Tag Archives: twitter

Serendipitous Blogging & Stifle III

Last Sunday’s post discussed frustrations with social media. The next day I happened upon this article touching on a similar, albeit more specific topic: live-tweeting.

I intended to rail against live-tweeting in last week’s article, but by the time I remembered to do so I was ready to be done with that particular entry. Although Daniel Carlson’s article centers around television, his complaints apply universally. A common, though perhaps less ubiquitous, phenomenon in music is the live-tweeting of setlists. While this occurs mostly with pop music, other styles aren’t exempt. NPR Music’s classical and jazz branches occasionally live-tweet setlists (or, rather, “programs”) from The Village Vanguard or Carnegie Hall. I just don’t get it. Are there folks sitting at home with the entire Chopin catalogue on standby, listening to whatever nocturnes and polonaise is tweeted next? (And to the many sources that live-tweeted Bruce Springsteen’s SXSW keynote address as he gave it: don’t do that again. Just publish a transcript afterwards.)

The closest I get to this as a consumer is my checking DMB’s setlist each night of a tour. Full disclosure: I’ve been doing this since 2000, and both the band and unofficial site provide real-time setlists online. But I don’t need the songs as they happen.

Once, unfortunately, I was on an end similar to the dreaded live-tweeter. At the 06.13.09 DMB show at Saratoga, NY’s SPAC – one of the absolute best DMB shows I’ve attended – I experienced my first “Halloween.” With the exception of 1992-4 and an unexpected run in 2008, this song is one of the band’s white whales (along with “Spoon” – still waiting to see that one live…). I’ve only seen it twice live, and the first didn’t happen until my 39th show. I absolutely LOST IT when they busted it out as a surprise encore. After my screaming and convulsing – dancing is too classy of word for what I was doing – I had to text all my friends who I thought would care. In my excitement and need to spread my joy via phone, I ended up missing a portion of this song I had waited so many years to see. And while I can relive DMB’s performance via audience tape, there’s a chunk of my excitement I cannot relive because I was staring at my phone. While I was never one to really text or anything during a rock concert before that night – I’ve never done the call-and-hoist-the-phone routine, and I never leave my phone on during classical or jazz performances – I’ve all but cut it out of my concert-going experiences since then. I’d rather be in the moment than on the network.

And when I saw “Halloween” again last year at The Gorge I didn’t grab for the phone – I sang and danced with my friends. That memory is much more intact.

“Halloween” @ SPAC 06.13.09


“Halloween” @ The Gorge 09.04.11
You can look for the back of my head in the pit. I was right under the chain of glow sticks, stage right… 🙂

Social Media: Stifle Yourself II

I briefly discussed my frustration with social media here about eighteen months ago. I can’t remember what specifically moved me to write that, but I clearly recall being annoyed while I typed. (The heat didn’t help; I was living in Houston at the time.) Regardless of what was happening then, one things remains true: the social media (over)saturation has only increased, and I don’t think it’s all been for the better.

Sure, I tweet. And have a Facebook page (now a “lovely” Timeline). And have satisfied the LinkedIn and Google+ requirements. And tumbleweed occasionally brushes past my space. (Yawn.) But for those of you who may be connected to me through those various avenues, you know that I’m not the most voracious user. The networks mentioned above are listed in order of activity. I’ll tweet a few times each week, but 99% of those are related to either blog updates or gigs and recordings. Occasionally I’ll tweet something separate, as I did on Sunday about the Charles Lloyd concert. Same goes for Facebook. The rest are pretty much parked to secure the name and satisfy my minimum requirements of existing and have a “friend”/connection. I’ll accept incoming requests, but rarely am I logged in or doing anything. I think I can safely say that my online presence is an abject failure, considering I never created a Tumblr and only recently joined SoundCloud (again, mainly to park).

In full disclosure, I am pretty active with Twitter and Facebook (aside from personal/private accounts), and do see their value. They’re interactive – allowing me to be more interactive via my site and blog – and are helpful tools for getting short bursts of information out to people. With social media in general, I try to stick to the core: information and interaction.

Since first securing michaelteager.com a number of years ago I intended for my website to serve as the hub. I still do. The main site and MT-Headed are where you can find all you need to know about Michael Teager the musician, teacher, and blogger/writer. All else is just a satellite, nothing more than a TIE Fighter to this Death Star. You won’t find much of anything different on the other sites, and that’s not unintentional.

A few months ago I was listening to Paul F. Tompkins discuss his social media presence on The Long Shot, and my jaw hit the ground when he said he’d like to trade in his main website for separate, equally active presences on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. It just doesn’t compute for me. Similarly, Spin magazine recently went über-hipster by focusing on album review tweets. Lame. Have our attention spans really become that short? Is general readership just that lazy? Or are so many figures and organizations so desperate to be on the “cutting edge” of social media that they’re willing to sacrifice part of their core platform in the process? (I fear it’s a combination of all three, with the latter taking the largest bulk of blame.) If someone’s interested, my hunch is that he or she will click the mouse or tap the screen. Perhaps more than once! If twice is too much, then perhaps a “fan” wasn’t really lost…

Perhaps my biggest complaint about social media in general is that with everyone gunning to get everyone’s attention at all times, there’s too much irrelevant information churned out each and every hour. After all, I’m subscribed to a whole host of outlets for updates on items of interest. However, to retrieve that information, I have to suffer through so much garbage that it’s often more trouble than it’s worth. It’s too Who cares?!? as opposed to Hey, that’s neat! I’m sure I spend at least 90% of my time deciding what not to read rather than what to click through to. (There’s a similar correlation to my nightly comb through my RSS subscriptions, but that’s more heavily curated.)

As mentioned, I do enjoy the interaction. However, not every tweet or update warrants a response from everyone else. Not everything requires a snarky comment (and this is coming from a snarky cynic). And not everyone needs to provide a Hallmark-esque comment for every holiday, award, or death of anyone above a D-list celebrity. Too much piffle leads me to likely ignore the more substantial updates and tweets. (Yes, I publicly grieved – digitally – for LeRoi Moore, George Carlin, and Peter Steele, but they are figures who’ve meant a lot to me over many years, especially the first two.)

If only Archie had lived long enough to tweet…

Social Media: Stifle Yourself

As you know, this is the “Social Media Age.”  In fact, I’m sure that’s how most of you got to this entry.  It’s obviously a very useful and arguably necessary component of our personal and professional lives.  However, even in social media there’s such a thing as too much.

I’m a compartmentalizer; always have been.  I like to be organized and keep things in their separate places.  The same goes for all things digital.  Where I’m going with this is that most of my colleagues – past and present – and interests tend to mix the personal and professional.  Consequently, when I’m wanting to learn about new music, tour dates, album releases (yes, LPs do still exist!), or any piece of useful information, I tend to also read about their last meal, how they feel about athletes and politicians, and various emotional assessments.  I can empathize, as about 10 times each day I think hey, that’d be funny/insightful/thought-provoking/[you fill in the blank].  Then after about 1.5 seconds I consider the reader.  Will they care?  80% of the time the answer is no.  Hence this blog’s musical focus.  I could write endlessly about comedy, politics, social commentary, and the infamous “vexatious minutiae” (to quote a past professor), but it’s best that I be consistent and maintain some sort of constant thread throughout.

While I don’t expect everyone to be completely black-and-white mechanical, everyone should realize that everything has its place.  Even in a digital environment.