There is one line in the “Godfather” movie that I feel is completely erroneous. It’s the line when the mob guy says, “It’s not personal, it’s business!” I believe whole-heartedly that if you are engage in a business you love, it’s all personal. This thought now brings me to this seemingly unrelated point regarding modern web communications (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, texting,etc).
I understand that the modern world society is an ever changing system that has rapidly evolving rules of engagement between people and peoples. I also understand that the music business is changing along with that world society and that technology is driving that change more rapidly every day. Some for the good, some for bad.
I think new communication technologies are wonderful. These technologies enable me to reach out to you and others like you about the thing that matters most to me. Music !
Technology helps me stay in touch more readily with the folks I care about. It makes it easy to post this article, text my comments to friends, take the awful photo attached to this article, and place a post on Facebook simultaneously. Yep, it’s all really awesome.
Before I go any further, I want you all to know that the following things I have to say may come off with a bit of ire on my part, but as many of you know, this site is geared to be a positive and helpful environment. It is always my sincerest wish that the things I say here will help people get where they want to go in business and in life. So, with that said, here comes my objections and observations on modern communications, as well as my obviously sage advice and personal plea to all of you.
Communication on the Web
The first subject that needs discussion is on how people should never lean on modern web communications to communicate complex ideas, discuss business solutions or to establish professional or business relationships.
Yes, it’s okay to introduce yourself on Facebook or Linked In, but if you ever intend to build real lasting relationships, you will want to call or make the effort to actually meet people “in person”. I know this is scary for most of you these days, but trust me, it still has great value to others and it works.
Let me say that recently, many people are actually surprised when I used my telephone to contact them. One poor soul to whom I left a message on their phone, actually Facebook messaged me a reply with complex details of a project for I which I had no previous knowledge, and furthermore this was a person that didn’t really know me and they wanted my assistance. They didn’t even have it in them to simply return a call. How seriously should I take them?
Am I the only one that sees a problem with this situation? Is there anyone else that feels that this might be a bit unprofessional? I use this anecdotal evidence, but I have many personal stories like this one. So, please don’t think you can use texting to a new contact as a meaningful way to communicate your business ideas, passions or ask for assistance and for God’s sake don’t expect that real people should respect that approach.
NOW TAKE THE PLEDGE !
Say it with me… I now pledge that anytime I find myself communicating on the web about business or getting involved with others business, I will immediately delete my message, and pick up a phone to call them, and if I don’t have their number, I will correct my message to ask where and when we might meet in person or when would be a good time to call to really discuss the matter. I will do this because I actually do care about what they have to say and what they want to accomplish, and I of course am always interested to see how their plans might fit with mine. (now stop reading out loud.)
I’m not saying I’ve perfected this habit, but I am definitely more conscious of this more than ever. I certainly don’t want to perpetrate onto others as they seem to do to me regularly. I also don’t ever want to say, “but everybody’s doing it.” As my mother used to say ” You are not everybody !” Good advice especially now.
Self Promotion on the Web
Another thing I’d like to discuss is self-promotion on the web. First of all, I think we can gain a lot from communicating, with as many people as possible, about whatever our craft might be, but please, don’t forget to contribute back to others who are doing the same.
If you honestly like what others are doing, then make the real effort to show you earnestly care . You can go to their shows, help them work through specific problems, introduce them to others you know, who might be able to help them, or simply be that vote of confidence they need today. I guarantee, if you do these things, it will do more good for you than any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) software package. If you do want to spam people, spam them with inspiration, encouragement and a flurry of “Your Awesome”. That certainly is our goal here at Songstreet. I hope it’s yours.
Warning: If you do any of the things described above with even a hint of insincerity, people will immediately know it and will write you off. So, please don’t be insincere.
Those Young Whipper-Snappers !
While, I’m ranting, let me quickly clarify that I don’t think these problems are restricted to our younger (less experienced) people. This problem of unprofessional, immature, and sketchy practices extends to all ages. I can say I’ve had twenty somethings and fifty somethings break every possible rule of good form and manners with me, in regards to personal and business relations. I experience more and more of this behavior just about every week and is the reason for this particular article.
NOW…MY REALLY SAGE ADVICE
I know it feels good to hide behind the anonymity of the web. I also I know the experience of being fully engaged in my own life and with the people around me is a much more rewarding experience.
Yes, many times working in the music business, we will get rejected, and especially on the web. It seems to me that we believe that the blow of rejection is a little bit softer out on the interweb. Mainly because our critics and rejectors are mostly faceless. We really don’t know them, and we don’t have to really look them in the face. Somehow in our silly human minds this makes us bolder to face rejection a million times a day from behind our computer screen and we make a great effort it seems to not really know anyone.
I might sound a bit old fashioned, but on the contrary, I want to encourage everyone to use the heck out of modern technology to reach out with your specific brand, message or personality. The beauty of communication technology today (see Jessica Frech article) is that it is easier than ever to find an audience that will connect with you artistically or in business.
However, once we find those people, I want to encourage everyone (including myself) to temper the knee jerk reaction to stay completely digital. I assure you this reaction will eventually make anyone disappear into the sea of personality-free Faceboxes (Good name-I know. The dot com is already taken. I checked.)
I embrace the idea that we can still have meaningful business and/or personal relations that are unflinchingly real in these modern times. I believe it won’t kill me or you. So, I say bring it ! What is there to lose. I say, ” bring on the face to face! Mr. and Mrs. Record Producer / Manager / Publisher / Engineer/ Songwriter/ Co-writer / Promoter / Studio Owner / A&R person / Fan Boy …”. I promise the more you go there…out in the real world to make real relationships, the faster and farther you will progress toward ultimately becoming the person you always wanted to be.
Trust me, the best thing you can do for your career, in whatever field that might be, is to get “Personal”. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, return a phone call, or dare I say – write a letter. How about try inviting your Facebook Friends personally - I mean one by one – to come to your next event or go the extra mile and travel across country to meet with some of these people face to face.
Some may argue with me that they get more done by constantly staying engaged in the act of texting and twitting from their God Box. But I disagree. My personal life experience has taught me that without any real engagement or investment in the other folks around me, I would be wasting time and will ultimately fail to accomplish any real progress in my life, my work or my business.
So. I hope to hear from you soon with all the awesome and fascinating details. I don’t mind, if you text me, message me on Facebook or email me. From there I’ll be happy to say hello and share pictures with you, but if you want to say something really important, need to discuss critical information, or want to build a real and lasting business relationship, then the best thing you can do is “Call Me” and in the immortal words of the Jackson Five…”I’ll Be There”. Thanks for your attention, caring and your time spent while I do a rare rant.
PS. Okay, so you don’t have my number and if I put it here I would be spam called until the day I die. So message me on Facebook or email me, and I promise I will respond.