As the world looks on, brave and committed souls in Tunisia and Egypt have forced a change of government. The amazing swell of demand for change by the common citizens of these countries created waves that are still rushing through neighboring lands, rippling in some places, rushing in others. The motivations driving these movements are myriad, and will no doubt be the subject of numerous treatises in years to come.
One aspect of these movements already being widely discussed, particularly in regards to Egypt, is the role social-networking media played in sharing breaking events, in motivating participants and in organization. The revolutions weren’t entirely started on Twitter and Facebook, but they were certainly aided and partially sustained by the instant communication these media offer. As Arlo Guthrie once promoted via talking blues, “Friends, what we have here is a movement.” Forty-five years ago, when Guthrie was promoting his “movement,” recording and performance were the vehicles of message propagation; though seemingly broad with the aid of radio, today’s social networking is as a hare to a ’70s vintage tortoise by comparison, and the hare will win in this modern retelling, until overshadowed by something even more rapid, more pervasive and more compelling.
Not nearly as serious as political revolution is the promotion of recorded music, of performance, of products and people related to the pro audio industry. Social media is playing a growing role in the commercial and technological revolution faced by the entertainment industries. Artists “discovered” on YouTube can find remarkable and rapid fame (Justin Bieber as the obvious current example). Facebook pages and Tweets allow a seemingly intimate and plugged-in connection between fans and performers. Clever artists and promoters are using the immediacy of social media to maintain and reinforce that bond. Warner Brothers, much to the chagrin of Netflix who can’t yet stream the film, has recently announced Facebookbased streaming distribution of The Dark Knight in the first deal of its kind. Pro audio manufacturers are using Facebook and Twitter to reach out directly to those who “like” them. Facebook alone reports more than 500 million worldwide users that spend over 700 billion minutes a month accessing the portal—a compelling potential audience.
For the more business-minded, LinkedIn is rapidly developing as a destination of choice. In a recent conversation, an owner of a microphone manufacturing company said, “The only reason anyone goes to LinkedIn is if they are looking for a job.” To be sure, increased LinkedIn activity is often an indicator of a change in employment status, but the use is evolving into a dynamic platform that goes beyond job bank and address book extension into a very Facebook-like model, with an emphasis somewhat away from the personal and on the professional.
In a NAMM conversation, the amount of time he spends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn was jestingly pointed out to an industry comrade. Instead of being slightly embarrassed as might some of our acquaintances that do spend an amazing amount of time in a seemingly frivolous fashion on their social-media addictions, this individual unabashedly defended his online presence. After disrupted employment a few years back, he now has irons in a number of different fires, and he revealed that social media was the main tool he used to market himself back into prosperity, and social media remains a key factor in maintaining that prosperity. Some of what seems frivolous with others is undoubtedly subtle marketing.
If you friend me on Facebook, you are going to find that my personal postings consist mainly of photos of my grandson, “Luke the Magnificent!” If you “like” the Pro Sound News and Pro Audio Review Facebook pages, or follow PSN and PAR on Twitter, you’ll gain access to breaking news and product updates from our industry delivered via these alternative media. There’s more to come from us in the social-media landscape, including increasing our LinkedIn presence. The social-media revolution demands to be joined. Joining the movement personally may be optional; professionally, the movement must be embraced.