… one large aspect about following David’s career includes the relationships developed through fan interactions. The fan community has truly become an extended family and I am grateful for the friendships I’ve cultivated. In my off-line activities, I lead a very busy life with a professional job that is frequently stressful and totally cerebral. I truly treasure the fan community that has given my life another necessary outlet of joy and fun.

    – Freofan, An Evening of Joy: David Debuts Band in Myrtle Beach

To be a part of the David Archuleta fan community is indeed some kind of experience. It has served as a veritable refuge for a lot of Archies.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Found yourself temporarily isolated from families and friends who are unable to appreciate or even begin to understand your fascination with David? Go to a David fansite and immediately you feel better. In fact you heave a sigh of relief discovering you’re sane and not alone with the cra-zeh-ness. Suddenly you find that all is well with the world, right?

Who would have thought that by merely following an artist, you would reap friends beyond your own borders and establish virtual spazz-mates, like you have known each other for a lifetime?

Or that you find yourself sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings about a young man who has enthralled millions with his music – with people you have never even met!

And then you rely on and are thankful for people who would share stories, recorded footage of his performances or glorious photographs — people who sacrifice their personal experience just so a whole lot more can enjoy David as if they were there with him.

What about the heartwarming stories on the generosity of Archies being spread across cities and continents to help out other Archies with their ODD? The help can run the gamut of so many forms — from CD/DVD/book gifting, to memorabilia sharing or concert ticket sponsoring or even air mileage sharing!

However, for every upside, there is a downside. Consider these:

  • What if there are Archies who have the penchant for spreading rumors for their own enjoyment, cyber-bullying and ridiculing other Archies on subjects they have no business of?
  • What if a couple of fans use the name and resources of an established fan group to advance a fan activity and when finally securing the much sought after activity, make it secret, create its own club and exclude the very same established group from participating from it?
  • What if there is a fan club who sells materials from other people’s work? And that the owners of the materials have no knowledge of such merchandising?
  • What if there are Archies who are skilled in twisting information with unsuspecting Archies to make others look bad?
  • And what if all of these “what ifs” are associated with a single group who claim to represent the Archies even to David’s Team, who they are wooing for a project?

Am sure you will ask – WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

Kindness, Honesty as the Ultimate Currency

For me, the prime currency running within this community is kindness and honesty. Having David as the crux of our fandom seems to require that, right?

You go to another country just so you can see David perform live – not knowing anyone personally – and BAM! You are given a warm welcome, treated like a family member and have the time of your life because you are among “your people” LOL.

You share a little of what you know about some technical stuff online and SWOOSH! People you do not even “talk to” on a regular basis suddenly send you tokens and gifts!

It is not all paradise of course. Like any organization or family, we have our “misadventures”.

If there are misunderstandings, they are threshed out as sane and responsible adults. In private. If you make a mistake, you take corrective measures carefully keeping everyone’s dignity still intact. Hopefully.

So fan sites and fan bases co-exist cordially. This is what I have witnessed for the past three years.

But since we come from different backgrounds and persuasions, entwined by our love for David and his artistry, then there is indeed that chance of falling into a false sense of security with the fandom.

For if the above “what ifs” actually transpired, then having David as an artist and a person to emulate does not necessarily translate to Archies being like-minded and kindred spirits.

And IF we indeed have this situation, should the community care? Should other Archies be alarmed? Is there anything that should be done in the 1st place? Do we just let time heal the hurts? Risk the misunderstandings and misinformation fester and damage people’s reputation based on ill-talks? Or do we just pray and hope for the best?

If we regard this fan community as an extended family, how do we deal with such scenarios if they come to pass?

My take is that if there are personal animosities among the Archies (and am sure there are in every fanbase!), that cannot be helped. But the friction should not spill into David’s business. Moreover, I will take exception when actions – especially those that involve pulling a fast one over another fan club – are done deliberately and that further actions are made with malice and with an abject sense of propriety or decency.

Thank you ODD Enablers!

I am sure that a whole lot more of kindness and just deeds go untold and are not made public. They are the unseen generosity that do not expect any ROI, except for the simple joy it delivers for both the giver and the recipient. I hope we get to learn more of these exemplary acts.

So for these unsung heroes or shall we say ODD enablers (chuckles), my esteemed regard and appreciation!

Meanwhile, what do you think of the foregoing? I look forward to your feedback as I leave you with this old poem from Netherlands (author unknown).

What if nobody really cared, would you still do what you do?
What if nobody had a big fancy car, would you still struggle to get one?
What if religion would not exist, would you still believe?
What if life was only a game, would you still play safe?
What if the world was not about you, would you still think so?
What if you were in love with an animal, would you become a vegetarian?
What if nobody had designer clothes, would you pay so much for yours?
What if mankind had destroyed the planet, would you feel sorry too?
What if you were meant to die this morning, would you be grateful for today?
What if everybody was equal, who should we discriminate?
What if your life was a bucket, would you still fill it with unhappiness and complains?
What if everything came in drops, would you catch the poisonous ones on purpose?
What if you only lived once, would you still wait?
What if it is all over, before you really started?
What if you know, but you don’t act?
What if you knew, but you didn’t act?