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Entries Tagged as 'Managing Information Streams'

Guest Post II – Jennifer Moore on 'Interestingness'

June 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Guest Post II – Jennifer Moore on 'Interestingness'

[This post was originally posted as a comment on my “What Makes Your Music Interesting?“, but was far too wonderful, and involved, to leave as a comment. So please do read the other post first, and Jennifer’s earlier comments. Jennifer Moore is, as I said in the comments there, the first person I ever saw play a whole set of solo bass. A fabulous musician, and a regular commenter here, she always brings clarity and insight to whatever she comments on.]

::ponder ponder ponder::

I’ve been thinking more about all these comments, esp John G‘s use of the word “engaging”.

I’m thinking that “what’s good” vs “what’s interesting” (in the hooky/intriguing/initial-engagement sense of “interesting”) leaves something out.

“I was found by being interesting, not by being good” – Partly true, but you were partly just found by being there. That is both “there” at the event, and “there” on Flickr. [Read more →]

Tags: Managing Information Streams · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Top Twitter Tips for Musicians.

December 29th, 2008 · 40 Comments

Twitter Win Fail at stevelawson.net I’ve been getting WAY too many ‘follows’ on Twitter of late from musicians who really don’t get it. So here’s my Top Tips For Musicians On Twitter. You may want to start with my Best Practices In Social Media post, or just jump straight in here.

OK, let’s start by comparing twitter with Myspace, as that’s where most musicians get their start in social media:

Like most musicians, my start on Myspace involved using the search function to find other musicians and ‘fans’ and adding them without any interaction. I accumulated thousands of ‘friends’ in no time, and for about a month was getting hundreds-sometimes-thousands of plays a day. But very little of it turned into any real interaction with them, either at gigs, buying/downloading music or just messages to say ‘hi’.

So I backed off, and stopped actively adding anyone to myspace, and recently deleted 8000 myspace friends in an attempt to make it useful.

So how does that relate to Twitter? Well, Twitter has no media player. It’s just text. It’s also asynchronous. This is crucial to understanding it. So point #1 with Twitter is:

  • ‘Following’ someone on Twitter means next to nothing. The interaction is everything.

So if you’re tempted to come onto twitter, search for ‘music’ or ‘jazz’ or ‘bass’ or whatever and hope to gain an audience. Think again. It’s not going to work. All that happens is, your timeline becomes unusable. You miss the good things other people are tweeting and you look like a spammer. Because (point #2):

  • Twitter is all about other people.

That’s right, it’s not primarily about you. It’s a very difficult interface to game anyway. You can’t turn up, post links to your own page and hope people will find you. Because everyone else is way more interesting than you are. So, tip #1 (as opposed to point #1, that was above) – Tip #1 is:

  • Be interesting.

And it stands to reason that tip #2 is:

  • hey check out my site” isn’t remotely interesting.

No, it’s not, it’s self-obsessed, dull and ultimately does you more harm than good. If you’re trying to get me to listen to you, you were in a better position when I’d never heard of you than when I saw your twitter page with 4 tweets that said ‘hey, check out my myspace‘. Now I just think you’re a tool.

No, if I go to your page, and you’re interacting (twitter interactions happen by way of ‘@’ replies – if you put an @ in front of someone’s username in your ‘tweet’, it shows up in their replies, and for other people, it links to their page. It’s creates a contextual network for what you’re saying, it means people can find out what your tweet was in response to, and more about the person you’re talking to.) then I’m more interested in talking to you, asking you questions, answering your questions and generally getting a conversation going with you. Which is good for you, because if I reply to you, the 900-or-so people that follow me are going to see it, an if they find what I’ve said to you interesting, may click through to you…

So, tip #3 relates to how to get started:

  • Start by adding people you know already and talk to them.

If you’re having normal fun interaction, you look like a human being, not a spam-generating bot, or worse, an up-their-own-arse musical narcissist. Just talk about what you’re up to. What you’re doing is placing your music within the narrative of your life. You’re letting people know what you’re about, so they may then be interested in what kind of music such an interesting person would make. And if you’re a musician, the day-to-day life of practicing, getting gigs, designing flyers, getting paid, making records etc. is fascinating. It really is. So talk about it.

