Now that NIN mainman Trent Reznor has said he’s abandoning Twitter and other transparent Web 2.0 platforms I thought I’d give a couple of examples of bands and musicians using Twitter to their advantage.
First, it’s worth mentioning that Twitter is not a social network; at least not in the ‘classic’ sense that people perceive social networks. Twitter is a platform that is more closely aligned with IM and texting, once you grasp that idea it makes it easier to understand how to use it to reach your fans. It is all about two-way communication – think about how you use IM or texting with your friends. It’s a conversation starter or a quick update tool, either one works.
The image above is of a tweet from Grizzly Bear‘s Ed Droste. I follow Ed as he has a knack for keeping me up to date on Grizzly Bear’s machinations in a droll way. He shares information that I find compelling, information that I want to share with my Twitter followers – and that is the point of Twitter, sharing. Using Twitter is not about the sale [I immediately stop following people who direct message (DM) me with "offers" that are too good to be true.] You shouldn’t post a message to Twitter like ‘Buy our new album, it’s out now!’ Would you do that in a text to your friends? I’d argue only if you know them very well, on Twitter you can have thoousands of followers who you don’t *know.*
It’s about joining the conversation. Here’s another great band I follow, O+S [pron. O Plus S.] In this message they have joined in a discussion about the Cocteau Twins with @jeremypair, they are not talking about themselves. This works on Twitter. More people will follow you if you have a story or an opinion – less will follow if you hard sell them.
Indie bands seem to be more personable and understand how to use Twitter to hang out with their fans. On the other hand major label acts tend to be more ego-driven and push messages at their fans. Chris Cornell for instance appears to tweet about the most mundane things. [That is, if it's actually Cornell tweeting as some artists get their publicists to do it for them - a huge mistake.] Here’s an example of a recent message which I presume is to his wife:
I’m sorry but that makes my toes curl, personalized messages that don’t include me turn me off. I’m sure his new found teenage audience loves it but that’s not for me, although I do admit to a certain voyeuristic impulse when I see his posts.. it’s like watching a reality TV show except unlike those shows this one is real and in real time.