David’s fans have always been a passionate group, even from the very beginning of David’s days on Idol. We voted for hours from multiple phones during Season 7, we flocked in droves to the American Idol tour. We waited in heat and rain to get a glimpse of him, to get an autograph or give him a gift (oh, the many, many gifts). Later, during his solo and summer tours, the fans were there to support David in every way. We called radio stations to request his songs, we bought multiple copies of his CD and FanPack EP, we drove through snowstorms to wait in line in 20 degree weather to attend a performance, and we continually tried, ever optimistic, to convert our family, friends, neighbors and beauty salon strangers.
But recently there has been a phenomenon in the David Archuleta fan community that is frankly quite surprising. The new album, Christmas From the Heart has received mixed reviews from the entertainment press. Some of the fans found these bland reviews (few were downright negative) to be disrespectful of David himself, and they responded in a way that was strident and even verbally abusive of the reviewers.
“So what? They deserved it,” some would say. As a fan community, we are already known as fanatic. (We DID help David win the Most Fanatic Fans on the Teen Choice Awards.) But what, exactly, does someone hope to gain by verbally abusing a writer on an entertainment or college newspaper blog? Sure, it allows the commenter to let off steam, but does it change the mind of the person who wrote the article? I doubt it. In fact, it could instead cement their perspective that this is a group of immature, teenybopper fans that need not be taken seriously. And that, certainly, is harmful to David.
We fans see David as a serious artist, and we are understandably frustrated that some entertainment writers still see him as that awkward kid on American Idol who licked his lips and couldn’t put two words together. But will commenting “Everybody hates you,” written in capital letters, change their mind?
So what is a fan to do?
It’s very likely that many of the articles are written by people who don’t really follow David except in a very cursory way. They might have seen him a few times on American Idol. Perhaps they’ve heard Crush and it just didn’t get them excited. But they haven’t really followed his career other than reading other blogs that highlight his fashion sense or show him being interviewed at the Season 8 AI Finale. And they for sure haven’t seen David perform live.
So perhaps the tactic would be to educate them, rather than berate them. Think about sending an email to a DJ, reporter or blogger with an introductory note and a set of links to some of David’s live performances that show whatever point you are trying to make.
Do they think David is a moppet? Send them the link to Touch My Hand and Waiting for Yesterday, Leicester, UK
Have they said he lacks depth? Well, how about a link to Contigo en la Distancia?
Want to highlight his improvisation skills? Link them to My Hands from the solo tour, in Salt Lake City
If the person is a complete idiot – and we all have read some of those articles – refuse to give them web hits by ignoring the negative and “walking your browser away” from the site.
There is much to learn from David Archuleta, although we are not always able to live up to the standards that he sets. But let’s think about how he might deal with a negative comment, a bland review, or a misinformed reporter.
What are some other ways fans can react to negative criticism of David in a positive way?