COLUMN: My life in (slightly more than) 140 characters



I just started a Twitter account. Lots of people I know have one, and they're either clever and witty or they just like to post details about their lives, like the rest of us actually care.

The former Twitter accounts are great reads and genuinely make me laugh or follow up on whatever story they've posted or re-tweeted. The latter is the reason I never wanted to have a Twitter account in the first place. However, over the past month or so in particular, I've realized how much power Twitter has.

I've had a Facebook account for a few years and know the extents of its power pretty well. Using Twitter, however, to promote shows or other things that might involve my company, Lansingmusic.tv, or myself really made me realize the power 140 characters actually has.

Over the past year or so, I had been putting together a local compilation to be released in Lansing, and I used Twitter (as well as Facebook) in the months leading up to its release to promote it. I had many people re-tweeting and posting the events and the music pages involved with the release. In addition to that, I also had some local print press for my release. The use of Twitter and the traditional media like newspapers and radio helped the album release I put on to be a major success.

It sure helped me from a promotions and company point-of-view but, as an individual, it's a totally different story.

Having my own account doesn't solve the problem of my not-so-clever sense of humor; I'm no comedian. I'm usually quiet and awkward and always have the out-of-place feeling where ever I go.

Posting details about myself and my life that the whole world could potentially read and re-tweet is not something I'm keen on. All this, let alone feeling obliged to come up with a clever and witty update to whatever my situation might be turned me off of Twitter in the first place.

I'm really used to writing in long form (like this column shows), so having to limit my thoughts to 140 characters is really, really difficult — especially when it comes to music.

Everyone has one topic they could talk for hours and hours about. I could talk about the greatness of UK post-punk band "Joy Division" (post-punk is an off shoot of punk rock mainly active from 1975 to 1983 or so) or how much I love "Criminal Minds" when it's on A&E. The same goes for "Law and Order: SVU".

But tweeting "OMG I love Law and Order: SVU," with probably even less grammatical accuracy, isn't (again) the most appealing thing in the world.

I don't hate Twitter, but I don't like it either. From a selfless promotion standpoint, it's pretty good ... but I hate being "that guy" who's constantly promoting my new projects and whatnot.

On the other hand, it worked wonders when I did exactly that. Having a personal Twitter account means people can read my thoughts, if I wish to post them.

That's the key, like with every other social media platform: watch what you're posting. I'll keep what I want to myself but share something I think others might find interesting.

I guess I'm still on the fence about this whole thing. We'll see where the next few weeks takes me. Maybe I'll become obsessed with it, or I'll start neglecting it; we will see.


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