Fan Army To Watch: The Directioners

Posted January 10

As many of you know, the O Music awards regularly honors Fan Armies — those battalions of music-loving folks who would do anything for their favorite musicians (or to acquire a half-masticated piece of gum that once crossed said musician’s lips). Well, recently, we’ve heard rumblings from a newly hatched army, The Directioners, who revere British-Irish boy band, One Direction. As a result, we reached out to the fab five 4.0 (what stage of boy band-dom are we currently residing in?) to find out what it feels like to be ardently loved online.

If you’re not familiar with One Direction, they comprise Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne and rose to stardom after competing on The X Factor. They boast more than one million Twitter followers, and nearly two million fans on Facebook — numbers which make them a social media force to be reckoned with, even if their debut disc only dropped (in the UK) a couple of months ago. It comes out in the U.S. in March.

We chatted with the boys about their online following, Twitter and carrots. Check out our Q&A below:

Can you tell me a little about your fans?
Harry: Our fans are just unbelievably dedicated. I think they surprise us all the time with the lengths they go to to come see us and stuff. They always crop up in the places where we don’t expect them to find us. They’re very good.

Louis: They’re the best. We’re really grateful.

I know a lot of fan armies have names. What do your fans call themselves?
Liam: They kind of gave themselves their own name. They call themselves ‘Directioners,’ so they’re extremely dedicated. I found out yesterday that they had set the record in Dallas for the biggest Twitition in history. So I think that just shows that they’re amazing and they’re worldwide.

[Note: One Direction is currently running a "Bring One Direction to the U.S." campaign that includes weekly challenges. The city that gets the most points in the end will score a special event hosted by the band. The other week, Dallas managed to get the biggest Twitter petition ever signed via a service called Twitition, racking up 29,150 signatures.]

How does it feel to have such a huge fanbase when your first single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” only dropped in September?
Niall: I just think it’s a big shock to us that it’s moved so fast and a lot of things have happened to us this year that we would have never expected to happen in such a short space of time. We’re just going with it and hopefully big things happen this year as well.

How much interaction do you have with your fans?
Louis: A massive part of what we do and our connection with the fans is via Facebook, but more really via Twitter. Twitter is a great way of giving something personal to the fans. It’s really important for us to stay big on social media. I mean, it’s done us so many favors as well. The fans are incredible on Twitter.

Liam: It’s really great to see that people in other countries have taken interest without us ever visiting their countries. They’ve gone online, on YouTube, found us on Twitter. They’re really taken interest.

Have you met any of your fans from the online world?
Liam: A lot of the regular, really hardcore fans come along on the ride with us in London at different venues. We actually know most of their Twitters. And it’s nice sometimes — we’re on tour in the UK at the moment — and sometimes someone will say, ‘I’m @ so and so.’ And it’s nice to put a Twitter name to a face.

Has anything you’ve said online had a particularly wide reach?
Liam: Louis in an interview once said that he liked carrots to be a bit random and ever since then we just receive loads of carrots everywhere. We’ve had them thrown on stage, so that’s quite funny, too. It’s amazing how people pick up on things.

By Brenna Ehrlich

Image courtesy of Facebook, One Direction