Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Do Artists Owe Their Fans?

R.E.M. has a line from the song E-Bow the Letter, written in the mid-90s, that I find very meaningful in its simplicity.  Stipe sings, "This fame thing, I don't get it."  Not being famous, I have no way of knowing what it must be like to be recognized wherever you go.  For people to talk about you and write about you who don't actually know you.  For people to care about every small detail of your life.  It's weird, for lack of a better word.  And it can be intoxicating or unsettling or both for the person on the receiving end.

I'm also reminded of a line written some twenty years earlier by Jackson Browne, "I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels."  Artists, like athletes, have a unique position in that what they do for love and money, their career choice, their avocation, puts them in the public eye whether or not that was the goal. They go out on a stage or a field or a stadium and are cheered or booed or both by mostly complete strangers.  That is to be expected.  They know that you cannot make a living without someone who supports what you are doing, so fans are a necessary part of the equation.  But what do you owe those fans who support you and enable you to continue to make your records or play your sport?

Before I go on, let me clarify that I am separating artists from celebrities those who seek the spotlight as an end in itself, see, for example, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.  Being famous, living that crazy life, is something they sought, something they expected, something they continue to want.  By contrast, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may be celebrities, but their initial goal was simply to perform.  The celebrity, and the problems that come with it, came later.

In the old days (before I was even born, so you know we're going back a bit), artists had little direct contact with their fans.  Their public image was mostly controlled by the studios or labels that owned their contract and the media, which was so much smaller then, was mostly a party in scripting the prearranged public image.  When I was growing up, the highlight of my "celebrity" encounter was getting Johnny Bench's autograph as I leaned over the dugout at Dodger Stadium or seeing Van Morrison in the parking lot after a concert.  I never expected to communicate with them or hear from them on a regular basis.

But with the advent of social media, many artists and others have taken to MySpace or Facebook or Twitter to communicate with fans.  Personally, I wonder if some of the magic is lost.  When I was younger, I looked forward to the next Springsteen release without having him tweet "just wrote Dancing in the Dark, think it'll be a hit."  I didn't need to hear from Alan Alda that he was excited for the tenth year of M*A*S*H or from Steven Spielberg that the mechanical shark was acting up on his new film.  I didn't need to have a personal relationship with the artists or athletes I liked.  But now we expect to have that connection because it is so easy to do.  But as we parents tell our children, or at least should, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

So what do artists owe their fans?  How much of their life should the fans be entitled to?  I'm not sure they owe us anything other than what each of us owes each other -- respect.  They should put out their best effort and be honest (so athletes shouldn't take performance enhancing drugs or cheat, artists shouldn't steal or pass someone else's work as their own).  They can choose to communicate with us and we can choose whether or not we want to hear what they have to say, but it should not be expected or demanded. 

I'm fine with Michael Stipe not tweeting where he is today or putting out a Facebook post about his upcoming album.  I'll eventually get the information, either from more mainstream routes like interviews or by going way old school and just waiting for it to come out and listening to it.  I'm also fine with Trent Reznor tweeting about his new album if that's what he wants to do.  Neither approach is better, and neither will make their respective albums any better.  All I feel they owe me -- if anything at all -- is the best album they can make.

43 comments:

  1. great story Shari.you know I don't think anyone
    of caseys fans are being disresepectful,we all
    know so much about his life growing up and we all want to see him become sucessful.I would rather read articles about him cause he's not gonna say much of anything on twitter anyway.
    I absolutely love the interviews can't wait for all the tv appearences,best thing would be to just cancel his twitter that way it stops and it frees him from it.I'll be a fan as long as i enjoy his music.I'll be watching for him on the cma's tonight.

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  2. A-effin-men, Shari. To all the above.

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  3. I know things have changed for communicating with artists, and I LIKE IT!!!! Back in the day, I was a huge Beatle fan, and I would have been in heaven if I could have followed them online. Instead, I had to resort to crappy teen magazines and Beatle cards :)

    Casey doesn't owe the fans anything personal. If someone gets a tweet back, a picture with him or a guitar pick, I consider these gifts. He will really have made a difference in a fans life, but it cannot be manditory.

