Actually, All Bands (And Most People) Should Delete Their Social Media Presence
Posted on May 2, 2016
Let’s willfully ignore for a moment that the erasure of Radiohead’s internet presence is not, in fact, a sly piece of marketing for what’s probably a new album. It is so that.
However, the band may have accidentally happened upon an inconvenient truth a lot of us have known for a long, long time: That social media is extremely bad, bands definitely don’t need it, and for most of us, our lives would be extremely better without it.
How often in the past week have you scrolled through twitter, reading the same sequence of tweets a few times, over and over again, mindlessly, desperately seeking some small kernel of entertainment but finding little more than poorly formed, bad opinions, most of which aren’t even funny (which is the whole point of twitter)? We all know plenty of funny people; how is twitter by and large such an extremely fucking bad website? How many times have you refreshed your Facebook feed, only to find more boring posts from your boring friends, maybe some sort of lo-res meme shared by your mom from a page with a name like “Hot Moms Club,” perhaps even some half-assed political opinions thrown in there. Hell, I’ve refreshed Facebook three times just while writing this paragraph. It’s still extremely fucking bad! And the worst part is, even though none of it matters, we can’t look away. It is inherently ephemeral, disposable, distracting content that, if I, you, or anyone were to leave behind, no one would miss us. And if they did miss us, you know what they’d do? They’d call, text, or email, hell, maybe even write a letter or a postcard. Maybe they’d come visit, even, or want to hang out with us in person for once. Whatever their choice of contact, there would be effort and care and thought behind it, three things of which social media is largely devoid.
Think your band needs social media? Nope! First of all, there’s no sense of discovery on social media—users largely don’t seek out new music on these platforms. The amount of new fans—and I’m not talking “followers,” I’m talking about honest-to-Lemmy, goddamned paying patrons of your art—will be negligible at best. Really, you’ll just end up wasting your time with no return on the investment of said time. Sure, sometimes music falls into one’s lap there, or maybe a friend posts a bandcamp link or a YouTube video, but physical word of mouth still works wonders. The discover feature on Bandcamp still works. Spotify’s playlists, unfortunately, work. Writing great songs, playing them with passion, and then having an audience member tell a friend about your music, works even better. There’s only one Chris Farren, after all. Worry you’ll be forgotten about if you leave social media? Good news: You would’ve been forgotten about anyway!
And obviously Radiohead doesn’t need social media, as they’re a band full of multi-millionaires with an accomplished track record, as well as a “team” behind them who will get the word out on everything they’d ever want to be out there. Has anyone ever really thought, “I wish this band were more active on social media?” Nah, usually it’s like, “I wish this band would release new songs, or better songs” or “I wish this band would come play my town” and BY THE WAY, we didn’t always need social media to find tour dates, we didn’t always need Facebook events to figure out what shows to attend. A friend told us about the show, face to face (imagine that, actually hanging out with people instead of hanging out with our phones). Or we saw a flyer, or had tour dates emailed to us, or read them on a music news website. There were ways! Plenty of them! Life was a lot simpler pre-social media, when there weren’t 18 shows to choose from every week, to be frank. Nowadays we have so much disposable information at our fingertips that we often choose to just stay home and ingest it like a bag of salty potato chips, which may satiate a quick craving but ultimately, leaves us unfulfilled and unsatisfied.
Every band should delete their social media accounts. A website is fine; just turn off the comments section.