A recent article in the mighty Hypebot caught my attention. The subject was the slowing down of growth in social media based on predictions from (US) researchers eMarketer.
Every medium goes through a life cycle and the nature of the internet has accelerated the cycle hugely so that it’s hard to contemplate a world without Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, even though those technologies have been around for just half a decade. Facebook is pulling through it’s awkward adolescence having figured out a way to monetize its platform while not pissing off its user base too much. Zuckerberg and co.’s website has matured into an independent powerhouse of the online world. With the powerful backing of its parent company Google, YouTube was fast-tracked into the major league a long time ago and now represents probably Google’s best entry into the social media sphere that it has been trying unsuccessfully to achieve through failed projects like Wave and Buzz. Twitter continues apace at being adopted by the mainstream masses and once investment has been secured to safeguard its future it looks to become just as influential as its two major contemporaries.
So much for the state-of-the-social-media-nation address. The point is, as written about nicely by Kyle Bylin (again in Hypebot), that a hyper-connected, always-plugged-into-social-network reality is upon us, and has been for a while. While everyone got excited about the phenomenal growth in social media with new start-ups to shout about every half hour, what matters more now as this growth plateaus, is the way we adjust to the new reality in the long term. For artists that means taking control of their own online identity, it means paying lots of attention to their visuals, it means absolutely having their own website from day 1, it means being ready and able to interact with their audience. It means not trying to get famous solely through A&R like Alanis Morisette did in the 90s or even through Myspace like Arctic Monkeys did in the noughties. Social media is like those skinny jean wearing 20 year olds in your local bar – it’s part of life, it’s everywhere. And success in music isn’t about gimmicks – like always, it’s about talent, luck and hard work.