Facebook vs. Twitter: The Kindness of Strangers

January 12, 2011 at 3:42 am (Music) (, , , , )

I’m sure a ton has been written on Facebook vs. Twitter.  I was an early adopter to Twitter (before the celebs got there) and a bit late to Facebook (held on to MySpace til it got too dismal)- many people I know use both, though several are holding out against Twitter (and that usually lasts ’til their favorite celebrity gets on there and starts answering fans’ questions).

I use both, and although they are synchronized, I use them very differently.

My main goal on the internet is to promote my music.  So on Facebook I have a “Like Page” (formerly known as Fan Page), and I try to insist (with mixed results) that everyone who “friends” me also “likes” me there.  You can’t manage a Fan Page without a Personal Profile, so I have that too, and try very hard to keep it to ONLY people I really know in real life.  I feel bad “ignoring” fans and internet friends, but I thought it would be nice to have something that’s just between me and my 500 or so loved ones, since most of my internet life is so public.  Anyways, it’s mostly just my imported Twitter feed, so it’s nothing my UNofficial friends can’t read already.

On Twitter, to the contrary, I’m mostly interested in finding people I don’t know.  Yeah, it’s for selfish purposes.  I want to find more fans for my music.  Fortunately I have the people/internet skills not to be a self-promoting douche about it.  I really do like having random conversations with strangers.  Put me in a bar and I’ll make friends.  (Several of my friends can attest to this.  That is how I met them.) But I basically seek out people to follow who seem like they might be into my music.  Fans of other artists I’m similar to, friends, people I stumble across (through retweets and the like) who mention in their bios being music fans.  I try not to follow too many people, because I really do want to read what my “tweeps” tweet, and have more personal relationships with them- I’d rather follow 100 people who I could tell you something about than 10,000 faceless strangers.  Plus, some people notice when you unfollow them and get really hurt, and I’d rather not go through that.

Why am I saying all this now?  Because of my Get out of Debt Sale.

There have been several times, this one being the biggest, where I’ve asked my social media community for help- usually, as in this time, buying my album to meet some pressing goal.  My Twitter feed is fed directly into my Facebook, so both communities receive the same requests at the same time.  Also, as of this writing, I have 130 more Facebook friends than Twitter followers.

Every time, every single time, my Tweeps have come through for me more than my “friends.”  By a LOT.  And lately I’ve even been targeting specific groups of Facebook friends, sending out Facebook messages to family, circus friends, opera friends- I sent out probably 120 messages so far and got 2 sales.  Through Twitter, I’ve made dozens- often to people I’d never heard a blink from before.  Followers of followers.

To be fair, most of my GOOD friends have bought my album already, so they’re off the hook as it is, but only a few have even gone through the effort to help get the word out- and those were people who are on Twitter, too.  My Twitter friends and followers have been retweeting my requests, whether they’ve bought the album already or not- ESPECIALLY if they’ve bought it!  They put their money where their mouths are.  One of them, who I’ve never met in real life, @ replied me, “We’re gonna sell the CRAP out of that album!”  I was touched, because many people in my family haven’t even bought it yet.  I only have one real-life friend who talks like that, and she is a huge Twitterer.

Someone on Twitter who I’ve never met, who I don’t even FOLLOW, contributed $100 for my album, my largest contribution to date.  Besides the woman who commissioned Kelli’s getting Vaginal Rejuvination for a $1000 donation, who was also a huge Twitterer.

I’m not knocking Facebook.  Or friends.  I love both.  This is, sort of… something I’m just realizing, just now.  People on Twitter seem to want to help me.

This might have something to do with the different kinds of communities I digitally surround myself with.  My Facebook friends, because they’re people I interact with most in real life, are mostly musicians of one kind or another.  They’re starving themselves, and are burnt out by friends’ self-promotion.  I know how they feel.  I have so many musician and otherwise performing friends I had to start a new email account just to receive their newsletters.  On Twitter, I’ve made an actual effort to seek out music lovers, rather than musicians.

But that doesn’t explain why my most helpful and charitable  Facebook friends are also Twitterers.

What is it?

Is it that on Twitter, a follow is non-mutual?  That if you follow someone, you don’t automatically get a follow in return?  Does that indicate selflessness?