Tip #4 relates to this:

  • Twitter users are largely curious people, you don’t need to post links all day to get them to find you.

There’s already a link back to your site on your twitter page. And if you’re clever, you can post a nice pretty twitter background (here’s mine) that will give them a little more info. When you are interesting, people will be interested. That’s just how it works. So be interesting.

Tip #5 follows on from this

  • Twitter users are curious, but also deeply suspicious of spammers.

Like I said at the top, if you get it wrong, it’s worse than not being there. if you look like a spammer, people will not only ignore you, they’ll block you. That’s not good. So If you

  1. interact
  2. keep close-to-parity in your followers/following ratio
  3. tweet a lot about what you’re up to without links to your site,

people may follow you back.

So, last tip – #6 – for now (I’ll do a part 2 later) is about Conversation:

  • People are far more likely to follow you because your conversation is interesting than because your music is great.

No-one knows if your music is great. Lots of links to your site won’t make them want to check it out any more than one link. However, lots of conversation makes you more interesting than no conversation.

No-one likes the guy/girl in a bar who talks about themselves all night to the exclusion of all else. Don’t be that guy on Twitter.

For reference, here are some musicians being interesting on twitter:

Lobelia, Jeff Schmidt, Imogen Heap, Warriorgrrl, Botched, Steven Guerrero, Alun Vaughan, Simon Little, Ben Walker, Graham English. They range from the hugely famous (Imogen) to the ‘tweets all the time (Graham and I), to the ‘small but important interactions’ (Botched and Steven G) – there’s a range there. Watch them, see what they do, what makes you want to listen to them, and do that.

Have fun, make friends, and post any questions you may have in the comments below! And if you want to recommend a musical twitterer (that isn’t YOU) then please do that too, but give reasons why…

Tags: Geek · Managing Information Streams · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Myspace friend-cull. Who, How, Why.

November 23rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Myspace friend-cull. Who, How, Why.

Steve Lawson's myspace friends.I’ve just spent a most enjoyable few hours of the last couple of days removing over 90% of my Myspace ‘Friends’. By ‘removing’, I just mean from my list of myspace friends, not anything more sinister!

My reasoning was fairly simple – with just over 8000 friends, I was finding Myspace to be completely unusable. I wasn’t getting a play-count that suggested any sizable number of those friends were checking back in to see me, and the same went for blog-views. The way that Myspace’s interface is set up, it’s pretty much impossible to sort by region and send targeted messages (there is that option in the event invite, it just doesn’t work as they neither require location info from people signing up, nor do they make it clear why it would be useful. Even then, you still have to add people one by one.

If you’ve got over 5000 friends you can’t get a list of who’s online, or search within your contacts and there’s no sensible way of grouping them (yes, they’ve just added categories, no, they don’t really offer the kind of granularity of data that I’d want).

Basically, the myspace platform is a distaster. So why stick with it?

Well, let’s have a look at what Myspace has going for it:

#1: Ubiquity.
#2: ….

Uhm, that’s it. Pretty much. But it’s a biggie. Lots of people unfamiliar with the rest of the internets still use Myspace to find music. Promoters often use it as their first port of call when looking at a band as a potential booking (goodness only knows why), and there are just millions and millions of people on there who think of it as a music site.

So I’m going to try and make the best of it. I’ve started by removing everyone I don’t know, don’t recognise, and don’t remember having had any proper communication with, as well as all the huge bands I’m a fan of but never talk to. In the process of doing it, I’ve almost certainly deleted a load of actual fans, some of whom probably had me in their top friends list. Hopefully, they’ll come and find me, add me again, and we’ll have a chat we otherwise wouldn’t have had. If not, it means they haven’t noticed, or don’t care, and that’s not a problem either.

Now, when I look at my friends list, I have context for all of them. I want to talk to them, message them, read about them. Myspace is going social in this house. And I’m not accepting any friend requests from anyone who doesn’t send me a message with it.

Lobelia did the Myspace mass-delete about a year ago, and saw no drop-off in the number of plays she was getting. She just stayed in touch with more people. So I’m copying her. :)

If you do want to add me on myspace please click here and do so.

And if we’re already friends over there, check out the blog post and all the comments over there too.

Tags: Managing Information Streams · Musing on Music · tips for musicians

Best Practices In Social Media.