    I do not expect him to reply to thousands of tweets. I think for him, twitter should be a one way street, where he ocassional posts to the fans how or what he is doing. I am happy with just that. I realize he is busy working on his album, and we should let him be free to do that.

    We will see his hard work come into fruition when he releases his first album. That will be a real gift from him to us all.

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  4. Twitter: @CJFan_AudreyNovember 10, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    I agree. It drives me nuts when fans feel entitled that their choice of celebrity doesn't social-network with them, i.e. tweeting, facebooking, etc. Of course we would all love to hear from them, but we shouldn't harbour negative feelings if they don't.

    Celebrities/Artists are people just like us, with lives and commitments and whether they choose to tweet is their prerogative. We are interested in the artist for their talent, are we not?!

    In Casey's case I think we all got spoiled with twitter parties. I knew it wouldn't last forever, but it was nice and special while it lasted. It's hard to adjust from twitter parties to hardly any status updates, but as long as he's doing what he loves and making great music, that's all that really matters.

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  5. Funny you should post this today. My birthday is coming up and 'Sweety' just asked if I wanted a meet and greet with two of my long time favorites, Donny and Marie. I said .. yes and no. I kinda like them in my celebrity mind. What if i meet them - well - Donny, anyway - (I actually did meet Marie several years ago but that's another story) - and it's a let down? Here's where that's coming from: i liked Debbie Reynolds, especially in her role as Grace's mother in "Will and Grace." Well .... 'Sweety' arranged front row tickets to see here in Vegas. At the end of the show, she went one by one across the stage to shake hands with the front row -- and she skipped me! Only me! So - now I just don't think the same about her. So sad. My loss. I don't want to take the chance with Donnie whom I've liked since the TV show days.
    Re Casey. I think he's wise to shut down Twitter. It was just too risky for him. Too personal. So - what if he responds to one and not another? Or what if he says something someone misunderstands? Or shows a casual interest and then is onto someone else? Follows - then unfollows? Or follows one but not another?! Women - jealous?! Spiteful?! React to perceived disregard?! Nahhh ..... they'd never do that! Would they?!

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  6. Thank youShari!!!! Im guessing this came up based on a recent "tweet" from an upset fan. I feel that the people we are fans of owe us nothing but to give us the best music/movies (or other) that made us fans in the first place. In the case of Casey, most of his fans are loyal and true, and love him with or without a "tweet". He has always said he will repay all the fans that voted for him back by making the best music possible. That's enough for me! :)

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  7. Thanks again Shari! I once tweeted to a fan that we all must be weird to Casey 'cause we want to smell him, hug, touch, take pics,and some even want to kiss him. Being a person who likes my personal space, when someone enters that couple of feet that I hold dear they might leave with less than they brought or at least get a look that could stop them dead in their tracks. Having said that, I understand how emotionally drained and exhausted this can make a person. I gave up a career as a hairdresser many years ago so as not to be that close to strangers, or even regular customers. I am 5 2" and my body parts were literally in the faces of people and visa versa. It is unavoidable w/ my small frame. I am sure that Gino would agree that you have to be able to deal with all different types of personal energy in this situation& it's not for everyone. I quit when I realized that as much as I loved fashion, style, and working with hair that I couldn't do something that was so uncomfortable for me. I realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life that close to people on a daily basis. Such close interaction can be uncomfortable and emotionally taxing on us. I can only imagine what it's like to have people grabbing at you and yelling your name. When I met Casey at AAC I could see that he was beat up and worn out. It was obvious he was sick even then on Aug 9. I felt guilty for asking him for a picture& autograph but it did not stop me for doing what I set out to do before I left AAC. I drove 400 miles&spent 200. plus gas to go to the concert and many fans spent much more than that. I took my only grandson (8 yrs) who adored Casey from the start. He loved Casey's music,picked him to win,& said early on that he would meet Casey James and he did. Casey was very sweet to do this for us&others but there is much more of this to come for him. He's known around the world. From my observation of other artists it will be hard to have privacy and still matter to many of his fans. Artists that treat their fans or complain lose many of their fans. As you said there has to be balance and respect both ways. Casey is very grounded but life changes when you become widely known. There is no way around that. He is special in other ways too. His energy is magnetic. Much to his dismay he is NOT just a guy anymore to his fans. He can not go back to the life of being an unknown artist. His life story is one that inspires. He's a survivor and many of us know what that is like. He just does not know us individually. It's got to be a weird dynamic for him, but Casey wants to be loved and respected now for who he is and what he contributes during his lifetime. If you look at the tweets of other artists they are fairly rare. It a source for spreading info and news. Most of us only want occasional updates and not a piece of Casey. It makes for excitement and talk among the fans and is good fun. So IMO it's good for Casey's career. I don't personally expect Casey to have a conversation with me via twitter or even a TP during this busy time in his life. As his fans we are heartbroken that so many things are going on for his family that are hard to deal with for anyone. And he's coping with this and having to feel the pressure of making a successful album. Technology is not always a protection for us in this age of instant information. But one thing is for sure WE LOVE CASEY JAMES for reasons that are obvious when you see him interviewed and perform. And that is what he has worked for years to accomplish and that is fact. It reminds me of the question 'If a tree falls in the forest with no one there does it make a sound?' We are here to witness Casey's life as an artist and are a necessary part of that journey for him as I am most certain he himself would agree.

