RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#333: Social Media
“Social media”, as they call it today, is nothing new. Before Twitter there was Facebook. Before Facebook there was MySpace. Before MySpace there was Friendster, and so on. What has changed is the degree to which we have included social media sites into our lives. They’re already integrated into our phones and software, making it easy to dive in. Some have shunned all social media, and who can blame them? It’s not for everybody to put your life out there, or to see these endless streams of useless info pouring in. If you only have “x” amount of online time a day, it’s easy enough to waste it all on Facebook.
Social media has its ups and downs. Obviously we can now see breaking news all over the world as it happens. We can also see false rumours start like fires, with “re-tweets” and “shares”. You know this and I know this, so I won’t spend too much time commenting on it. Social media can be a brain-killer. It can reduce our teens to near illiteracy, as they spout their “urs” and “lols”. (“Ur” drives me nuts. Is it so hard to type “your”?) Social media must be used wisely, if you choose to partake. To the ignorant, it can have devastating results.
I believe in using social media for myself, but wisely. Here are some positive things that have come from social media:
The one time I received a message from Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row) regarding something I wrote on MySpace about Helix was pretty exciting to me. Now, you can tweet your own thoughts to your rock star heroes, and some of them actually read them! Our good friend Heavy Metal OverloRd received a direct response from David Coverdale of Whitesnake, to his suggestion for a future Whitesnake DVD release. I’ve been thanked or complimented for my reviews and stories by members of Helix, Killer Dwarfs, Harem Scarem and Judas Priest. Dave Bidini liked that my reviews are “different” from the mainstream, and that comment really made me feel great!
The kind of interaction we can have today with our rock heroes is unprecedented. I don’t mean the types who hire a social media guru to do all their online posts. I mean the kind who are hands-on with their accounts. I enjoy having the chance to say to somebody, “I really liked that song.” Music is about communication and it’s nice to have another avenue of feedback.
2. Creating your own social groups.
Here on WordPress, there is a strong, supportive community of writers. Some of us are pros, most of us are not. Quite organically, many of us have grouped together to read, support, and offer feedback. There’s no organization to it, it’s just a bunch of us here who have similar interests and comment regularly. There’s no exclusion. It’s just writers who read and enjoy each other’s work. It’s a great, positive atmosphere that I believe has made us all better writers. Very little negativity seems to happen here.
3. Surprise “follows”.
I’m fascinated by the people who follow me on Twitter. Even though I’d never contacted her, followed her, or reviewed any of her music, Serena Ryder follows me. I don’t know why, but I still think that’s pretty cool. Other surprise followers included Olivia Black of Pawn Stars fame. Leatherwolf followed me, and I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time. Then, I was followed by local cosmetic surgeon Dr. Takhar. I assume she heard me on the radio, rather than thinking I need some work done…but I could be wrong!
Best for me though, a couple writers I really admire have read some of my stuff, and have left positive comments. That means more than any Pawn Star or plastic surgeon. I really looked up to those two guys when I was starting to write.
There have also been some drawbacks to social media.
1. Too much music.
For every band that I love who has followed me, such as the aforementioned Helix and Killer Dwarfs, there are plenty that I’ve never heard of. Some turned out to be pretty good! But each one would probably like if I had a chance to listen to their music and review it. I only wish I had the time! I have a home life, and I work full time. Mikeladano.com is something I do in my spare time, and it’s something I love doing. I love listening to and talking about music. I wish there were enough hours in the day to listen to everyone. I guess there is such a thing as “too much music”.
2. Haters gonna hate.
You’re going to encounter haters online. Geoff Tate fans, for example, have made a nuisance of themselves here in the past. Worst for me personally were the Record Store Tales haters. Social media meant it was inevitable that Record Store Tales would be read by people who didn’t like what I wrote, or that I wrote anything at all!
Regardless of the drawbacks, I don’t regret using social media to promote mikeladano.com. I’ve made readers out of people who only knew me as “LeBrain” on the radio, and that’s what I was going for in the first place.
If you don’t like social media, I get that. I support your decision to use it or not. Aside from a few bumps in the road, it’s worked well for me to get my stories and reviews out there. It’s part of the online landscape now, like it or not!