50,000 Tweets – A Love Story

Tonight, I clocked up my 50,000th tweet. It looked like this:

It’s no secret that I REALLY dig Twitter. It solved a whole lot of online communication questions for me when I found it. I cut back on my posting on forums, and eventually even deleted the forum on my own site in favour of encouraging the regular posters there to head over to Twitter and talk in a more democratic environment.

I loved the fact that I was no longer stuck in a subject-specific space, or one where I people had to sign up to be in my gang before joining the conversation. It’s not my conversation, after all, it’s a global free-for-all.

Except it isn’t. I mean, technically it is, but actually the only bit of Twitter that concerns me at all is the people I follow and the people who follow me. And occasionally the people who tweet using a hashtag I happen to be following.

I am, as the 50K Tweets would suggest, a power-user. I document my life in this way. I use it to:

  • Talk with my audience in a way that has replaced my email list,
  • Talk with musicians in way that has replaced myspace,
  • Talk with my family in a way that has replaced email,
  • Talk with my colleagues in Amplified in a way that has replaced wikis
  • Talk with anyone who’s interested in a way that’s replaced chatrooms/generic forums.

…and by ‘talk with’ I mean all the myriad forms of communication that go on there – chat, debate, encourage, learn from, teach, swap links, post news… anything that’ll fit in 140 characters.

    It’s clearly an open, messy, FUN way of communicating that I love. I don’t have to keep track of loads of different websites – I do have 10 different twitter accounts, but most of them lie dormant at the moment. SoloBassSteve is where pretty much everything happens, and for some unknown reason there are (currently) 4836 people who have seen fit to follow me. Some may be spammers, but I’ve blocked and deleted AT LEAST 3 times as many followers as I’ve allowed to stay. Any spam accounts I cleared out… I’ve definitely had well in excess of 12-13,000 follow notifications, I just didn’t want either a misleading amount of followers, or to leave those accounts without some registering a ‘spam’ click next to them…

    But, in the last 3 years, most of the good things that have happened for Lobelia and I have happened through Twitter.

    • We’ve met some of our best friends
    • We’ve planned tours
    • We’ve organised recordings
    • We gleaned information
    • We had support and congratulations on the birth of our baby
    • We shared our holidays
    • We found people to help us move house
    • and We had LOADS of work, new listeners, and – crucially – amazing people willing to talk about what we do as musicians time and time again.

    I spend a lot – most – of my time on Twitter talking about other people’s music, encouraging and connection musicians to eachother, helping people get their heads around this brave, heady new disintermediated world we’re in. I’m trying to model the way I think the distruptive awesome internet of the future should work. Cos the future is now. We’re in it, it’s great, and Twitter is quite possibly THE game changer.

    Youtube was big, Myspace was big. WordPress was big. Bandcamp is HUGE. Soundcloud is awesome. But as the glue that makes all of them workable, manageable and connected, Twitter for me is THE killer app. The reason the internets was invented.

    So, 50 Thousand Tweets on, I’m still all about it. Here, if you’re interested, is my twitter-list of people I chat to, day in, day out: The Awesome Squad.


    This evening someone asked me (on Twitter) which was the classic Steve Lawson album. So I asked my friends (on Twitter) to answer. So far the answer has come back, overwhelmingly, Grace And Gratitude. Which is fitting. Because I’m hugely grateful for all the good things that have happened through the amazing people I’m connected to on there. Please have a listen, and feel free to download it – don’t feel obliged to pay for it, but if you want to pay whatever you think it’s worth, that would also be hugely appreciated:

    What my musical friends are up to…

    I’ve been telling you a lot about what I’m up to musically of late, but I’ve got some rather talented friends who’ve been busy too, so here’s a quick and incomplete round-up of what a few of them have been doing:

    First up there’s Ben Walker – fellow Tuttlist and fab singer-songwriter. He was writing 50 songs in 90 days, a few of which he wrote one Friday morning at Tuttle. One of those was called ‘You’re No-one If You’re Not On Twitter’ – here’s the video, which has been watched almost 300,000 times! (warning – it’s insanely catchy…)

    Then there’s Jonatha Brooke – I met up with Jonatha in New York in January and she told me about a record she was about to record, featuring songs with words by Woody Guthrie for which she’s written the music. She was very excited, and I’m really happy to say that finished album shows the excitement wasn’t misplaced. I reviewed the album for this month’s Third Way magazine – It’s a truly exceptional album, and here’s a clip of her teaching Joe Sample (jazz legend, out of the Crusaders) how to play one of the songs:

    Uhm, who else now? Seth Horan – solo bassist singer/songwriter, recently toured the UK. He’s doing an interesting thing with the production of his new album, that you can be involved in – here are two blog posts about that: Part 1 and part 2.

    Iain Archer has an AMAZING new album out, recorded and released entirely under his own steam. Judging by the record, it was a VERY smart move. Beautiful stuff – check out the tunes from it on his myspace page.

