People sometimes ask me presumptively, “You’re on facebook, right?” or occasionally send me facebook links I can’t use to which I reply, to their utter astonishment & befuddlement, “Sorry, I’m not on facebook.” Invariably they emphatically say, “But facebook is great for musicians & promoting your music! How can you not be on facebook?!” Well allow me to explain & hopefully I won’t offend any facebook(fb) fans.
I had heard of the supposed necessity of being on fb prior to posting any songs online for music promotion. I tried it for a while & soon discovered it did not live up to my expectations of a “necessity”. The first thing I encountered was that my initial “Friends List” was merely an almost complete copy of my email address book full of people with whom I had already shared my music & whose email addresses were now in the possession of fb for advertising, spam, or any future purpose. So far only fb’s social network had been increased, not mine.
Adding new people to this “Friends List” is made difficult by restrictions fb places on who one may communicate with; i.e. unless you have a “Mutual Friend”(one suggested by fb) connected with your prospective contactee, you dare not attempt to make contact lest your account be shut down briefly as punishment. If the prospective contactee does not recognize your name they may panic & contact the “Mutual Friend” expressing their concerns about why you are contacting them. Paranoia can run deep on fb.
The next step fb suggested/insisted-on was linking every site I was on to them. In order to establish a fb music page you must link fb to your existing ReverbNation(RN) page. However, fb only imports all of the information from RN & inserts it into their own stripped-down crappy-looking page & player(a player whose “auto-play” feature, at last check, can not be disabled even though fb & the online world recognizes auto-play as the number one reason people immediately navigate away from pages …one irate user referred to auto-play as being “ear-raped”). If I already have a good-looking & fully functional RN page, why do I need to have it on fb in a diminished form?
As a music promotion site I believe fb is lacking, not only because of the poorly implemented RN integration, but as a result of its overwhelming size & scope containing literally millions of artists of every conceivable genre, but with no convenient way to search for only the genres you are interested in without the artists’ fb addresses(if I’m wrong about this, someone please correct me as I’m going by memory here :). Your band is therefore a speck in a vast sea unless someone is directed to your fb location by other means.
I believe that first & foremost fb was/is intended as a way for existing, well-established large groups of friends to conveniently communicate & not as a means for music promotion. These groups’ communication is self-restricted by an unwritten code of highly variable & sensitive rules/protocol governing what is & what is not considered appropriate to post on fb. Violations of these rules may be subject to vindictive retaliation of varying types & severity by other members. The only safe course is to restrict one’s free speech to shallow thoughts, congratulations, & compliments.
Also, what do fb “Likes” do for anyone other than make them feel good about themselves? Is there some other redeeming value to this omnipresent thumbs-up symbol found everywhere on the web? I’m just not sure. Does it determine some sort of ranking or is it merely a means of influence to attract attention to items which one might like simply because others have(like a mob mentality scenario)? I’d be interested in hearing other possible explanations.
Anyway, I’ve more easily & quickly made far more really cool friends worldwide, with complete strangers with whom I share common interests, on our little Power of Prog(PoP) powerofprog.com than I ever imagined considering how ineffective the giant fb was for me. Now it’s easy to go back to RN & “Fan” these people there as well & they reciprocate. Many are also on SoundCloud, which while not as good as PoP, still beats fb for making music connections. Fb’s company stock took a big nosedive in late May, early June 2012 as they went public & began selling off shares of the company to individuals indicating two things to me: #1, the owners want to begin divesting themselves because, #2, they realize there are many others who feel as I do & have consequently closed their accounts.
P.S. Anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion on this subject. Thanks!