NO QUICK FIX

Social media sold us on the idea that we can just post and lots of people would see it. 

This was true for a moment, but it was a house of cards. As more and more people post more often 24/7, there are only so many people who can see everything that is posted.

The “reach” was a lie. It helped lots of people, yes, until it didn’t. So now, as we enter a post-social media world, we’re left searching for NEW apps and algorithms, but it’s just more of the same, and it will likely end the same way.

Resist the quick fix, the shortcut. One subscriber to your email list is worth the work, the struggle, the grind.

SEARCHING

Love this from Mehret Biruk:

“I’m not searching for gmail.com, I’m searching for something, something of the past. That feeling. When I first learned to want and be wanted in a specific way; differently. All of it happened over the internet, the devices, the notifications. And what can I do about it now? Except hope that with enough time, enough effort, I will learn to forget the notifications. I will learn to want and be wanted in other ways; differently. Offline.”

From ‘Angry and curious

I do the same with email. Let me check one more time. Before a run. After a run. When I get home. As dinner is heating up. During dinner.

I’m searching for something. That email from someone that will sweep me off my feet. The job offer. The opportunity that gift wrapped from the universe just for me.

As Mehret says, time to deflect this feeling into something in the offline world, without a screen. I feel I get this more and more just by being outside. Finding myself stepping away from the computer more often. Going for walks. Long runs. Using my camera more often.

The search online never ends, but time on earth sure does.

RETURN TO THE WEB

The only thing holding us back from having the internet experience is ourselves.

“Nothing about the web has changed that prevents us from going back. If anything, it’s become a lot easier. We can return.

This from Molly White, in a piece called ‘We can have a different web.’

We can set up websites for cheap, using a multitude of tools. We can create directories, or field guides, or fan pages for anything we want.

We can link to each others things from our websites, our newsletters, our DMs, our Discords or forums.

It might feel slower, since techbros at social media giants have been feeding you the Kool-Aid that without them you’ll turn to dust, but that just ain’t true.

EARLY TWITTER USER

I’ve been going through so many old photos and images since ditching Apple Photos, and found this from 2013, a screen shot of Twitter, with my Twitter user number as evidence of being one of the first 3,000 to sign up for the service. Un freaking real that I used that service for 17 years.

I THOUGHT YOU WERE CRAZY

I got a DM today from a reader of Social Media Escape Club:

“When I first started reading your posts I thought you were crazy. Honestly.”

They went on to tell me how they’ve been ignoring social media for any sort of promoting for their project, and – SHOCKER – it had no effect.

I’ve talked to a lot of artists about all this social media / “having a newsletter” thing, and I’m telling you, people have been beating their heads against a wall with this stuff, but also suffering from a bit of Stockholm Syndrome.

“A proposed condition or theory that tries to explain why hostages sometimes develop a psychological bond with their captors.”

Yes, there are folks who have a positive or neutral relationship with social media. If that’s you, fantastic.

Just because you don’t have a problem with social media, does not mean people experience the platform in the same way.

For some, social media is dreadful, which is then made worse by the idea that without it you’re doomed. And that’s a horrible place to be.

RELYING ON GREY BOXES

Cal Newport makes a great point about artists and creative people being on social media.

If our work is on social media, we leave the chance of “being discovered” to a grey box. An algorithm.

But the “old way” of finding and discovering things on the Internet was through blogs and directories.

Posts and link dumps curated by real humans. DJs on live radio stations. Writers that reviewed music in magazines.

It was slower, sure, but I don’t think we need any more “36 new songs released today” posts, do we?

I think it’s time to get back to directories again. DIY style. Curated links to resources to duplicate tapes, make zines, and lists of art galleries by city and state.

RETHINK YOUR MARKETING BUDGET

This is just one person’s account, of course, but I think we’re going to see more of this.

In March 2024, I ran an experiment in my Portuguese-written blog: I stopped distributing its content on social media (Mastodon, mostly) and messaging apps (Telegram and WhatsApp channels). It has a small following in a few places — ~2,9k on Telegram, ~450 on WhatsApp and three Mastodon profiles (two with autopost) that sums ~5k followers.

The result was that… little has changed.

From Almost no one cares if your site is not on social media

Yes, if you do the bare minimum and “just” post when you have new stuff, new things, new projects – sure – some people may find your stuff. The alorithimic gods may show your post to 5% of your followers, and you’ll get two clicks, and that’s nice.

If you want more, though, you gotta give more. Show up, engage, maybe “create content” just for the platform by way of vertical videos and other multimedia assets.

Then you’ll get seen by 8% of your followers, and maybe get four clicks. Great.

Or – what if we made the best fucking work we possibly can, and instead of spending 100% of our “marketing budget” on posting to social media, what if we spent 80% of our time reaching out to our contacts? Emailing galleries, venues, agents, etc.? Spending time in places where we want to spend more time in, surrounded by people we want to be around?

What if that was our marketing budget? Time and care in the creative world that’s already around us.

The “creator economy” existed long before tech-bros came along and tried to squeeze it for every last 3.5% surcharge.

We’ll be here long after they move onto the next market to destroy.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

There’s a certain way to do TikTok, sure.

You can half-ass Instagram, and get 12 likes. I get it.

Or you can just do what YOU wanna do, and not worry about being a 12 person marketing and social media team.

Not everything is social media.

TELL ME HOW TO LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC

If I click on your band’s LinkTree / Link In Bio and I can’t tell in 1.2 seconds how to LISTEN to your music, you’re fucked.

Tour dates. Great.
Press kit. No thanks.
Website.

Hmmmm… think about that last one.

While I’m stoked a band even has a website in 2024, what has our experience been with band websites for the last 20 years?

They’re usually not updated, maybe it’s just a bunch of tour dates from a BandsInTown embed, maybe some old photos…

DON’T. MAKE. ME. THINK.

Make one of the buttons “LISTEN” or “HEAR OUR LATEST SINGLE” and link it DIRECTLY to a place where I can listen to your actual music, or click play on a YouTube embed.

This might sound like I’m being old and curmudgeonly, but patience for this stuff wears thin after two decades of doing this 10 times a day.