My So-Called Online Life
Facebook, musicians and connections……here’s my two cents:
Sadly…Lucy Kaplansky is not a friend of mine. Despite her encouragement a few months ago to join her on Facebook, she either neglected to add me when I sent her a request or felt I wasn’t worth the bother. Or she could have taken exception to my passing comment that I was a friend of Bob Dylan’s and she wasn’t. Well that’s ok…if I want to chat with Lucy I can email her and she’s pretty darn good at sending a reply.
If you haven’t joined Facebook yet, rest assured that you’re better off than most of us who have entered this time-sucking vortex. But this isn’t about what it is or isn’t, it’s about how I believe artists should be using it as a vehicle for making fan and business connections.
To those who have not a clue of all things FB and to put it into context, I currently have 269 “friends” on FB, and it’s a combination of some family, real world friends, past and present business associates, recording artists I like or have known and assorted folks whom I’ve never met (and are usually the most fun). Barrack Obama has 6,323,171 friends and Arlo Guthrie just went over 5,000. Yes…FB can be very humbling.
Along with more than 37,843 other people, I get to hang out with Ryan Adams and watch him post funny videos. His former band mate Caitlin Cary has 499 friends today, and she’s on a few times a week and has been known to solicit easy-to-freeze food recipes. Suzy Bogguss doesn’t seem to want to chat with me although we used to know each other, but she is posting videos this week from Europe on her page that are interesting to watch in their blandness.
I’ve yet to ever see a post from Gary Louris, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan or Steve Earle. The Roches last logged on over a year ago and wrote that they had no idea what to do on FB now that they were here…and than they disappeared. Sometimes you can tell when the artist’s FB page is just another bullet point on the record label’s marketing plan. It’s sad to see fans leave very personal messages that never get seen nor responded to.
Tim Easton, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Sarah Borges were all on the road last week and dropped a note here and there. (I liked the pics Tim.) Ray Benson from Asleep At The Wheel is a master at FB…he posts daily, takes the time to respond to private messages and is very much a nice guy. Angela Easterling is incredibly active, approachable and very good at balancing self-promotion and marketing with creating very personal online friendships.
Last week I noticed that Bobby Whitlock had just posted a note on a friend’s page and for several minutes he and I had a real-time chat about his first solo record back in 1972. I worked for the record promoter at the time and had my perspective, and he shared his as the artist. It was merely a feather in the wind that we connected like this, but I dare say we both enjoyed the chance to reminisce.
I guess what I’d tell an artist who decides to join this or any social network is to decide whether to be in or out. Unless you’re able to commit to being accessible, available and somewhat personable, it’ll do more harm than good career-wise. And man…never let your label, agent, publicist, manager, wife or mother run your page…it’s all DIY.
I’m going to attempt my first embed here….if it works, it’s ain’t necessarily family friendly unless your last name is Manson.