Is it just a more active web presence?  That people traditionally tweet much more often than they update their statuses?  That they read and respond more often?

I was lunching with a fellow musician the other day, a real New York hustler (I say with more admiration than scorn).  Somewhere in the course of the conversation, Twitter came up.  He sort of grumbled that he wasn’t interested in it and/or didn’t get it.  Later in the conversation he asked where I found the amazing director for my music video.

“Through Twitter,” I answered plainly.

(pregnant pause)

“OK, now I’m interested in Twitter.”

I didn’t really say anything, or encourage him.  Because I know if you go in with that sort of attitude, you’re destined to annoy people and get ignored.

Maybe that’s the difference.  Maybe on Twitter, somehow you are expected to give more than you receive.  And in the end, you end up receiving so much that you don’t even notice the ratio.

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CD Baby

November 12, 2009 at 3:43 am (Music) (, , , )

Hey all!  Great news. I’m finally on CDBaby.com!

Took long enough.  Basically, their website has been really buggy, at least lately.  (It’s my first time using them.)  They underwent some sort of redesign and haven’t got the kinks all worked out, so every time I would try to enter my album information I would get redirected to the same page, over and over.  I finally just called them and worked out the necessary stuff over the phone- although there are still some input fields I haven’t been able to fill out.  But all the important info is there.

You’d think that with such problems, I wouldn’t want to work with them.  But they are pretty much THE go-to site for independent (really independent, not fake independent) artists to sell their albums.  Plus they can get me on iTunes and Amazon (and then I can be on Pandora!!).

Other benefits?  Well, mostly I just feel more official now.  Like, there is an actual place people can buy my CD online from a company, not just sending me money via PayPal and trusting that I’ll mail them a CD.  And theoretically, people browsing CD Baby should stumble across my music and listen to it and want to buy it.

On the other hand, I still get a lot more money if people buy the album directly from me- either in person, or just ordering it off my website.  And for digital downloads, I get a lot more of the money if you order it off of my Bandcamp page.  But for that matter, I am drowning in CDs in my tiny apartment and would much rather unload them then people buy the digital version.  But whatever makes ya happy!  I’m always happy when someone buys my music.  Actually, you have no idea how happy I am.  Selling CDs is hard, and every single person who buys it makes me feel all fizzy like a soda pop.:)

Oh, and one last thing I almost forgot!!  The cool thing about my album being on CD Baby is that YOU GET TO REVIEW IT!!  As long as you have an account at CD Baby (which you DO… RIGHT?? You do support independent musicians and buy their albums, RIGHT?? o yeah you can make a wish list there too!!) you can write a review of Toyshop.  Hey, I don’t know who will read it or how much difference it will make, but being complimented in print is always a happy thing.

Just keep in mind, you’ll have to do this all over again when I get on Amazon!  Oh boy!

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Take the Toyshop personality quiz!!

November 11, 2009 at 6:04 am (Music) (, , , , , )

I had this idea to do something sooo blantantly idiodic and self-promotional, yet really fun and hilarious at the same time.

I made a Facebook quiz!!!

Which song from Toyshop are you???

I worked painstakingly on this tonight- started brainstorming ideas yesterday.  The app, Quiz Creator, was kind of a pain in the ass- at one point I thought I lost ALL my work, which was 3 hours worth of writing, most of which was not copied anywhere else- but it turned out I only lost HALF of it.

But I agonized over writing the results.  I really wanted answers that would hit home with people.  I know- it’s a stupid Facebook personality test, it has no weight in anything whatsoever- but I guess I’m just an overachiever, I took it really seriously!  I want to impress my friends.:)

