By Lee Waites
I've been pushing local musicians to get on twitter since I started BFP Music way back when. Often I am met with "Oh I don't get Twitter," or "Twitter just annoys me" or some such response.
Believe me, I understand. Twitter can be a bit frustrating. You want to "follow" people, be friendly, seek out information, then your Twitter feed gets filled up with an immense amount of ridiculous crap tweets.
Not only that, using Twitter only allows for limited privacy options. Either you let them in, or you keep them out.
As with anything else, Twitter is only as good as you make it. I would completely hate it if I hadn't taken the time to set up several good lists. And making contact with the right people is important too.
In the beginning I found I couldn't tolerate the inane BS that came flowing out of so many Tweeter-ers! And I drifted away from using it. But after some time, and a little curiosity, I drifted back.
Sure, understanding hashtags helped. But as with anything else, it has its limits. Hashtag searches get convoluted and less helpful as more people begin hashtagging certain words. And there is no consistency to finding others who share your interests. For instance, #B'ham #Music #Birmingham #Musicalb'ham #B'hammusic all lead to limited results. And very often you'll get many references to Birmingham England.
Many times hashtagging is only effective when you already know of, and share within, an already established group of followers. It can, and does, become more of an inflection or emotive compression. In which case there are already emoticons. So why bother.
But these flaws are irritants that can be quickly overcome. First it helps to look at the use of Twitter from its positive capabilities. It allows you to share short bursts of information that can be rapidly disseminated throughout your own network of followers, and continue out through theirs, if they deem the relevance or meaning important enough. This, frankly, is PERFECT for musicians. The music industry is chock full of music releases, schedules, ep sharing, and so many other forms of content that Tweets can be perfect for sharing.
As I have watched the use of Twitter grow among my musician friends I see how well they learn to use it, and what a powerful tool it can be for those who take the time.
Still not convinced? Good! Because I have yet to be emphatic enough about the use of lists. Looking at the negatives, a cluttered feed, not enough space to write your novel, not enough privacy, etc. it's easy to hate Twitter.
Did I mention Lists?
Follow all the people in the world. Follow a million people if you want. But categorize your lists and you will find Twitter a very useful tool. I'm very focused on music. Using the many social media tools available to me I've brought many musicians to me, and allowed them to find one another. One of the major ways this was accomplished was just cleaning up and categorizing the vast amount of free technology available, well, to everyone. Seeking out and finding new musician friends then inviting them into the network, sharing with them and allowing them to share BFP Music.
I also try to keep my information universal and less cliquish, allowing for musicians and fans of different groups and genres to be exposed to each other. Twitter's openness is perfect for this.
Be my friend here: @Freepressmusic on Twitter
In the name of brevity I will trail off here with a simple list of my lists. Listing is invaluable. Follow these lists and you can avoid the chaos.
prize at the bottom!