November 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on Best Practices In Social Media.

Weeks and weeks ago, I was ‘tagged’ by the very lovely and talented Ben Ellis of RedCatCo, in a blog-meme about best practices in social media. It’s a great subject, because with social media stuff being as young as it is, we’re not as clued up on how to ‘use’ it as we are with say, a phone. No-one talks about ‘using the phone‘ as a business strategy, and people who misuse the phone (prerecorded spam calls) are generally vilified for being a total pain in the arse. The same could largely be said of email.

But social media has a different engagement curve than phone or email – the one-to-many nature of the conversations lends itself rather too well to getting the balance wrong.

So my suggestion for best practice surrounds the idea of parity. Parity in terms of messages out to messages in, followers to followees and the nature of the information you throw out there. So much of the strategising people do with social media (be it facebook, twitter, myspace, linkedin, or whatever else) still treats these platforms as a broadcast medium. I can’t stress strongly enough, social media is crap for broadcast. If you want to carpet-bomb web-users with info about your product, just buy some dodgy email spam software, and stop misusing twitter as an ad medium. It’s not designed for it, it doesn’t facilitate it, and the rubbish lengths you have to go to to try and shoe-horn your strategy into the platform make you look like a berk.

So, if you’re lost in the midde of it all, try to keep a degree of parity in terms of the numbers of people who follow you and you are following. Moreover, with Twitter, don’t follow more people than the number of tweets you’ve sent – it’s not a hard and fast rule, more a best practice for easing your way in. The excitement of joining in with the fun on twitter often leads to people ‘following’ tonnes of people before actually posting anything, but it just makes you look like a spammer. So slow down, use the ‘reply’ button liberally, don’t feel the desperate need to tweet the link to your site every third tweet. Just have fun, and talk to people.

If you see it as a conversation, and talk the way you’d want to be talked to. If you get annoyed with people who do nothing but talk about their business, don’t become that person.

So beginners best practice?

  • Back off,
  • seek a degree of parity,
  • listen as much as you speak,
  • follow as much as you’re followed,
  • give as much information as you take,
  • offer more free advice than the amount of service-related tweets you do for your own product.

Bottom line – friends are more likely to be into what you do than strangers. So make friends first, and let the other stuffs take care of itself for now.

Tags: Geek · Managing Information Streams · tips for musicians

Video, Greenbelt, blogging and being yourself

September 2nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Video, Greenbelt, blogging and being yourself

OK, I promised a greenbelt round-up, and that’s still on the way, but first (this is backwards, I know) some thoughts on how video worked for us at Greenbelt. By ‘us’, I mean the social media monkeys that were trying to get Greenbelt’s web-presence away from just being a static website into something a little more granular, diffuse, community based and embeddable as conversation-starters…

Greenbelters have been using Flickr in a co-ordinated way for years – there are over 15,000 photos tagged at Greenbelt2006, Greenbelt2007 or Greenbelt2008! But the festival presence hadn’t really gone beyond that. So I, along with JennyBee, James Stewart, Lobelia and Mike Radcliffe set about building a video presence for the festival.

Jenny was already involved in a more structured, formal process of collecting video interviews and whatnot for promotional usage, but we were all looking for a much more guerilla feel to our social media footage: lots of chatting to camera, unedited interviews, fun stuff from around the site. And, crucially, we wanted a fair bit of it to be watchable live.

After about a month of trying, we finally found a contact at WomWorld – a Nokia promo blog, who would lend us the hardware we needed to do the project – namely, 4 Nokia N82s and one Nokia N95. Yay for Nokia and their lovely bloggers! It all happened so late in the day that the phones were sent direct to the festival site, and we had very little time to trail what we were doing, or to get conversant with everything that the phones could do. Still, we’ve managed, so far, to rack up well over 8000 views on the Greenbelt Group at Qik.com and Mike opted to record video at higher quality and post it to his YouTube Channel – he produced some great video.

Here’s my Qik Channel – the first 50 vids on here are from the festival:

So I did all the interviews you’ve seen embedded here over the last 10 days, and a whole load more footage, had some great feedback to it all, and it’s already cropped up being embedded and linked to on a range of sites, providing a talking point for those who were and those who weren’t at the festival.