    And of course Lobelia – we’ve had some great gigs together of late, and here’s a lovely clip of her playing from the same gig as my ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ Vid’ –

    More friends-news coming soon. 🙂

    friends and inspiration

    Stevie Stuffs

    BeyondBassCamp – Occasional Bass Masterclasses in Birmingham.
    Steve @ Twitter.com – what am I doing right now?
    Steve @ YouTube.com – lots of videos!
    Steve @ FaceBook.com – find me on facebook.

    bass inspiration

    manthing.com – Michael Manring: my favouritest solo bassist.
    divinityroxx.com – Divinity: all round musical genius.
    hootpage.com – Mike Watt: godfather of punk bass and Coltrane-obsessive.
    julieslick.com – Julie Slick: my favourite rock bassist I’ve heard in YEARS.
    papabear.com – Tony Levin: making singer/songwriters sound great since 1970.
    garrisonjazz.com – Matt Garrison: fusion-y goodness.
    tripwamsley.bandcamp.com – Trip Wamsley, solo bass genius and collaborator of mine.
    bryanbeller.com – Bryan Beller: fabulous rock/jazz/awesomeness bassist.
    victorwooten.com – Victor Wooten: solo bass superstar.
    johnlestermusic.com – John Lester: singer/songwriter/bassist – should be bigger than Sting.
    groove4dayz.com – Yolanda Charles: arguably the funkiest, grooviest bassist in the UK.
    claudiozanghieri.com – Claudio Zanghieri: Italian fusionist and great improvisor.
    Alex @ Facebook – Alex Webster: amazing bassist with Blotted Science & Cannibal Corpse.

    Other Musicians

    billfrisell.com – guitar genius
    nelscline.com – another guitar genius
    janetfeder.com – and another!
    spearheadvibrations.com – soul inspiration
    jonathabrooke.com – singer/songwriter, sage & huge inspiration
    kristinhersh.com – all kinds of awesome
    brucecockburn.com – God’s favourite singer
    thecure.com – not goth, just great
    davidtorn.net – loops ‘n’ guitar sonic artisan

    recent collaborators

    lobelia.net – amazing singer/songwriter I’m lucky enough to play bass for and be married to, live album here.
    danielberkman.bandcamp.com – he of the FingerPainting project. One of the greatest musicians I’ve ever heard.
    artemis.fm – singer/writer/producer who lets me play bass on her astonishing songs.
    jonthorne.co.uk – the double bassist on Diversion. The bassist with Lamb. A bona fide genius.
    andy-edwards.com – endlessly creative drummer, one of my most regular collaborators over the last couple of years.
    phiyaan-zek.com – the guitarist on Ley Lines. Brilliant, inspiring collaborator.
    mikeoutram.com – crazy-good guitarist. Duo album out ASAP…

    Musical Toys

    looperlative.com – all my looping happens here.
    aguilaramp.com – the latest change to my bass set-up. These have blown my mind!
    modulusguitars.com – Modulus Basses – basses don’t get better than this.
    elrick.com – Elrick Basses – my first new instrument in 13 years is an incredible Elrick Gold Series SLC 6 String (SLC – Steve Lawson Custom). It’s unbelievable.
    jimdunlop.com – another recent change – the Dunlop Super Bright strings have rocked my world, and the MXR Bass Innovations pedals are ALL amazing. An essential part of my sound.
    juleamps.com – Jule Monique Preamp. I HATE playing without it. Has revolutionised my sound.
    evidenceaudio.com – Evidence Audio Cables – high end instrument cables – sound great, well made, not too expensive!
    slickbag.se – Slick Bag – I never go anywhere with my basses without them being in a Slickbag!
    tcelectronic.com – TC Electronic – their HOF mini reverb and Flashback Delay are works of genius!
    darkglass.com – Darkglass make the Vintage MicroTubes overdrive that I use ALL the time!
    keithmcmillen.com – KMI’s Softstep controller is one of the greatest ever additions to my music-life. I’m also using the Quneo for all my drum/keyboard playing.
    east-uk.com – home of East UK, the finest bass preamps around!
    Reaper.fm – my favourite bit of recording software, by miles.
    ebow.com – The E-Bow, an electronic gizmo that gives infinite sustain and bow like effects on electric instruments – I REALLY need to replace mine!
    renaissanceguitars.com – Rick Turner, made my acoustic bass, knows more about basses than just about anyone I’ve ever met.
    thebassgallery.com – The Gallery, the bass shop where the Sei basses are made.

    Bass related sites

    bassguitarmagazine.com – British bass mag, in which I have a monthly pedal column, was on the cover in Oct 2015.
    ScottsBassLessons.com – wonderful online tuition community, for whom I do regular masterclasses.
    basschat.co.uk – british bass discussion forum.
    bassplayer.com – US bass mag, who seem to really like my albums, judging by the reviews I’ve had…