Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Social Media and the 40-Something Male

(Note: I have been wanting to blog about social media for a while, but I wasn't sure where to start. Therefore, it will now be an ongoing series, possibly even stream-of-consciousness at times. Consider yourself warned:-)

Dr. J's Social Media Experiment Part 1: Introduction

I suppose I first entered the online world in the early 1990's when I joined my first BBS. I think it was called the Gold Coast Macintosh bbs, and I was living in Miami at the time. I was also an early adopter of AOL, but I dropped it in 1996, which was coincidentally about the time it became popular. Next, in the late 1990's, I taught myself HTML, and created my first website, which I called The Jazz Vocal Resource (check it out at the Wayback Machine)

For a number of reasons, I had to drop the website, ca. 2001. For the next five years, my online presence consisted of a single page on the Greenville College website with a photo and bio that I never updated after it was originally posted.

Then, one fateful day in June of 2006, I opened my first MySpace account. Sure, it was a little late, but at the time, hardly anybody my age was on MySpace. I initially did it to promote my music and the music of my band, but I soon created a second "personal" page, and began to search for anyone and everyone I have ever known! Before I knew it, I was fully immersed in the world of social media.

In no particular order, here are all the services I have signed up for. I continue to use some of them, but some I have either cancelled or neglected:

MySpace
Facebook
Friendster
Tagworld
PureVolume
Bandspace
IACMusic
MacJams
Bolt
Photobucket
Xomba
Xanga
Linkedin
Last.fm
Pandora
Twitter
Jaiku
Digg
StumbleUpon
Delicious
Slashdot
Macslash
YouTube
Vimeo
12seconds
Musebin
Blip.fm
Friendfeed
Geni
iCrew
Hulu
Joost
Popego
BlogTV
Plaxo
Several random Ning networks, including NetNewMusic

I'm sure there are a few I have forgotten about. Of course, last but not least, I started this blog. My intent with this was especially to help independent artists, and I hope I have helped at least a few of my dozen readers!

If I have come away from this experiment with one overarching theme that applies to musicians, it would be that the old methods no longer work. Social media is not about promoting your music in the traditional sense. It is about creating a connection or relationship with your listeners. In fact, I believe it has more in common with the traditional idea of signings and "meet and greets" than it does with promoting a specific product. I also believe this will translate into career longevity and a more entrenched fanbase. However, even the "experts" don't yet know how musicians will be able to pay their bills in this new world.

Well, folks, that's all for now. Thanks for listening. In my next installment, I will talk about Twitter, which has taken up quite a bit of my free time for the past six months.
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