It was a fantastic validation of two things – firstly, the importance of embeddable, linkable social media for starting conversations about any event. And secondly, the importance of video in getting the ‘feel‘ of any event across. blogging, texting, tweeting, even audio recordings go some way to creating a ‘buzz’, but nothing has the impact that video has… if Greenbelt are bright, they’ll get behind this nexy year, resource it, promote it, and they could have a virtual attendance bigger than that actual attendance…

I’ve just written a post about the honesty of video for Creative-Choices.co.uk, and started a discussion about it at Phreadz. Sadly you can’t embed video on the Creative Choices blog, but here’s the Phreadz conversation about it –

The question at the end of the Creative Choices blog is ‘how is video working for you?’ – feel free to drop by over there and answer it

Tags: Geek · Managing Information Streams · Random Catchup

email disasters

July 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on email disasters

So our internets at home is down. Currently jacking wireless from some thankfully un-security-conscious neighbour, while I delete 150 THOUSAND (YES, THOUSAND) emails off my server. Some spamming bastard has cloned at least one of my domain names, and I’ve got 150,000 replies. Brought my email server to its knees, not surprisingly.

I’m going to have to make some serious changes to my email set-up to stop this from happening again. So if you’re using any email address for me that doesn’t begin ‘steve@’ it’s quite possibly not going to work in the near future… worth changing it now…

Normal service should be resumed, after I’ve wasted an entire day sorting this crap out. At least I’m playing some bass while I do it…

Tags: bass ideas · Managing Information Streams · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Twitter-Buzzin' – some early results…

June 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Thanks so much to all of you who took part in the great Twitter-buzzin’ experiment! It was firstly a whole lot of fun and the most obvious traceable statistic is that it the number of unique visitors to my blog and the wordpress part of my site more than doubled, and unlike most traffic spikes, the ‘average time on site’ stayed as high as it does for my regular visitors… So the new visitors sent in by my tweetin’ lovelies were engaged to a greater degree than most of the random traffic that comes to my site without any ‘buzz generation’ going on.

However, what also became VERY clear is how impossible it is to accurately track the spread of organic buzz – or rather, it’s impossible to track buzz where the buzz-generators don’t explicitly sign up to being tracked…

What I tried to use was tweetburner, which tracks clicks on twurl.nl so you can see who’s been clicking your links, and, I thought, tracks who else had tweeted it. Except it only tracks accurately those who are signed up for tweetburner, not all twitter users (which makese sense, given data protection and privacy considerations, I guess!) – so while it does show the sites/external apps that are clicked on, it doesn’t say which account generated those clicks, which made it a lot trickier to follow. There are some indications, in terms of whose twitter URL the clicks originated from, but most twitter users are using a client of some kind…

I was able to get some more accurate stats by upgrading my MyBlogLog.com account to pro, and see more details about where clicks were coming from, and by cross referencing that with my Google Analytics stats, I get some idea of where traffic is coming from. But it’s all very much long tail stuff – loads of single clicks from disparate sources add up to a whole lot of traffic.

Conclusions Pt 1 –

And I guess that’s the nature of ‘buzz’, real buzz – it’s not about having one link appear on stumbleupon for a few hours, getting 500 visitors who never come back, and stay for about 6 seconds on your site. It’s about peer proliferation – friends telling friends, inviting them to check out something cool, something relevant, something connected, something of value. One of the interesting bits that was equally un-metric-able was the number of people who were listening to my (or mine and Lobelia’s music, since some of the twurl links were to youtube vids of us… ) – a few tweets came back talking about it, but again, unless people had opted in to having their music listening tracked by last.fm, or chose to comment or rate the youtube vids, the buzz was largely unmeasurable…

So in terms of prizes, I’m a little stuck at the moment to tell who got who to come here… but there’ll be another few parts to this experiment before CDs start whizzing their way around the planet, so rest assured, the prizes are still there to be had.

For now though, a huge thankyou to Banannie, Documentally, ihatemornings, knackeredhack, andycoughlan, t1mmyb, garethjms and to otir and tapps who took the concept over to plurk

For now though, did anyone tweet you back about it? Anyone message you to say they thought it was cool? One day is a short time in which to track these thinsgs and I intentionally kept it as ‘spam-free’ as I could – I wanted this to be about a group of friends helping out and seeing what happened…

Pt II coming later – Blog-Buzzin’! :)

Tags: Geek · Managing Information Streams · Musing on Music · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Managing Information Streams Pt 6 – information flow and task management software.

