Will social media chaos benefit arts communities in 2019?

laptop graphic IAS

At present social media like Facebook and Twitter are experiencing chaos. This was predictable. When you have massive numbers of humans from around the globe interacting, you have a landscape akin to the ‘Wild West’ of yore. Toss in bots, insert human screeners who make decisions to block people like a famous pastor (his page was restored), and media who snark among themselves like tweens on a middle school playground, chaos is no surprise. What’s next in 2019 when it comes to arts communities? 

Music LinkUp graphic
On Twitter, MusicLinkUp is being billed as “the LinkedIn of the music world.” (snip: @EmilyChri5 on Twitter)

I admit I’ve spent less time on Facebook. I do like keeping up with my daughters’ band pursuits and with others musicians and writers there. I do not like the penchant Facebook has for squelching free expression. That is certainly Facebook’s right, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

In the early days of the Web, communities were all the rage. Indie bloggers benefited. People commented on sites where there were mostly humans participating on both ends of the process.

I wonder if people will tire of popular social media and look for something else.

I often encourage people to comment here, but they mostly stick to Facebook ‘likes’ and comments there because I add my link to my personal page when I file a column. I don’t have an official Facebook page for my site. I have done that with sites in the past, but once censors emerged, it was pretty hopeless for building traffic there on my end.

People don’t think about what they do very often, but the reality is that when you comment on any social media site, you are providing the content that website sells. Social media sites do give you tools, but you’re the creator of the content that draws eyeballs and builds their stock value.

I wonder if all this chaos won’t lead to people returning to the concept of blog communities. That would be a plus for indie musicians and other artists because if for some reason your page is suspended on any level, that suspension will cost you dearly. That’s one reason I have warned musicians time and again to build their own email lists independent of convenient social media sites.

In my opinion, you’re better off sharing your opinions on websites not affiliated with major social media who must yield to political systems in other countries where you can go to prison (or worse) if you offend someone based on their faith.

You’re also better off bookmarking favorite websites and going to them directly. The Web’s major search engine has over the years evolved to, in my opinion, being  a great fan of censorship.

Meanwhile, I hope visitors will place comments here on this website when they have something to share. I also hope visitors will share our content. At present we don’t have ads here, and by not carrying certain ads, we probably don’t have much hope of search engine love from those titans of the Web.

I don’t know what 2019 will hold, but I do know artists should diversify their audience portfolios and not rely on one single media site to carry messaging.

(Kay B. Day/Jan. 4, 2019)

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