I have been amazed the past year or so with how social media has affected the Middle East. I remember how I had used my Twitter account maybe twice until the Iranian elections took place and the people their protested. I stayed up late for three or four nights in a row reading the tweets of the protesters. It was incredibly powerful being able to read the news direct from the source, from the people on the ground taking pictures and uploading camera phone videos. You could turn on the nightly news during the protests and Brian Williams would be reporting what people had tweeted that day, seeming almost behind the times because I had read the reports as they came in. From this moment on, I became a believer in Twitter and the power that comes from instantly communicating thoughts to the entire world.
Yesterday, NPR (I LOVE NPR) ran a great story about the value of social media to musicians and artists, especially those who are independent (not signed to a label). The story can be found here. Seeing as how most of the artists we profile on Linescratchers are independent, I thought it would be appropriate to share the story with a hardy “here here!”
Twitter is an interesting thing, trying to describe it to someone who does not use it can make it sound a bit silly. I usually end up saying something like “it’s kind of like a blog that you control with text messages but cooler because of the community of users that are already on Twitter”. From a musicians stand point, it is an awesome way to interact with fans/fellow musicians in a real-time manner. There are sites that can help you disperse your music on Twitter, like Tweet for a Track but really just re-tweeting can have amazing results and take your idea to people that you have never even heard of. Formal blogs have a similar power, as well as Facebook and other time wasters we all use. Boiled down to it, social media gives us a new dimension and closeness to artists that did not exist before. While there are fears that digital connections are replacing real life interactions, I would make the argument that we simple have a wider range of options than before.
This post must make me sound like the biggest dork ever, and if you ask my wife she would probably agree, but pressing that “like” button or following someone’s twitter or rrs feed can really make a difference for them and their music career. If you like something, don’t just listen to it with your friends but tell the world on the internet! Posting your favorite new song/group so that it is a click away from your friends and contacts online genuinely translates into revenue and support for artists.