March 23rd, 2008 · 2 Comments

I’ve spent a lot of time considering how to filter information, get good information, and cut back on pointless information, but haven’t thus far said (or thought) all that much about what we do with it once we get it.

And that is clearly key. Information requires processing as well as ‘managing’ – it might require an action, it might require dissemination, responding to or it might change the way we’re already doing something. So finding a way of processing it is vital.

I’ve already commented that To-Do Lists are the bain of my life, and I’m constantly on a quest for better ways of processing the information that comes in via whatever stream, be it email or twitter, conversation or SMS, spontaneous idea or blog post.

What I want to be able to do with information can summed up in a four step process – record, process, disseminate, respond.

  • I want to record the idea, if it’s not recorded already, or just extract the bit of a larger document that I need to remember.
  • I then want to process it somehow – file it under a category, assign it to a task list, put a date on it…
  • It’s highly likely that I want to let other people know about it too – either people with whom it’s a shared task, or if it’s just general helpful information, to share it with anyone else who wants it.
  • And finally, I want to perform whatever action I need to in response to it – the task I assigned to it in the ‘process’ stage.

This is heavily influenced by the David Allen’s GTD system system, but in a second hand way. I’ve only just read what his system is – Collect, Process, Organize, Review, Do – even though I’ve been using software designed to help you do this for a while. I’ve combined his ‘process’ and ‘organise’ into process, and added disseminate, as I see that as a distinct and different action from the responses that require me to do anything else… but that’s just me. :o)

His system is tried and tested, so you may want to read more about it.

Anyway, the key to all of this is finding a way of doing those steps that dovetails with how we live. I did a straw poll on twitter a while back, asking twittists what they use for their ‘to do lists’ – the most popular was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a paper notebook. I’ve tried various things, from the to-do list parts of mail.app, to-do lists on iGoogle, paper, mobile phone, iCal and a GTD app called Thinking Rock. Thinking Rock seemed promising, but just took way too much setting up for my liking.

So I started to use Twitter – just as a simple way of posting a daily to-do list publically, and getting feedback from people. That seems to work really well.

But clearly, it doesn’t help me process more complex tasks or arrange projects. That’s where Things comes in. It’s a task management app, using GTD ideas, but seems pretty simple to set up, easy to follow, and so far I’m finding it pretty useful when I remember to check it – I’m looking into ways of getting the alerts from it to interrupt my usual daily faffing to remind me what I really ought to be doing. If I can get it to do that, it’ll be a life saver.

So Things is how I do the recording and processing part of my ‘to do list’ and inspiration-type information management. The bits that are more article/blog/news-based, I manage using three web services – Google Reader, del.icio.us and Twitter.

Google Reader I use to ‘star’ things for myself to read later and to ‘share’ items with anyone who reads my shared items (or looks at the front page on my blog at the list on there. I might also cut phrases from that and drop them into Things for later processing.

Twitter I use to post links if I want some instant discussion about a topic, or just to flag it up for people who follow me on there, in case they’re interested. It’s a way of throwing it out there and not having to work too hard to monitor the response.

and Del.icio.us I use if I want to save a link with a comment, add it to the links page on my website, or tag it for someone specific that I want to send the page to, if they’re on my friends list.

So with that lot, I manage to perform my four tasks – record, process, disseminate, respond. Feel free to give this some thought, and to check out GTD a little deeper. It’s clear that David Allen’s GTD system is a hell of a lot more clearly and deeply thought out than mine. I just have the kind of brain that likes to personalise systems and processes before implementing them. So this is my version. :o)

Tags: Geek · Gig stuff · Managing Information Streams · tips for musicians

Managing Information Streams 4 – General twitter tips.

March 12th, 2008 · Comments Off on Managing Information Streams 4 – General twitter tips.

Here’s a load of more general twitter tips, based on my observation of what goes on on there, and in no small part based on the things I’ve got wrong, and the twittering faux-pas I still make, but designed to help us use Twitter as part of a well-managed information filter… (I’ll blog about something other than twitter later, just wanted to tidy this one up for now.)

