Classical musicians and the internet
Are you a classical musician seeking to build a web presence? Here's how to construct, maintain and maximise your internet profile
There are two ways to build a presence on the internet: use existing structure or build your own. The best strategy does both.
If you're a...
Existing structure includes: Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and forums such as Brightcecilia. Self-build means buying a domain name and server space then constructing, or having someone construct for you, a website.
The site must then be driven up Google. It's no good owning the most beautiful website in the world, or running a red hot Myspace, if no one visits it.
This article considers those three areas and gives advice on how to dominate them.
Top Down versus Bottom UpMyspace, Facebook, Twitter, Brightcecilia, etc., are social media or 'web 2.0 user generated content.' The term 'Web 2.0' was coined by Darcy DiNucci in 1999, who wrote:
The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfuls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop The Web will be understood not as screenfuls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. Source
The traditional web was a top-down structure. Webmasters served up material for users to consume. Web 2.0 inverted that.
Webmasters still control Web 2.0 content, but users have grown more powerful. They contribute to it, manipulate it, interact with it, change it. The Webmaster was relegated to provider of structure within which users operate. He's still a powerful figure but must now treat users as semi-partners.
Stealth MarketingSuch is the power of user generated content that new laws have been made to protect consumers, with 'stealth marketing' now criminalised in Europe. Here's a possible example of it on Brightcecilia.
Research shows that people trust their peers on the internet over and above an advertiser. So if someone seeking to sell a product engages with social media and pretends to be an ordinary consumer, the effect on sales can be marked. It's deceitful and manipulative behaviour which is why it's now illegal in many nations.
When you build your Myspace page or engage on Twitter or Brightcecilia keep the following in mind:
Be honestIf you're trying to sell or publicise something don't say 'Hey, I've found this amazing string quartet. Check it out!' when you're the viola player! It's dishonest and if you're caught people will laugh at you. You may even get reported to the authorities and the social media organisation may ban and blacklist you.
Add contentWhen you engage with social media look at the objectives of the site you're on. Then try to hit them.
So on Twitter, say what you've been doing. If you've just returned from an orchestra rehearsal, say so. If you've been up all night writing a symphony, talk about it.
The same applies to forums. People want to engage with real people doing interesting, relevant, ethical and (ideally) witty things - just like real life. Be yourself.
Be original and respectfulLook at some Myspace pages. Some are dreadful, others are works of art. Some scream "SPAM!!" Others say: "This site's a labour of love."
When people read a web page they respond best if treated with respect. It's not respectful to hit someone with spam or bad design. If you're trying to sell them something or make a good impression, it's fatal.
Don't spamApart from it now being illegal in many places, spam is commercial suicide, especially when dealing with classical musicians who are often savvy and spam-aware. An experienced social media user will spot spam at a hundred paces.
Some of the best classical music websites are tiny: less than ten pages,
half a dozen images, a couple of music files, a
few links to interesting sites, and an email address. So
if you decide to build a site it doesn't have to be huge.