by: Taylor Anderson
*Disclaimer, the thoughts and suggestions on here are for me to apply for myself. It is not advice for anyone else reading this, you do you.
Ok, so I don’t have the Backstreet Boys personally showing me zoom lessons on Emily Post etiquette on how to handle social media but over the past two years doing this podcast I have had some hits and misses on how I have handled things. So who better to help me navigate the jungle of social media then the Backstreet Boys themselves. They have thrived on social media mostly unscathed and perhaps it’s time I take some ques from the boys themselves….so here we go!
- Not everything you say or do needs to be defended or explained
The fandom is full of thoughts and opinions, which sometimes can be a beautiful thing. It is truly better to speak your mind then to silently stew on something that bothers you. Twitter is good for being that place to speak your mind and share your thoughts with other like minded friends. But how many times do we see the subtweet after we have posted something that just gets under your skin? How often do we feel the need to constantly want to defend or explain ourselves in hopes that people will understand our intent? Then when we do explain ourselves, the same people who subtweeted about you still subtweet and more people are confused and annoyed by your constant need to explain yourself.
Take the boys for example: Does AJ go on social media to explain to you all why he doesn’t always finish his projects? Does Kevin explain why he decided to go hiking and living in treehouse during the pandemic instead of creating looped calls? Does Brian explain…..well…..yea we will leave that there. Does Howie explain why he is not on social media at all? And does Nick explain why we paid for tier 3 of Twitch and his ass still hasn’t been on in weeks? -I don’t care about watching some random guy play final fantasy, I clearly paid to see you talk all day dammit!
The point is, post what you believe in and don’t allow the noise to confuse what matters to you. Take the opinions with a grain of salt and continue to focus on your projects and what matters to you. Those who support you will continue to do that and those that you have a real connection with will talk to you directly. Sometimes people will just have opinions on everything negative and there is literally nothing you can do about it. So let it go.
2. Sometimes it’s best to not engage
This leads into my next point. When you do see posts that are clearly talking about you, sometimes it’s best not to engage and walk away. It’s hard, very, very hard for me to keep my mouth shut, but is it worth my peace of mind or time for that matter to get into a twitter fight when that time could be used on better more productive things?
Could you imagine the boys getting into twitter fights if they engaged in every single tweet talking about them? They wouldn’t get anything done! They are already on Backstreet Time, imagine adding twitter fights into their timeframe! Christmas album 2040 here we come!
Do you remember when Brian posted that picture of Leighanne’ s butt in a thong and twitter lost their minds! We all practically revolted. THEN Brian actually started arguing with a couple fans. It didn’t matter if the man was defending his wife, he looked like a major asshole! If you post something that you know is going to create a negative reaction, perhaps don’t post it at all or don’t engage if you know it’s just going to cause more harm then good. But really, don’t post it. Ask yourself if what you are about to post is worth posting. I guess think before you post? This clearly is advice I still need to work on (Great 2021 resolution)
3. Pick and Choose what is worth speaking out about
Now sometimes there are issues that are too big to ignore. When that time comes, you really have to make a choice if what you are sharing is worth possibly dividing your audience, ending friendships and backing up what you stand for.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Leighanne’s social media posts. With everything going on between COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement it was important to me to speak out publicly on the matter. As a mother to two young African American children and an older daughter that identifies in the LGBTQ community, it was almost essential that I voice my concerns. I made a choice to put those opinions into this podcast and I don’t regret that.
However, there were times when I felt I had gone too far and that I needed to comment on EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT LEIGHANNE. I was beginning to become annoyed with myself and also arguing with every single person that disagreed with me. I cowrote an article about the social media posts Leighanne had shared that were considered hateful and racist in the Backstreet Boys community and I am very proud to have wrote that. But what I should have done was keep the focus on that one episode and that one article instead of beating a dead horse. In the end people will stop listening to you when you’re yelling and not conversing.
Look at the boys themselves, AJ and Kevin know how to address something without DIRECTLY pointing someone out. While none of the boys directly addressed Leighanne’ s post, AJ and Kevin showed other ways to let us know they don’t support hateful speech. Kevin posted a series of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” and AJ has also posted about Trans Day of Remembrance for those who passed away in the trans community and supported Harry Styles when he posed for Vogue in a dress. Identify your own personal values and don’t compromise them for followers and likes, as well as don’t be afraid of people unfollowing you that oppose your personal values.
4. Lastly, show more love – less hate.
This year has been filled with so much anxiety, stress, uncertainty, death and sickness. Sometimes I just want to be more like Nick who can posts several times a day and just be sunshine’s and rainbows. While sometimes I wish he would complain about SOMETHING and seem more human, his positive connections are what turns one person’s sad day into a much better one.
If you are reading this and actively a part of the Backstreet Boys fandom, chances are (BSB pun intended) that we will all run into each other at a BSB event, concert, or social media and we can choose to make it a safe and happy place or we can choose to be a place we hate and no longer enjoy.
There are moments of self reflection in the past year where I have had some angry moments, moments in myself that I didn’t really like how I was acting. I didn’t like when I publicly argued with some fans, pushing people for a response or being a part of the problem. It doesn’t help when you’re constantly hearing “If you don’t say anything you must be (fill in blank), if you’re not bashing (so and so), then you support (insert anything negative)” It’s learning to find a balance between “Silence is Compliance” and drilling our intentions and forcing them onto someone else.
How can we support human rights and not even be kind to one another? How are we so adamant about Leighanne’s hatred of groups of people while demeaning those we know in our own bsb circle? Kindness and compassion starts with me and I need to learn to be more like Nick and focus on the positives and trying to find ways to spread kindness to my fellow friends.
As we close the book on 2020, I take the things I’ve learned, still learning, and evaluate who matters, what matters and focus on the goals on my podcast. I started this podcast to just chat about the boys. I didn’t expect it to last this long and build a community of friendships along the way. I want to be proud of the work I do and the actions I’ve taken. Also the hard part about social media is that we take snippets of words under 180 characters and make a person into a character of how we CHOOSE to see them. Backstreet Boys or fan people themselves. Put the subtweet down and have a conversation with someone, stop having misunderstandings, stop unfollowing and blocking so quickly! At the end of the day we along with the boys are just human beings, we’re not perfect and we are constantly a work in progress. For the most part, I truly believe we are good people and how we all handle things is vastly different for one another.
Yes there are certain things I think the boys could do differently, overall maybe for 2021 I’ll just hire someone to do all my social media and crisis averted.
Happy New Year Everyone! Be safe, be happy, be loved!