Tag - twitter

Tales from Digital Rehab (4) As I Was Saying…

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

A friend sent me this video yesterday – along with the ironic observation that a rap decrying our obsession with screens was delivered – how else? – by screen. And that a screed lambasting Facebook would show up – where else? – on Facebook.


I have managed to more or less maintain my “social media” embargo for the better part of three weeks now. I have ranted a few times via Twitter @Comcastcares (they don’t, really, it was a full week before anybody tweet-replied to the most recent distress signal. Hence the ensuing hash tag #Comcastjustpretendstocare).

And I have made one or two ‘guerilla strikes’ each day into Facebook to see if there are any actual pressing matters that have been left for me there. So far, no so much.

So I am learning that an Internet addict CAN manage their consumption of digits, just as an overeater can learn how to manage their consumption of calories.

More parallel ironies come to mind. I have said on several occasions that over the past few months my engagement with the ‘social media’ firmament has been recalling my relationship with Johnny Walker and Stolichnaya in the months before I finally started going to AA meetings in the fall of 1987. Some arithmetic is in order:

I started getting stoned, etc. in the spring of 1969, and closed the book on that chapter of my life in the fall of 1987. That’s roughly 18-1/2 years.

I got on the Internet in earnest in 1995 (though I’ve been online since 300 baud in 1979) and put myself on this “Digital Rehab” program in 2014. That’s, umm… roughly 19 years. Close enough for the sake of ironic symmetry.

Obvious, I am still on the Internet even though I haven’t had a sip, a snif, or a puff in… it’ll be 27 years this coming Thanksgiving Day.

As I’ve said, that’s the difference between being an alcoholic and a digi-holic. Being a digi-holic is more like being an overeater. A recovering alcoholic can get along fine for the rest of his life without a drop of liquor ever passing over his lips. An overeater is going to have to find away to eat.

And I will have to find a way to integrate all this nonsense back into my existence.

Starting with creating and maintaining effective filters on what constitutes “nonsense.”

Which starts by withdrawing completely from the ‘random trivia generator’ that a Facebook ‘news feed’ has become.

Oh, I still have access to several random trivia generators.

I use the Pulse RSS reader (now ‘LinkedIn Pulse’ since LinkedIn acquired the company, though it is still the only real use I’ve found for anything having to do with LinkedIn), several times a day. But the information I’m accessing through that app is a tad better filtered than what I typically get on Facebook: I decide what the feeds are, have them categorized in pages, and can pretty much decide what I information I care to avail myself to at any time. That’s where I keep Andrew Sullivan, Salon, Cult of Mac, This Modern World (the Tom Tomorrow comic) and a couple dozen photography sources. It comes in very handy when I’m standing on a line somewhere – like when it takes 30 minutes to return a appliance to Comcast.

So still no Facebook on my mobile devices, and still no default email account. That way there is nothing tugging at my attention on my phone. On a conscious level I know there is nothing new – no new emails, no notifications from Facebook – so there is no reason to “check” my device(s).

Which leaves me to observe and ignore the subconscious impulse to “check” every couple of minutes.

And my “phone”? It’s mostly an audio book player these days… I’m learning a lot about the first decades of English colonization in the New World…

Ariel Hyatt on Music & Social Media: So, What Else Have You Got?

Here is CyberPR maven Ariel Hyatt at the recent MIDEM conference in France talking about using “social media” if you’re trying to build a ‘sustainable creative enterprise’ on and/or off line:

Mostly, what Ariel is talking about is the familiar, “use Facebook and Twitter to grow your fanbase…” But the bigger lesson here is “we show artists how to be engaging.” Translation: it’s not enough that you’re a performing musician with great songs, a great stage presence, and table full of desirable merchandise: you might need to dig in a little and open up about other aspects of your existence — as opposed to standing across the proscenium and hiding behind your “art.”

While speaking specifically to complexities of all these Internet “tools,” Ariel provides the essential agreement of the secret sauce. Citing the example of a band that used Twitter to land tour sponsorship from the Sonic Drive-In chain, she says

Leverage the truth and make it an asset… Take something you are passionate about – even if it’s silly, like ice cream – and make it part of the experience with your fans….”

As Ariel infers, the fading broadcast media paradigm conditions

artists…to think in ‘macro’ numbers. You don’t need millions to create a life for yourself, you just need hundreds… like a thousand true fans.

Share a tiny bit about what you like and what you do. It may seem stupid in an isolated event — like ‘I like Sonic ice cream’ — but the result was huge.

In the networked ecosystem, your “business” has to be about more than just your “art.” Maybe Bela Fleck said it best: “You gotta figure out what you want to teach everybody.”

“Social Media” ? Give It a Minute…

…or more like a coupla/few of months.

I’m always intrigued when somebody professes to be an expert in “social networking” because I figure an “expert” is somebody who’s been at something for a while — you know, like, years — which is really longer than “social networking” has actually been around.

But in the endlessly evolving environment of digital media, an “expert” is really somebody who knows…. just a little more than you do.

Bill Seaver

By that (admittedly low?) standard, Bill Seaver is somebody who has lately focused his attention as a marketing expert on social media, so it warrants our attention when he says:

In my experience it takes three or four months for most people to begin to see positive results in any of the above areas. By they time they cross the six month mark, however, they tend to feel like they really have momentum going for themselves and the sky is the limit.

Amen. The post is worth reading — but bring with it the understanding that there is going to be a lot of diligent “hand-cranking” of these “high-tech” tools before you’ll see any meaningful results. It will take at least four months, maybe six, maybe more before the effort pays off. So add the word “patient” to the expression “hand-cranking.”

And don’t be surprised if the skill sets you acquire at the outset of that period are entirely different from the skill sets you wind up with at the end.

A Paradigm Shift in 280 Characters

LMDFA09_1-310x176 Last month, Nashville's Leadership Music held its annual Dale Franklin Awards Banquet at which the honorees were producer Allen Reynolds, music executive Jim Fogelsong, and some country crooner named Garth Brooks. The morning after the gala event, I learned that the esteemed Mr. Brooks had used his after dinner remarks to rail against the evils of all things digital in the music business.

During the event, I'd noticed the editor of Music Row posting to Twitter from the venue about the goings on, so I posed the question to him: "What exactly did Garth say about digital last night?"  To which he replied:


To which I replied:


And there, in two 140 character statements, is the essential paradigm shift that the arrival of the Celestial Jukebox portends.