#1 keep if fluid – it seems the best way to work with Twitter is not to see subbing to or unsubbing from a particular feed as a big deal. It’s not like adding someone as a friend on Facebook where it’s likely to lead to a flurry of interaction. They’ll get a notice that you’re following them, but they won’t that you’ve unfollowed, and no-one seems to get hung up on that anyway. Especially not if they post a lot. I post very regularly, and there are bound to be people who find it clutters their twitter stream to the point where it’s not desirable to have there. So they unsub, no biggie. I’m not offended, they aren’t overwhelmed and my twitter page is still there if they want to check out what I’m up to at any point…

#2 beware of too much IM style usage – this is only an issue if you WANT people to follow you – if you’re just using it to interact with people you know, this isn’t a problem at all. But if you’re trying to build a core group of followers, the feeling that you’re listening to one side of a conversation in moon language is really off-putting (I have been guilty of this, for sure!) – here are a couple of tips to get round that – firstly, use the ‘@’ reply protocol, so that at least there’s a link to the person whose post you’re replying to. (on the twitter.com page, it links to the nearest-in-date post in the person’s twitter-stream that you’re replying to) Secondly, if you’re replying to a post with a link in it, re-tweet the link to give context. thirdly, break up the flow of interaction with some stand-alone inspiration or information – make a point of having at least every 3 or 4th tweet be a non-reply – a question, a cool link, a thought about something, a gig date, a suggestion, a status update…

#3 don’t use text speak but do edit. SMS-style abbreviations are a) not understood by everybody, and b) annoy a lot of people. So instead, just think about how you can reword your tweet to fit into the 140 characters and still say what needs to be said in english (or your tweet language of choice!)

#4 don’t get stuck sounding like a series of adverts – if yours is an info-only twitter feed, then go with information, not hyperbole. This is just an observation, but it really doesn’t seem to work. Twittists seem to be up for info-feeds, or opinion feeds, but I’ve not seen much traffic around ones that sound like mini-commercials. So either post stuff with an opinion that’s personalised, or just provide the info…

#5 go with a regular syntax structure – again, most important for news/info style feeds. Are you putting the date first, or the link ,or a category (either in square brackets, or using hashtags.) It’ll make it easier to spot your posts in a stream, and also to extract the right info from it (see my To The Left Of The Mainstream music recommendation account for an example).

#6 work out what time of day you want to post a particular bit of info. Lots of people don’t go back and read tweets they missed – so if you’re writing something for Americans but you’re in the UK, don’t post it before about 2pm, or most of them will miss it. And vice versa. Know your timezones!

#7 don’t finish a twit-sesh on a weird post. Especially if you use the twitter-widgets, you don’t really want to leave a bizarre or insulting tweet up there for two long… follow it up with a ‘goodnight all’ tweet to tidy things up. Assume that anything and anyone you tweet about will be read by the person you’d least like to have reading it. Then you’re safe.

#8 have fun! web interaction at its best is about relearning how to ‘play’ – it’s a big game, and the more you interact with it as an adventure, as fun, as something to be discovered rather than something to be conquered, the more the time you spend on it will be open to the possibility of creative reimagining. It may be that twitter is just for posting gig dates and album news for you. That’s fine. It may be that you just answer Twitter’s expressed question – ‘What are you doing?’ a couple of times a day. That too is obviously fine. However, it may be that you discover a way of using it that no-one else has thought of. Hurrah. Seeing it as play leaves you open to the possibility of these and more. (I’ll write more soon about the play thing.)

For those of you doing music, Twitter is a great sand-box in which to experiment with your online persona. It gives you space to step out of the 3rd-person big-record-label-clone website that you’ve had since the late 90s when we all thought that was the way to go. It’s a way to add a little box of personal stuff to your site and let people know you’re human. Chances are it’ll get more interest than the flash-driven corporate looking static website, and will be a stepping stone into turning your website into a blog-style interactive space, or at least doing what I’ve done, which is have the blog updates as the main content on your site front page.

Get out there, get interactive, and use twitter to save on time and energy in that engagement. Enjoy!