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  8. I think it's very wise for Casey to take a break from Tweeting. It's a very clear statement of what his priority is -- the music. Musicians I follow typically use Twitter while on tour (as Casey did)and as a news outlet. That's fine. Knowing intimate details is not necessary and actually could be dangerous. Ironically his mother, as sweet as she is, shares WAY too much personal information about herself and her family on a public forum for all the world to see. There are many sharks, and the more famous you get the more sharks there are.

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  9. While I enjoyed the time when Casey was tweeting us, I can completely understand why he is not doing so now. He is trying to concentrate and put out the best music that he can and that is his way of giving back to us.
    For me, that is good enough and I will always be his fan! :)

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  10. I agree with anonymous that her family should remain private.not that anybody on here is creepy but you never know.She is such a sweet lady and we do care,but lets just keep this
    about caseys music.

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  11. Anon 12:23 p.m. Ironically it's rarely about Casey's music, but everything else, and I cringe sometimes, because it can get unsafe when everyone knows where you live, work and detailed health information, finances, etc. I get they are a loving family, and people are mostly nice, but the world wide web is not one big small town. Once you set an expectation that you will share your life, it's going to be hard to shake that, no matter how well intended, hence why one fan is upset with Casey.

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  12. Back in the day, for me that that is considered the late 80's early 90's you heard a song on the radio bought the cassette tape, maybe got some concert tickets when the person/band came to town. You might have caught a glimpse of them before or after the show. I met Chris Isaak after a show he signed a poster for me. Anyway, we relied on shows like Entertainment Tonight the local radio station or magazines at the grocery store for celeb news. People who had to know a celeb's every move were considered stalkers and usually were dealt with. What has happened to privacy? If Casey, who has openly said he is not a tech person, does not let us know his every move via Twitter then that is his American right. We do still have the right to privacy whether we are on T.V., the radio, or anywhere else! We live in America people and that means we have the right to choose to Tweet or not to Tweet!!!

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  13. To add... Does the fact that Casey does not tweet change the fact that he is a great musician? Something to ponder on.....

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  14. Good point about stalkers anon. How much do we need to know? Some people are never satisfied, and that's when boundaries are crossed and the "magic" is gone. It's not only the 80s and 90s, but the early part of 2000's because Twitter is just a few years old. Before that there was MySpace, websites then Facebook but somehow Twitter is a whole other level of personal. I think Twitter can be an excellent promotional vehicle for recording artists. It's better than a press release because (seemingly) your getting a first person perspective. But I can also see why a true artist wouldn't want to get sucked into some false celebrity because they can get instant adulation from perfect strangers at any given hour of the day, and then they feel like your friends. I can see why someone would see it as a drug to stay away from it, or seriously limit use of it. Someone like John Mayer gets away with it because he can back it up with real talent. I think that is where Casey's head is at right now.

