Fan Or Peer – Where Do You Stand? (part-2)





How do you see those around you? Do you look up to them? Down on them? See them on the same level?

A few weeks ago I read an article by Denise Urena. It begged the question of whether we should be a fan to those we admire, or see them as a peer. What should our community engagement be like?

This fascinated me enough to contact several people and ask the questions:

How do you balance between Peer & Idol?

Where does your line lay?

When do you ask the question, if ever?

I heard thoughts from: Denise UrenaChris Brogan,Jim HopkinsonToni TesoriTania DakkaJoel Friedlander, Chris GuillebeauJoanna PennLaura DennisDanny InyDan BlankDavid Gaurgran.

The feedback lead me to three sides of the argument:

  • The Fan
  • The Peer
  • The Neither

In the Previous Post we looked at The Neither. Today the focus is on The Fan.


We’re All Fans To Someone

I love the idea of seeing everyone as a peer. However, maybe we’re supposed to be a Fan, sometimes. After all, those successful folk have worked hard to get where they are.

“They have worked hard. They have done what we need to do to get where they are.” – Tania Dakka

This is true. Can you imagine if Sir Richard Branson treated everyone as a peer? He wouldn’t have enough hours in the day. Plus, he’s worked hard to get where he is. Doesn’t he deserve to stand on a slightly higher platform?

Tania also brings up another good point:

“At the same time, Peers aren’t going to buy from you. Fans will.”

I don’t agree with this 100%, as I feel peers still buy from you (if it provides value). However, it’s a good point to bring up. The world needs fans because these are the people who splash the cash. If we were all peers, how would any of us make money?

We Can’t Always Be A Peer

We’re all fans to someone, but we’re all peers, too. I asked Joanna Penn and Jim Hopkinson this question, and I find their answers interesting:
“I have had conversations with Lee Child, Jeffrey Deaver, Lisa Gardner and other amazing thriller writers – I am a fan of these writers and one day would hope to be a peer. But I am certainly not right now.” – Joanna Penn
“In 2012, I am fairly confident as an author. I might still be a fan to a Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell, but at a recent conference with some fairly accomplished people, I was confident in saying “I am a published author too” because I’ve had a book out for a year” – Jim Hopkinson
Like Tania’s argument from earlier, people like Malcolm Gladwell have earned their way to the top. Why shouldn’t we be fans. Is it really right to consider myself a peer?

Sometimes We Want To Be A Fan

There is of course the question of what you want from the other person. Dan Blank says:

“I was trying to think of this in terms of if you “want” something from someone. So – do you WANT something from someone as a fan or a peer?”

This is a good point. Having a peer mindset might be healthy, but sometimes we might simply want to be a fan. Dan explains this by sharing a story of his own fandom:

“My favorite singer is Glen Hansard. I’ve met him several times, and every time, I go into fan mode. I just start thanking him endlessly, and since I am not really adding anything to a broader conversation, he politely smiles and says thanks back. I know folks who have become his friend by just engaging him in conversation, by being a peer, not a fan. But you know what, I LIKE being just a fan in this case. I like building up his legend in my mind.”

Is there anything wrong with this? I would say not. Sometimes we want to see someone in a shining light. Sometimes we want to be a fan.


What Do You think?

What about you? Do you enjoy being a fan? Do we have the right to be a peer at all times?
The insights so far have been great. I find it riveting how people have approached this dilemma. I like the idea of acting as a peer, but sometimes being a fan is just fine – in fact, sometimes it’s the only thing to do.

In the next post we will look at The Peer.
Where do you stand so far? Please share your thoughts in the comments below
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million

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