Tags: Geek · Gig stuff · Managing Information Streams · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Managing Information Streams Pt 3 – Twitter for Musicians

March 12th, 2008 · Comments Off on Managing Information Streams Pt 3 – Twitter for Musicians

OK, let’s get practical about the use of Twitter for musicians.

Here’s a list of possible uses, that I’ll then break down (in no particular order of significance)

  • spreading rumours
  • publishing gig dates
  • inviting discussion
  • interaction with fans
  • promoting friends
  • developing a brand
  • personalising your website
  • keeping your site updated
  • proliferating info to a lot of sites
  • integrating with other social networks
  • keeping up with the interests of your audience
  • cutting down the time needed to interact via everything else…
  • tracking the buzz about you

Let’s break those down –

Spreading Rumours – we all have bits of near-confirmed info that we’d love to tell people about, but don’t want to post as news cos we’ll look like muppets if we get it wrong… Twitter overrides that by allowing us to be a bit more vague, but to generate a buzz… post about tour plans, collaboration invites, press stuff. Create a sense of expectation for what you’re up to, and let people know you’re still working even between ‘big’ news.

Publishing Gig Dates – just a really easy way to get gig news out there fast. Yes, it still needs to go on myspace, reverb nation, your own site, and all the other gig lists, but twitter is fastest!

Inviting Discussion – ‘hey, what do you think about [xyz]?’ – do it on your forum, and you may get pages of nonsense posts from people who have an axe to grind (caveat, not on my forum – I have possibly the most lovely bunch of forum posters anyone could want. It’s not prolific, but the quality is right up there!) – post it on twitter, get funny, clever responses from people who want to engage with you. reply and make them feel special. time spent? 2 mins for a 10 reply convo..

Interaction With Fans – a safe interface for your audience to contact you. It doesn’t take much time, it’s public, and it’s managable… if people get nasty you can block them, and the public record isn’t easily linked to, so trolls are less likely to spam you for the web-kudos.

Promoting Friends – this comes back to being the kind of musician friend you want to have – post links, cross post news, re-tweet information. Help eachother out!

Developing A Brand – this can be by being funny, insightful, posting about your other interest whatever that may be, posting in a unique way (the syntax of a particular twitterer can act like a digital signature) or just by updating regularly about what you’re doing… Tweet about your practice regime or recording ideas. Share tips and get known as helpful and supportive…

Personalising Your Website – got a corporate looking 3rd person website? Well, that’s probably a bad idea, but overlooking that for now, a twitter widget embedded will allow you to add personal regularly updated info to your site. It’s contained within the widget, but it lets people know what you’re doing. (see my myspace page for an example of an embedded widget – go here for more widget options)

Keeping Your Site Updated – again, if your site is really slick looking and updating it is tricky or costly, having a twitter feed can be a great way to mean that people coming back always have something new to see.

Proliferating Info To A Lot Of SitesTwitter widgets can be put on myspace, reverbnation, your blog, your band page, your personal page.. one tweet goes to loads of pages.

Integrating With Other Social Networks – following on from the last one, It can even update your facebook status, and will probably be able to do the same for Myspace before long. You can also feed info back into it from last.fm and a few other sites…

Keeping Up With The Interests Of Your Audience – if like me, you find your audience fascinating, it’s a great way to keep up with what they’re up to. I love reading tweets from people I know, and people I don’t…

Cutting Down The Time Needed To Interact Via Everything Else – twitter is quick and easy, it’s low maintenance, high yield in terms of interaction. Use it to cut down the volume of pointless email, or forums you visit and people you google. Do as much of it via twitter as you can, and you’ll free up time and headspace for everything else.

Tracking The Buzz About You – twitter lets you ‘track’ keywords via SMS – you send an SMS to twitter that says ‘track solobasssteve’ or whatever, and it texts you every time you get mentioned. Great way to find out what’s happening outside of the people following you…

Get on it, start doing it, choose your level of interaction (from news only to deeply personal – it’s totally definable by YOU) – there’s no compulsion to blog your breakfast choice or marital strife, so don’t feel that you can’t use it because you want to keep that side private. Tweet the music, tweet the tour dates, tweet the rumours and news…

what are you waiting for? – don’t forget to follow me there too.

Tags: cool links · Geek · Gig stuff · Managing Information Streams · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians