the things they do.

When did fan etiquette change?

Recently, I have noticed a growing culture where it is normal to comment or tweet sassy, rude or insulting things to musicians. This occurs when both expressing an opinion, or for the sake of humour. 

Traditionally, nasty comments and making fun of someone is reserved for those the commenter dislikes. Now, it seems that it’s okay for anyone can say anything, if they were “only joking”.

There is a big difference between expressing distaste for an artist’s music, and outright attacking individuals about their appearance, their music, or choices in their personal life.

Are you sure this is actually happening?  

Last week, British band As It Is recently released the first single off their upcoming record. In the music video for ‘The Wounded World’, a mock-magazine cover appears, which the band put on Twitter (below)

It was later revealed that the quotes on the front of the mock-magazine cover were actual comments left by people when Walters posted the photograph to his Instagram. Below is an artful collage of actual comments I found on the original post.

These comments were about a change in his appearance, which is a result of a new visual aesthetic for the band’s latest album cycle.

A collage of nasty and hateful comments left on an Instagram photo posted by Patty Walters.
Actual comments left on an Instagram post made by musician Patty Walters.

The above is just one example of a line being crossed because there is a mental disconnect between fans and the humanity of people they idolise.

In any other circumstance, comments like these would be considered cyber-bullying. Why is it now okay to comment awful things about someone’s appearance when they are perceived to be famous?

Imagine if this was you? Posting an image of yourself, then being met with comments like “If this is real, I’m literally going to kill myself” from your fans, because they didn’t like a change in your appearance.

We are all susceptible to being affected by negativity aimed at us, whether it be online or off. It is also well known that a large number of musicians suffer from mental health problems; shockingly, they’re actually just like us! So why aren’t people considering the fact that nasty comments could genuinely affect those they are directed toward?

Being insulted should not be a side-effect of “fame”.

Where do we go from here?

The idea that we can say anything to anyone on the internet without consequence is so toxic. Equally as toxic is the idea that we can say whatever we want to or about musicians, simply because they are musicians. The sense of entitlement many fans seem to feel toward knowing about, and commenting on, the personal lives of their favourite bands is problematic for both sides, especially when individuals express unnecessary and harsh opinions because of this ingrained entitlement.

It would do us all good to remember that no career path or number of social media followers negates the fact that we all have feelings.

We all contribute to online culture, and have the power to choose what we put out into the digital world. Take a step back and assess how you interact with everyone online. Never assume the person receiving the comment or message can’t see what you’ve written about them.

We each have the power to enact positive change, so keep yourself and others accountable.

Basically, be nice. Be nice to other fans, be nice to musicians, and constantly give the same amount of respect to others that you’d like to receive from those around you. Bring back the etiquette we seem to have lost.

Watch As It Is’ video for The Wounded World below:

The article was originally published on Don't Bore Us