The social networking website Twitter has blown up hard in 2009, so hard that it is already experiencing a Vampire Weekend-esque backlash. To illustrate just how intense Twittermania ’09 has been, the site grew by 33% in January, 55% in February, and 131% in March of this year. I first got introduced to Twitter by some of my tech savvy friends a little over a year ago, and back then having a few thousand followers was unreal, and now that douchey Punk’d guy is closing in on 2 million. But before the hype, the site started out as an efficient communication network for web 2.0, early adapter bloggy types. When I first started using it, the website would crash and go down every single day and i still liked it. Suddenly in 2009 the thing has gone mainstream with Oprah and CNN using it, so since I have been a fan of Twitter for some time now, I figured I would talk about how my music obsessed self uses it to help out the clueless.
First for the noobs, Twitter is micro-blogging. You post something that is 140 characters or less, and people “following” you can see what you post. It is basically a glorified status messages, like what Facebook, Gmail, or AOL use. Here is a good article tracing back the history of status messages. So what is so great about a status message website?
140 characters may seem like a small amount of data to be meaningful, but a tweet can pack a serious punch. Sure there are people who tweet some really boring garbage, but, you don’t have to follow them. And yes, the word “tweet” gets really annoying fast, but there cool things possible with it. I’ve seen news stories broken by people on twitter because other journalists couldn’t get access (think Gaza, India, Madagascar). Thanks to url shorteners, Twitter is used heavily to refer people to more extensive content of interest. If you are following the right people, you basically have an RSS feeder with editorial. In otherwords, Twitter helps you keep up with all the cool things going on in Internetland. For example, I follow many larger music news sites on Twitter, and those sites tweet about news stories I am interested in so I don’t miss anything.
Probably my favourite thing is, unlike Facebook and Myspace, Twitter connects people based on the content of what they are talking about, rather than static information contained in a profile. I don’t know about you, but most of my Facebook friends end up being people I already know in real life, like random people I barely even knew in High School and could honestly care less about now. I have rarely, if ever, made a new, worthwhile connection through Facebook. In contrast, most of the people I follow on Twitter I did not know before I connected with them in the virtual world. I have made so many great connections with interesting people via Twitter who I wouldn’t even know existed without it.
With respect to bands and musicians, there is a lot of potential in Twitter. Fans always yearn to have meaningful connections with the artists they love, and with technology those artists can give their fans unprecedented access. A great example of getting the most out of new/social media was Deerhunter‘s utilization of a blog, which expanded their fanbase and strengthened the connection between them and the fans they already had. Exactly how artists can make Twitter work for them will depend on the creativity of the artist in using it, but there is no doubt in my mind that many artists will benefit from using it. Others agree.
So for those of you that are either artists looking for good examples of how to use Twitter, or you just want some cool people to follow, here are my favourite 3 tweetmaster musicians and why I enjoy following them:
Edward Droste of Grizzly Bear @EdwardDroste
Droste seems to be the most genuine, accessible musician on Twitter. He talks about random things he and the band are doing. He actually responds to random people. He’s everything a stalker could hope for. One of the fun recent things followers have been able to enjoy is his attempt to get Snoop Dogg to remix/collaborate with Grizzly Bear:
Just gonna keep trying to get snoop’s attention with my twitter spirit. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Right @snoopdogg?
It is really meta to stalk someone as they are stalking someone else.
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails @trent_reznor
It is hard for me to think of another musician who I enjoy hearing talk about things more than Trent Reznor. He always has a very insightful opinion. He also utilizes technology better than anyone, so naturally he is a Twitter superstar. He has been giving away backstage passes to fans via Twitter. He has been talking about his struggles with Apple over a NIN Iphone app. Here are a few choice tweets:
Kutcher / King / DiddyDumDum on CNN doing everything in their power to make Twitter seem as un-cool as possible.
…now maybe I shouldn’t have taken that fourth viagra…
starting to lose control of body functions, may have just pulled a Fergie and peed in my pants a little.
Nick Thorburn of Islands @NickfromIslands
My favourite twittering artist is Nick Thorburn. He comes up with really random, hilarious things to say that make me laugh out loud all of the time. The dude could be as good a comedian as he is a musician. Recently he posted a bunch of fake covers to the next Islands record:
http://twitpic.com/3xi7n – NEW “ISLANDS” ALBUM COVER + TITLE REVEALED!!!!
http://twitpic.com/40c0m – “ISLANDS” NEW ALBUM + TITLE REVEALED FOR REAL THIS TIME!!!!!!!
http://twitpic.com/43rpf – FOMGF! “ISLANDS” NEW ALBUM COVER IS FINALIZED!!! THX FOR VOTING FOR YR FAVOURITE!! WZF!
Here are some other funny tweets:
Went to the extenz party at sxsw last night, and i thought that the line up would have been, you know, bigger
Apparently if i go to exit 27, make left, go to roses parking lot and leave lights on, i will get a blow job.
I’m so behind the times I just now got a case of the SARS
Fuck, you know you’ve made it when Denny’s is following you.
Ok, so if you are into music and are looking for some folks to follow, here is some reference material for you:
International/National artists I recommend following:
Andrew Bird @andrewbird
Blitzen Trapper @BlitzenTrapper
Final Fantasy @owenpallett
My Brightest Diamond @zosima
Pearl Jam @PearlJam
Sonic Youth @thesonicyouth
St. Vincent @st_vincent
The Decemberists @colinmeloy
Tokyo Police Club @TokyoPoliceClub
Atlanta Bands on Twitter:
Adam Bruneau of Kiwis @adambruneau
All The Saints @allthesaints
Attention System @AttentionSystem
Attractive Eighties Women @aewsome
Club Awesome @clubawesome
CJ of A Fight To The Death @mediahostage
Dead Confederate @DeadConfederate
Dres Tha Beatnik @dresthabeatnik
Eric of From Exile @ericguenther
Janelle Monae @JanelleMonae
Judi Chicago @JudiChicago
Le Castle Vania @LeCastleVania
It’s Elephant’s @Itselephants
Lions And Scissors @lionsandscissor
Nerd Parade @nerdparade
The Constellations @_constellations
The Orphins @The_Orphins
This Piano Plays Itself @ThisPianoPlays
Thy Mighty Contract @thymighty
Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun @TodaytheMoon
Venice Is Sinking @veniceissinking
Atlanta Music Scene Tweeters I Recommend Following:
Atlanta Music Guide @atlantamusic
Bean Summer @Beansummer
Cable & Tweed @cableandtweed
Criminal Records @criminalrecords
Dominick Brady @DomBrady
Drive A Faster Car @driveafastercar
Drunken Unicorn @drunkenunicorn
Eskimo Kiss @eskimokiss
Fear Of Arthropods @juliareidy
Have You Heard @adamtrimble @usersname
Indie ATL @indieATL
Indie Music Tech @duncanfreeman
Kiss Atlanta @kissatlanta
OK Productions @OKProductions
Pine Magazine @pinemagazine
Premier Events @premierevents
Star Bar @StarBarAtlanta
The Earl @EARL_EAV
The Happenstance @thehappenstance
The Leila @theleila
Ticket Alternative @MyTATix
Tight Bros Network @tightbros
Vacation Gallery @vacationgallery
And obviously, we are tweeting too:
I’m sure I’m leaving some folks out, so who do you like to follow on Twitter? Leave your suggestions in the comments…
- Posted by Davy Minor on May 13, 2009 at 7:21 am