    I also think it's cool when celebs use it to promote a charitable cause because they obviously garner attention that average people wouldn't and get people to quickly mobilize.

    As long as celebs are smart and strategic about it I'm okay with it, but I will live if someone I like is never on Twitter or Facebook. I figure they are just being wiser than most.

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  15. I think when an artist creates and shares their work - which they've stamped with their humanity - they've given us the greatest gift they can offer. It isn't about anyone owing anyone else. Twitter is new to me, but Casey's tweeting during the tour is apparently the norm these days among muscians. When John Mayer's tour ended in Sept., I noticed that he wrote a lovely note of thanks to his fans for their support and announced his need to "disappear" for a bit and go to work on his next album. Perhaps as Casey learns to draw stronger boundaries with his fans, he too will be able to carve out the space he needs and deserves without leaving them wondering why he's suddenly withdrawn? Though he doesn't owe them anything, the bond he worked so hard to build shouldn't be broken due to hard feelings on either side. Respect works both ways. Having said that...shame on those who are sucking him dry! His "fame" is new to him and he will need to learn how to manage the enormous shift it has caused in his life. That takes time and experience. Surely his fans can muster some generosity of spirit and extend it to Casey? I can't think of any reason to withhold the greatest gift they could offer him in return.

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  16. Tina, I think one person in particular was not nice about her disappointment that he disappeared from Twitter, only claiming to represent others who felt the same. That person seemed young, and I think younger people have gotten spoiled in general by social media and have unfair but not entirely unrealistic expectations if the person was once on Twitter alot and set a standard early on.

    However, your Mayer example could be one of the few non-musical things to emulate, because he announced he'd be gone for awhile and why. I see Casey's Mom has been doing this on his behalf, which is not quite the same. Does he owe anyone any explanation - of course not. But it's something for him to think about if he ever plans on using social media again - how to enter and exit gracefully while keeping his privacy, artistry and sanity in tact. It's a strange phenon - social media even for non celebrities, but if you are going to use it, then there are up and downsides to it like everything. And if an artist himself makes it about things other than the music, then it will be about things other than the music.

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  17. Anon,

    I agree this is a learning process and I like your suggestion that it might be a good idea for any artist to figure out: "how to enter and exit gracefully while keeping his privacy, artistry and sanity intact." Nicely put!!

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  18. Casey is very focused and knows exactly what he is doing...we can be sure of that...but I'll say it again, he's no longer just a guy and will be recognized and adored, it can't be both ways...he's an awesome talent!!!

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  19. This is a tough subject to broach, because I have mixed feelings about it. I have no problem with famous folk withdrawing from twitter. But as someone else mentioned above, I prefer entrances and exits with a bit of flow and grace. Also, not every fan is the same kind of fan. I'd never hang around outside the backstage door waiting for an autograph, I would be mortified! I also feel very uncomfortable tweeting Debra and don't feel it's my place to do so. I appreciate the updates, but I would prefer more updates from the horse's mouth.

    I think Casey's sorting it all out and really wants his privacy. I hope he comes back and comes to see twitter more as I do--a pleasant, silly diversion after a hard day, not as an obligation. But if not, we'll have his music and interviews to pour over. This whole twitter thing has been a learning experience for all of us!

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  20. you know country music artists probably have it the easiest to have privacy,as long as you don't get into a scandel {leanne Rimmes}or any trouble with law.people pretty much give them their space,especially in Nashville,that's why so many of them live there.It won't take him long and he will be calling it home.I thought about signing up for twitter but naa don't think i will.

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  21. TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET.......THIS IS THE QUESTION!!!!!I think all of this is so funny!! I love Casey so much and don't expect him to tweet ever or at all!! Bet we all wish we could see him every day!! He is so precious! Someone you would just love to be around to hear him talk, laugh, play guitar, sing..whatever! He's just a beautiful person as all of us know! We just miss him and I feel more like family than a fan. They are special people!! I believe Casey will know exactly what to do and how to stay connected with his fans. Right now love and patience is our greatest asset.

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  22. John Mayer uses social media quite a bit, but when he's not touring he kind of disappears for awhile. In his last post after the tour he provided a very heartfelt, classy thank-you to his fans, then said, "I need to disappear for awhile -- I'm sure you understand" or something like that. It was very graceful, and a good model to follow. I totally expect that when an artist is working on an album, their focus needs to be elsewhere.

    As for tweeting personal details about health, family, finances, frustrations, relationships, etc... I think those things are personal and don't have a place on Twitter or other social media sites. Setting boundaries is healthy. Expecting anything in this regard from a performer really isn't rational as a fan -- unless it's a one-time, significant announcement such as, "Hey guys, I have to cancel tour dates. My wife just had a baby." Similarly, performers and those close to them shouldn't encourage it by putting details out on Twitter. It creates expectations and it's also dangerous.

    Caring is one thing, obsessing is another, and unfortunately there are those who obsess.

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  23. Ive been trying to say the same thing,but everytime I try to make a point these "fans"
    get irate,so Ill just agree with you.just read some of these tweets some try so hard to interject themselves in this family.watch out for Glenda she has writers rage.haha

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  24. We have become a society of instant gratification. Sad really.

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  25. Yes, people can become irate. And that is disappointing. Fandom can be taken way too seriously.

    Casey's mom has an active Twitter presence, and she's a really nice lady. But, I sometimes wonder what the consequences would be if she stopped tweeting. Most of the people she tweets with are Casey's fans, and although the points of the tweets aren't always about him, I wonder that if she decided she weren't going to do it anymore what the repercussions would be? She needs boundaries too.

    Yet, people tweet her a lot, and she tweets back. She shares quite a bit of info... way more than I think is good.

    I'd hate to think that people would go nasty on her if she stopped tweeting. I often feel like people are using her to get to Casey. And, quite frankly, I think it's off-putting that people send her gifts. Let me be clear; I think she's a nice and decent person. But she'd be the first to say, I think, that her life has been pretty blessed. (She was just tweeting about her many blessings today.) Why not focus some of the attention, energy, money and gifts on the many people in our own families and communities who are desperately in need? There are people right in front of our faces who need help.

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  26. Anon I so agree with you on that. I do not want to bash or make anyone feel bad, because I feel the fans and the James' alike are generous people. But I never understood the desire to send gifts to celebrities, particularly when there are so many that could use the cash donations for basic necessities.To each his own, and to their credit they did try to discourage it early on, but have come to either accept it as part of the deal if not totally embrace it.

    The James' family do fall under the category of celebrity despite the fact that they are wonderfully friendly warm people, they are celebrities that we only know because one of them was on the TV's highest rated reality show. Social media makes people forget that, particularly when the door is so wide open. Most people are nice and rational, but many are not. Cyberspace can cloud alot of what's really going on. I urge caution.

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  27. wow!I had no idea so many people felt the same way.It would be so nice if everyone would be so honest on here.I'm so tired of all the kissin up.nobody seems to want to say how they really feel.poor Debra,all this has to be so over whelming to her.money,gifts,copies of all this stuff written about Casey it's ridiculus.just say hi mrs.James can't wait for Caseys album to come out let us know when to expect it or his 1st single.

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  28. Nicely said Anon 1:04. Paying it forward is the best gift anyone can give. As a person who has been stalked for many years, being connected on the internet can be extremely dangerous, and if someone is going to get irate over Casey not tweeting who knows what might happen if Ms. James stopped. If she does stop as mentioned on here earlier, I hope she would give a nice exit tweet so as not to shock any crazed fans. The best thing for all of us Casey fans is let him work his magic in the studio and be patient.

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  29. What I admire most about Debra and her tweets is how kind she is to those who share their feelings and challenges with her. What started out as simple small talk with fans of her son has evolved into something much more for so very many. For example, she talks about her battle with cancer which opens the door for women who have suffered the same disease to be able to talk to her about it. She kindly answers those who share their problems with her and she gives them encouragement and the benefit of her wisdom. This is beyond the call of duty as Casey's mother. This is purely Debra. She's a generous woman with a giving heart, and I hope she completely ignores anyone who tries to paint it as anything else. The world would be a better place with more women like her in it.

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  30. In general, whether you are a celebrity (and I would call the James' minor celebrities at this point) or whether you are average folk, there are people who follow you on Facebook or Twitter who expect constant information and status updates, details that are very personal, and don't understand absences from these public forums. Meaning is assigned to what you say, what you don't say, who you say it to, and how often you say it. People will question the consequences of what you say, regardless of whether you intended those consequences or not.

    I am a very average person, yet am surprised by some of the comments I get when I haven't posted on Facebook for awhile. People can get in my face, and I'm not even famous. People feel owed something. And what's really funny is that nothing I post is that interesting.

    I choose not to comment on very personal details such as my health, the health of my family (one of whom was recently diagnosed with cancer), politics (even though I am an activist), the growing pains of my adolescent nephews, and issues I have at work or personal finances. I save comments like that for real "in the flesh" friends, not Facebook "followers" (despite the fact that they're called "friends"). I may share that information at my church for publication on its prayer list, but those are people who know my family. I realize that once I take the step to go public on Facebook or Twitter, others feed on it and that information could be used in a negative fashion in some way in the future. I am not willing to take a risk like that, and I would urge anyone to exercise caution.

    Perhaps it's just another example of our instant gratification society. Or, an example of loss of privacy, in general. I also think we must live in a very lonely world if we use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for validation.

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  31. Just wondering...If twitter had never been invented, would people still be obsessing about this family the way they are? Would Debra be getting quilts, crosses, bracelets and framed pictures of her son with strangers in the mail? Would complete strangers be asking such intimate questions?
    I'm thinking...probably not. Why does the presence of Twitter make people think it's okay to do these things, I wonder?

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  32. Anon 8:56... I totally agree. Some of the behavior borders on obsession. I realize that in the past fan mags (especially of the teen variety) and entertainment mags served a similar purpose, but some of the behavior is over the top. At least with a fan mag, everything is one-way. Twitter invites people in to a more personal relationship (at least if you're going to respond). The more people ask, and the more you respond, the more you egg them on. Then later, they expect responses. Sure, you can tell them "that's personal" or "that's between me and my ex", but in some ways by being open and tweeting so much you're encouraging people to keep it up. Once you put yourself out there, it's harder to pull back.

    Personally, I think Mrs. James should make a graceful exit from Twitter until her son is ready to release an album. And then she should return to it very cautiously. At this point, those wondering what he's up to should be able to hear it from his representatives (or his management -- if he has it). It should be about the music.

    As for all the other stuff people turn to her for - to talk about faith, parenting, health -- I guess that's their prerogative. But, I find some of it odd and borderline obsessive. It's one thing to say that you're "pulling" for Casey and hoping he makes a great record. It's another to pray for him, insist that God has a grand plan for his commercial success, and to repeatedly mail gifts and letters to his family. I'm a practicing Christian who attends church and prays regularly, but quite honestly, while I'd love for Casey to be nothing more than a massive commercial success and for his music to speak to people, I don't feel it's an appropriate thing to pray for and there are many right around me in my family and in my community who need my time, money, attention and prayers. Most have people in their own families, communities, and faith communities that could use some "in person" friendship or gifts or money. At a time of year when many cultures and religions (not just Christianity and not just Americans) ponder thankfulness and the needs of the world, I think it would be helpful and healthy for people to think about the bigger picture and -- dare I say -- stop obsessing about social media "friends" and aid those in serious need.

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  33. I believe it our choice to support them, the celebrity should only be humble when it business related, not thier personal time with thier families and friends. We as fans got to keep in mind they don't care about us as individuals. I do believe that most of them are grateful to fans as a whole but not on personal level, we know of them, but they don't know us.

    When we work our jobs we only care about the customers as a whole not individually, the famous people are doing a job just like the rest of us if they have product you like buy it if you don't leave it on the shelf.

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  34. I remain hopeful that Casey will turn out a darn good record and experience huge commercial success. I hope his music "speaks" to people.

