I must admit I am still finding my way around Twitter. Figuring out what it’s purpose is, what really to use it for. It’s quite obvious that the vast majority of people using it are doing so as a means of self-promotion, large or small. Whether it’s your blog or your acting career or your reality t.v. show, you now have a way to make your audience feel intimately involved in your life and work, right up to the goddamned minute. And why not? It sure as hell seems to work in that respect.
But lets’ not kid ourselves that it’s some wonderous, wholesome social confluence happening. Tell it like it is. It’s the All About Me network for most folks. Which, like I say, is fine. You’ll find yours truly indulging in it now. Talking about myself is my second favorite hobby, don’t forget. So it works in that sense.
I have, however, figured out what it’s not for and that’s following bands that you love. Yes, I’m sure that a lot of music artists have had whopping great success promoting themselves via Twitter and good for them but I’m not talking about it in that sense. I’m talking about someone who just loves music, loves great songwriting, loves the ethereal and transcendental aspects, the emotion and the mystery of it. Let me repeat. The Mystery.
The Mystery is what Twitter removes from a band. When I’m listening to some shimmering new track from your latest dream pop offering, I don’t need to be thinking about what you had for breakfast or what movie you watched last night. When I want to be transported to another emotional plane of existence by your plaintive acoustic croonings, I don’t want to be reminded of how much you like the NBA. And I sure as hell don’t need to know how annoying you are when you’re drunk.
I want to be awed by your talent as a musician and a songwriter. When I find out, via Twitter, just how boring you are in real life and that you use words like “tweeps” and phrases like “hells yeah” it kinds of kills the mystique. So I’ve gone and unfollowed all of the musicians I like. I think it’s a necessary thing for me to be able to fully enjoy the music.
I think I’d like to go back to the old days. When a band was the murky cover image on a 12″ e.p. or the shiny black vinyl inside. When the mystery of who you are could only be found through your art, the way you presented yourself through lyrics and sound and the odd interesting band photo. There is a magic to not knowing. The imagination fills in the spaces around the music with nebulous ideas and emotions. Dark swirling shapes and half-memories.
I never wanted to know what a singer looked like, back then. I still often try to avoid finding out. I love not knowing what Chris Adams of Hood looks like. I love just using the image his voice creates for me. It’s even more important if it’s a female singer. The images I had in my head of Elizabeth Fraser, man. All crushed one misty May evening when I had front row seats at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. Good god, I appreciate how angelic a voice like that truly is but I’m not sure I can ever shake the image of the facial hair.
This might eventually apply to authors I like, as well. I won’t go into heavy details but you can probably infer from the above how I feel about those author photos that appear at the backs of books. Again, it’s the art I want to focus on, not the person doing it.
I’ll tell you what Twitter is good for, by the way. Science. Scientists love to tweet. And who better to give us excellent thoughts in 140 characters or less than the finest, most reason oriented minds on our planet? Whether it’s Prof. Brian Cox or the astronauts currently orbiting the Earth at 17,000 mph. SETI or JPL or ESA. Cassini or Voyager. It’s all there from official organizational sources right thru individual team members and scientists all over the world. Tons of quality information right up to the logical minute there for your twatty consumption.
So there. My two cents. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tweet about this post.
And remember to follow me @kensocrates