"Introducing... Mr./Ms. Indie Musician/Band, pride of a small town in a rural region of that country everyone knows... _________."
Yep. That sounds about right. Social Media can pretty much do anything and everything. If you have internet, you can utilize Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and other media platforms to push your music across. The question I'll ask you... Is anyone listening?
In sports, the more prominent an athlete on their team, the more followers on Twitter flock to them. The same thing can be said about famous actors and actresses. But then it's time to read their tweets. Suddenly people get irritated, or feel that they should be more entertained by a person's private life. They want superstars to talk directly to them and often ignore everyone else. This can be a serious issue if you're a musician just trying to grow a fan base. You need to be able to cause interest without becoming an enemy of society.
The following tips were given to me by an anonymous friend, but I found them quite entertaining:
Don't Do This On Twitter:
1. Don't talk about yourself like you're a rockstar. If you were, then someone else would be talking about you already.
2. Avoid talking politics from either side. Everyone loves comedy and drama, no one wants to hear political truth from a musician.
3. Be strong in your beliefs. Don't just force them on anyone. For example: "People need to stop hunting because it scares bunnies. Re-tweet if you think guns are bad for bunnies."
4. Do not take pictures of anything in your bathroom. Including you.
5. Cuss words are great if you're trying to reach very immature people. The following symbols are also not acceptable for EVERY tweet: !@#$%^&*
6. USING ALL CAPS FOR EVERYTHING WILL MAKE PEOPLE THINK YOUR PHONE/COMPUTER IS BROKEN.
7. In order to be taken seriously, respond to people and talk to them. You can't just post something and assume everyone will read it every day.
8. Avoid saying "Yo." or "Yeppers" for a tweet. And don't talk about the 1960's unless you were alive then.
I believe that these rules would make sense to almost anyone, but you'd be surprised. I'm aware that these are rules for Twitter, but it applies to all of the different social media platforms if you're a musician. You can't offend anyone, but you can't afford to not be a real person and share your beliefs and opinions. Remember that everything you say in the world can and will be used to define you by other people's perceptions.
I have often struggled with the use of social media while writing my own music, having played with artists that I consider the best in the world, even if they're not famous. A friend of mine in school always pointed out to me that it was my talent that people would want to see, not my opinions of what color car was best. Another friend of mine ignored it all together, instead choosing to focus on his craft, not bothering to wonder if the world would ever hear beautiful music he was playing. I grew as a musician from the classes of what has been designated as the "Old School Following," the teenagers and adults that believed that the sound they played was stronger than anything else.
Twenty years ago, they were completely right. But I was a baby twenty years ago. Different world now.
With our technological advancements, your attempt to inspire has to be tempered with your understanding that there is so much thrown at everyone in the world that sometimes your greatest shout by yourself will not be loud enough. You need people to help and believe in you, tools to put your name and music out there. When you build your fan base, remember that at some point they will start doing the work for you, but until that day, you need to push and pull as hard as you can to get everything into position.
To paraphrase a good movie and several books that I have read with similar meaning:
"Then, when the final doors have opened, and you stand before them all, drenched with sweat, tired of life, then your sound will be most needed, and they will love your for your story as much as they will love you for your sound."