Just browsing social media lately, it’s quite apparent that not a whole lot is happening on the Backstreet – hence my hiatus for What Happens On The Backstreet. It is also hard to find inspiration when everyone is butting heads on the matter at hand. As I mentioned in three posts ago, the Backstreet fandom is more frustrated than ever. Whether we should be or not is arguable (I read the various comments about how I was being too harsh – that the Boys deserved a break, which I blatantly agreed with IN my post, but I digress…), but one thing is for sure – we have got to get it back together if we want Backstreet back.
Let the negativity stop with you. If you feel strongly enough that the Backstreet Boys or, more so, their social media team is doing the Boys a disadvantage, be gentle, be kind, and be open. Think things through before you spout off and think about how you’re coming off. I am first to agree that their social media marketing / online connection with fans during downtime is below par, but that’s also why I started What Happens On The Backstreet. The idea that maybe I could inform fans and bring them together in a fun way was the spark that lit this blog and it’s been quite successful (thank you!), but that being said, I am certainly not the Backstreet Boys (or associated with them) and do not have the reach they do.
So, in an effort to make a proposal about what might help the Backstreet Boys and the fandom in the long run (because if you’re going to complain, you should have at least a suggested solution), I would like to bring forth the idea of Backstreet Boys Town Hall Meetings.
While I try not to bring up other bands and what they’re doing or relate them to BSB, sometimes it’s beneficial, especially when it works. In 2012, the last election year, the New Kids On The Block announced Town Hall Meetings – half to go with the theme of election year, half to really sit down and get feedback from the fans.
How did this work? 3 locations were announced initially (PA, CT, and OH) with extremely limited capacity so as to give people a chance to be heard. A LA Townhall was later added for the West Coast. Fans were asked to sign up on the website and emails went out to those who were lucky enough to grab a spot at the meetings. The events were free, but fans were asked not to bring cameras, recording devices, etc. so the focus wouldn’t necessarily be on the guys themselves, but the topics at hand. In fact, there were one or two meetings where not all of the New Kids could make it, and that was okay. Fans were still heard. (Seriously, google their Town Hall meetings – many fans wrote personal accounts.)
After introducing themselves in “political” manner for fun, the floor was opened up to the fans to express their concerns about certain events in the past, suggest improvements, ask about new music, future events, and more. The fan subjects seemed to be similar to our own including timeliness of announcements, event suggestions, problems with past events, etc.
Guess what? Some of the things brought up, the New Kids were not aware of, some things they had immediate answers for, and some issues they had already been working on with their teams to remedy because they weren’t satisfied with the experience either.
I truly believe, if the Backstreet Boys were to get on board with doing something similar, a lot of what has turned into hostility from fans would be resolved. Lack of communication between the artists and fans has turned into fans believing their being lied to, ignored, and isolated. Times have changed since 1999 and the fan-artist connection now is easier than ever and really, more important than ever. Perhaps if we got answers straight from the Backstreet Boys themselves, fans would understand that they ARE working even when we don’t see it, they ARE aware of things we want, and maybe we can get more of an understanding about where they are at with things, how they feel, and what we can do to help. It’s a win-win for everyone. Sometimes you need to get rid of the middle man and gather the energy and inspiration straight from the source.
We can bring our issues, our questions, our love straight to the source. We can hear the answers straight from the source and we can pull ourselves together and regain some semblance of peace. We can stop asking the same questions over and over or flying into a rage because we feel ignored. A select number of international fans with questions could be streamed in via webcast. We can go back to loving our Backstreet Boys out loud.
The actual likelihood of Backstreet Boys Townhall Meetings is really just a shot in the dark. I don’t know what they’d go for, if they have the time, if they’d blow this off or what, but from the fan side looking in, something has got to give. Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick are like family for most of us and we want nothing more than to see them succeed. We want nothing more than to help them succeed. But we can’t do that as a divided army.
Let’s bring Backstreet back. Together.