Monday morning brought me to the downtown Portland Apple store (a great urban design itself) to get a couple of things repaired on my trusty MacBook Air. As I was sitting down with the Apple technician, he asked me if I liked Country music and pointed over to a guy across the store. The gentleman was none other then country music legend, Garth Brooks who is in Portland for five shows as part of his world tour. He and several members of his band & crew were (presumably) stocking up on various Apple products (hello no sales tax in Oregon).
What struck me about his appearance in the Apple store was that in the thirty minutes that I was there, he probably had struck up four or five different conversations with small groups of people or one-on-one. Here is an artist, who in the 1990s, broke every type of record sales and concert attendance (not just for country music, but all music genres), and all the while being responsible for bringing country music to the mainstream, just hanging out in downtown Portland talking to fans. Of course, after being in retirement since 2000 to raise his daugthers, Garth is not the same household name, superstar like he was in the 90s. What I noticed him doing was engaging and interacting with fans at the most personal level that a well-known celebrity can possibly do. He is building fans and a community, one person at a time. At Tellagence, we have been talking about what music fan communities look like as well as why celebrities should engage with their fans on Twitter.
So many celebrities are trained not to interact with their fans on social but the ones who really get it don't follow those rules. The realize that being accessible and human are what draw their fans to love them. If all celebrities could get this and go back to when social was about engagement and community we would all be better off and celebrities would be more than just large follower accounts. Garth is one of those that gets it and loves his fans. He made his name before social was a thing and he still understands how to engage with his fans in the most genuine way. Along the way he has learned a few things as well. As Garth Brooks three year world tour continues, we might expect more engagement with fans like this one below.