I found really apt pictures for all the songs.  Interesting, because it did force me to stop and ask what my visual image was for each song, or how I would summarize it in one image.  I have a spooky cabin in the night sky for Midnight Bride, because I always imagine the lovers meeting at a summer cabin in the woods.  (“Way out here…”)  I have a fuzzy, dream-like image of a silhouetted guy standing under a willow tree for “Vision”- I guess that image always stuck in my mind, even though it’s just a toss-off line (“I had a vision of you standing by the willow tree”), written more for sound than for meaning.  Whereas other lines in the song are much more creative and interesting.  For Toyshop I have some really creepy-looking doll parts, for Monica I have a Successories parody poster called “Tits,” for ‘Kay I have a pair of hands streaming with blood, for “The Sky is Close” I have a silhouette of someone reaching for the blue sky, for “A Carol” I have a shining Christmas star, for “Snowshadow” I have snow in a lamplight- and again, that’s the visual image that I always get for that song, even though it’s one of the last lines.  And a good drawing of a hand reading for a more lightly-sketched hand, for “Pull Me Up”- I thought it represented well the idea of the girl in the song reaching for her dead mother.  Yeah, see, I don’t talk so much about what the songs are “about” because they are mostly non-narrative and all are non-autobiographical.  But I do have a lot of specific ideas in my head, at least visual.

So please take my quiz- and let me know what your results are!!!

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Fan Drive!!!

June 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm (Music) (, , , , , , )

I’m having a Fan Drive!!

I made it up myself.  It means I’m making a huge effort to increase my fan networks.

Mainly my goal is to go from the 200 Facebook fans I have now to 1000.  But I also want people to sign up for my mailing list, friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and just get into my music.

I really racked my brain to figure out how to do this- just go all-out to get people to sign up for fanhood in a short amount of time- and I really only came up with two things:

1. Use the network that’s already in place.  Just ask people who already follow me on Twitter and whatnot to become my fan on Facebook.  (Of course I want them to do like mailing list and stuff too but you can only advertise so much at once.)  Ask them to retweet my request, invite their friends, post it to their Facebook walls.  Just try to get the network to reach out with me.

2. Go busking for fans.  Play on the street or in the subways, but instead of accepting tips, just hand out flyers with my website, facebook, etc.  I was hesitant ’cause I don’t have the balls to do something like that by myself and didn’t have anyone to play with me, but I had a friend who wanted to come with just to hand out flyers, so we said let’s do it.  We’re gonna do tomorrow, Thursday, somewhere around Columbus Circle from like 5-7, and Saturday afternoon, which is supposed to be really nice, closer to the park.

So far it’s a little slow going.  I thought I’d get a little more help from the Twitter and Facebook crews in asking, but I’ve only had a couple friends pass my info along, even by Twitter.  And still a lot of Twitter followers and Facebook “friends” who aren’t my Facebook fans or on my mailing list or anything.  I even sent out one mass email to my church choir and one to my Gilbert and Sullivan group and haven’t heard anything back from any of them.  (Maybe some of them signed up for my mailing list, haven’t checked that yet.)

It’s like, I ask a lot of favors from everyone.  Some of them are easier than others.  Like, some things I ask for involve money, like sponsor my album, come to my show, buy my t-shirt.  Some things involve inconvenience, like let me sleep on your couch, give me a ride, help me find a gig.  Then there are these little things that take no money, almost no time, almost no inconvenience.  And people still don’t do them.

To be fair, I wouldn’t use my well-cultivated platforms to promote just anyone- it would have to be someone I really believed in, or somebody I cared about enough to help.  But if someone I’m actually friends with, or someone I really admire, asks me for a shout-out, I am happy to help.  I mean, I know I sometimes give mentions to talented friends without being asked, you know?

On the other hand, the best thing about being a small-time artist is how much you appreciate every single person who helps.  Every repost, retweet, and new fan signed up makes me just so happy.  I’m so grateful to those who actually make that effort.

So, so far I’ve only gone from 195 Facebook Fans to  204.  Hopefully I have better luck with the playing out and handing out flyers than I have just begging people to repost.  ‘Cause I still have 796 fans to go to reach my goal!!

Tomorrow playing my guitar on the street for strangers while friends pass out flyers and take email addresses.  Swing by!  We’ll see how it goes!

In the meantime, don’t you totally just want to help????

Please be-fan me on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.  Sign up for my mailing list on my website.  If you do like my music, or my writing, or just think I’m hot (amazing how much that has to do with it most of the time), please repost, retweet, invite friends, suggest, whatever you can do.  Like I stated above, I am so not-famous that every one person who helps just makes my day.

Does anybody else have ideas of what could constitute a Fan Drive?

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