    I am also a practicing Christian who is concerned by the intensity with which some have enveloped the James family and showered them with gifts, prayers, and have communicated directly with them. I find it scary and offensive, in some cases.

    I'd like to think that the tent of Casey "fandom" is wide enough to envelop all kinds of people -- believers, nonbelievers, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and so forth. He's always been clear about his beliefs (which I respect) but he doesn't proselytize. Yet, I've seen responses on his mom's Twitter and on a few other forums that give me pause.

    Is this about Casey's music, or is it about Casey's music and some other things?

    This time of year especially there are opportunities for all of us to look around at those in need of our time, attention, prayers, money, gifts and cards. I also believe that there are many in need of our moral support and encouragement. Focusing so much attention on this one person and this one family seems misguided to me.

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  35. Oops and for the record, 11:22 and 11:01 are both mine. I didn't think the first posted.

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  36. Very well put Anon 11:01.

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  37. Anon 8:56 p.m. to answer your question, I think fans have always done the celebrity gift giving. We just don't hear about all the time. On Ms. James' Twitter she is either posting photos of the gifts & thanking people, or people are telling her to look out for something or pestering her if she got it and had given it to Casey. In fact that's like 75% of the content these days, which is why I unfollowed. But you do hear from time to time if a celeb has a baby or a death in the family -- fans will give gifts. I always admire celebs who are very forward in telling fans to donate to a certain charity instead -- it can be done is their name. That is what you call paying it forward. Celebs have alot of power to help lots of people if by just a simple request. But hey if it makes someone's day to give gifts and get acknowledged for it (which is what Twitter allows for) then good for all. I'll just wait for Casey's album. His family is nice and all, but all the materialism has turned me off royally. When Casey returns to Twitter, I sincerely hope he doesn't do that sort of thing, and truly sticks to talking about the music.

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  38. Anon 4:26 -- I couldn't agree more. I want it to be about the music.

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  39. Casey who?I almost forgot who this was about,and forget twitter there's no talk
    about him at all.....sorry I liked it when
    it was about him.now all it is is a bunch
    of lonely women connecting with each other.
    Debra is not gonna give anybody inside info
    on Casey and besides that would you really
    want her too?

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  40. Anon 11:42 and others...We "lonely women" as you have suggested are inspired by this family and their life experiences not just Casey's music and passion of music which is in turn a direct reflection of who he is. His life experience includes his close knit musical family. Being a single mom I understand the bond between Debra and her sons. I met her and BC in the parking lot at AAC in Dallas and was impressed that she did not try to brush me off as a crazy fan but instead she came over to me, chatted, and took pics. She is part of this journey for Casey, encouraged him to audition for AI,& she and BC were in the audience in support of him for most of his performances. Local people reached out to her and helped her make the multiple trips to CA. Casey and his family are able to relate to us "lonely women" in a way that not all can. I don't think she should be criticized for connecting with people who relate to her and her family. As for the gifts Casey has said on many occasions "I don't need anything" so these gifts are given out of the hearts. Who are you to say the fans should not do this? As for privacy, have you not noticed that there is little privacy in this modern world. We are instantly aware of news as it happens all over the world. And as for social sites you are able to protect tweets or profile info on facebook and simular sites. This is up to the individual. I don't know why you would take offense or object to people connecting over a common interest. And some have said they are even offended...Please?

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  41. To each their own. And we will assign things different meanings because we are all different people. Putting yourselves out there publicly invites having your motives questioned and quite possibly viewed as opportunistic, even when that's not the "truth." Perception is reality. I have unfollowed Ms. James because it seems that the comments these days are rarely about the music. I will choose to buy Casey's music or not based on whether I like his music, not because I like or dislike his family.

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  42. I also agree with anon if Caseys music is good I'll buy it.I live in a small texas town and there's hundreds of nice families just like
    mrs.James family,I feel no need to pack up
    and move to be near them.I do believe it is easier to raise good kids in smaller towns.
    I will say this,Casey seems to have been born
    to do interviews.and the camera just seems to love him.he is a star already and when that first single comes out everybodys gonna see that star shine......

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