Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bands on Twitter, part 2

I recently posted about the current social networking phenomenon that is Twitter, and how some Chicago musicians are using it for promotion. Today, I saw (thanks, Avant/Chicago) an article by Wired blogger Scott Thill about how some nationally-known musicians are using the site for similar purposes, and how bad a job they (or, more likely their publicists) are doing when it comes to connecting with fans through the tool.

The article, amusingly titled "Are Music Tweets Mostly for Twits?," cites R.E.M. as a prime example.

"One would expect an artist as plugged in as Michael Stipe to check in once in a while with some penetrating insights, but no," Thill writes. "All the fans get are reviews and set lists for live shows or, even worse, updates on what songs are undergoing soundchecks. Fascinating."

That doesn't seem so bad. Interpol, Snoop Dogg, The Maccabees and Roots Manuva get called out for much more offensive Twitter practices, including overly promotional Tweets and nonexistent updates.

According to Thill, Snoop's Twitter feed has read like this on more than one occasion: "'The Adventures of Tha Blue Carpet Treatment is in stores NOW! Show your support for Tha Bigg Snoop Dogg and pick up your copy at Wal-Mart.'"

It seems most of the local bands I am following on Twitter have much better "Twetiquette." I can actually see myself going to a show or picking up a record based on a casual exchange with a cool band on the site. I can't, however, see myself running to Wal-Mart to buy Snoop Dogg's latest creation because his Twitter feed told me to do so multiple times.

Still, I've only found a handful of local bands on the site, which surprises me considering how quickly most bands flocked to MySpace when it got really popular. Do you think Twitter is more useful for big name acts or smaller, local bands? Neither? Still trying to figure out what Twitter is?

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