Co-Written with Melissa
It has been over a year since we have been forced into a COVID bubble, unable to visit with friends and family the way we used to do. This year of isolation has given us time to reflect on a lot, including how we can be “together” while maintaining our social distance. For many of us, this time away has given us new and creative ways to maintain friendships and explore the things we love.
Thankfully, things have loosened up a little, and it seems there may be an end in sight.
But for many of us, our BSB fandom friends remain states or oceans away.
Being a member of the Backstreet Boys fandom often means meeting people from all over the world in the strangest of places. Waiting to take pictures with the boys on a cruise, online looking for someone to fill your last Vegas VIP table seat, or even connecting with someone you work with on a regular basis on a deeper level once you learn they are actually a member of the fandom like you.
Although there is still some uncertainty around some concert dates and when our next in person Backstreet Boys event might actually take place, we now have some ideas and tools that we can use to keep in closer contact with our Backstreet buddies who we may not have easy access to because of the distance. Here are some of the few things that we’ve done over the past year to help us stay connected and keep our BSB bond strong.
1. Zoom parties or BSB themed Zoom happy hour (duh…): This is the most obvious option and one we have done a number of times. During these Zoom parties, we have had concert watch parties and dug deep into all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things about Backstreet Boys shows, watched old school DVDs together, (hello “A Night Out with the Backstreet Boys” video), and watched, (and judged) Backstreet Boys reality competition shows (thanks to Dancing with the Stars and that great Pink Crocodile). Digital meetings and happy hours are something you are likely very familiar with by now, but throw in the Backstreet Boys and there’s always more to talk about, and endless fun to be had.
2. BSB themed Virtual game night: There are a ton of companies that do virtual game nights and they are a lot of fun. When we did one a month ago, our host was so accommodating that she played Backstreet in the background and directed us to use Backstreet themed ideas for many of the games (Team Sex Police vs Team Howie Do It!) If going through an existing company isn’t right for you, you can create your own with trivia games, backstreet scavenger hunts, or make up your own dance moves to a Backstreet song. Be creative! Just thinking these up can be a ton of fun.
3. Write together! Blog, fanfiction, whatever! Seriously, it may sound silly, but there is something down right glee–inducing about writing out what you and your BSB bestie have been fantasizing about for years. Even reminiscing about “the good old in person times” and Backstreet events and then writing about that has been fun. It never has to see the light of day, but the process will leave you feeling fulfilled and excited.
4. Old school phone conversations to chat about whatever BSB related thing is on your mind at the moment: This is pretty self-explanatory, but we just don’t spend enough time connecting the old fashioned way. There is no substitute for actually hearing the giddiness in your friend’s voice as you spill about what new BSB videos you’ve found or what favorite BSB songs you’ve listened to recently. We do try to set phone dates to just chat when time allows.
5. Listen to a BSB podcast or Apple Music Radio and discuss/critique: Listening to the boys talk about their history from their point of view is refreshing and often times eye-opening. We think we know everything about them (and many of us really do know a lot) but we reach a new level of intimate fandom when we get it from the horse’s mouth. It’s tons of fun picking out the funny stories, and sometimes just chatting about the rest can be entertaining. Remember, critiquing doesn’t make you a disloyal fan. You can disagree with something the boys say or do and still be an ultimate fan.
6. Choose an album of the week and text about it through the week as you are listening to it: At this point we can sing their entire catalogue by memory forwards and backwards, but there is always something new to discover. YouTube is a treasure trove of alternate versions and unreleased music that serves as a huge rabbit hole. We challenge you to explore what you specifically like or dislike about a song with your BSB bestie. You may stumble upon something new.
7. Pick a BSB theme or topic and choose video clips to watch and discuss together: We’ve really had a ton of fun doing this one. It started with a day of boredom where one of us chose a timeframe (Millennium) and the other got to choose the short YouTube clip to watch. It evolved into weekly themes (unreleased music, interviews, solo work, etc.) where we choose a few clips around that theme and watch them on our own time, and then text about them through the week. It’s been such a nice way to keep in contact and explore new material while there’s nothing new (or very little) coming out.
8. Digital scrapbooking: There are a ton of digital shared photo sites and many of these allow you to create memory books or digital scrapbooks. With a shared login, groups can collaborate to create something to commemorate events you’ve done together. This is a fun way to relive some of these memories and a way to save them all in a creative way.
These are some of the ways that we have found to stay connected even though we live states away from each other. We are looking forward to the days when we can meet again in person just about anywhere for just about any BSB event. But even after that happens, we go back to our homes hundreds of miles from one another, and have these to fall back on. We hope these have given you some ideas to stay connected, and continue loving on our Backstreet buddies.