So, it never seems clear which way a musician should go in terms of his or her online presence. For musicians, Facebook is really pushing the "fan page". I'm not so sure. After doing some wrestling, I think that I'm going to approach my various communication structures like so:
- My mailing list: The mailing list is gold for musicians. This is where a musician's strongest supporters are. If someone signs up for a mailing list, then it means that they don't want to miss when relevant news happens, and want to be emailed. I'm using the mailing list for summaries of recent goings-on, and big announcements. This means that I'll be sending out information about once a month or so. If you follow me in other ways, you should still definitely join the mailing list so you don't miss anything important. (Side note, apparently it's possible to join the mailing list via facebook but I don't remember how I came across that link and how it works, exactly.)
- My facebook fan page. This is what facebook pushes and recommends for artists, but I honestly still don't really get it. Fan pages suffer from the same failing as regular profiles. If an artist posts a status update to their fan page, there's absolutely no guarantee that their followers will see it. Even if their fans are online at exactly the same time, they won't necessarily see the status update. The other "updates" that fan pages post - no one ever reads those. You have to click in a special sequence and cross your eyes to even come across the "updates" that have accumulated in your inbox. What's nice about a fan page is that as a fan, you'll see updates once in a while, you can leave comments, and - if you remember - you can click over to the fan page to see what you've missed. I'll be continuing to post small status updates to my fan page a few times a week, but I'd definitely prefer it if fans also joined my mailing list or my group. What's my group, you ask?
- My facebook group is still around. Facebook changed their group structure and I ignored it for a little while, but last week on a whim I re-posted an old piano improv that is one of my favorites, Slow Rain. (Soundcloud link here.) I had posted it to my fan page too where it was pretty much ignored, but when I posted it to my group, I got a ton of positive feedback, including from some long-term fans who had never heard it before. Groups are different now, they are kind of like group mailing lists where members can talk to each other. If I post an update, it will actually get emailed to the members. I can post a message that will get delivered to every member's facebook inbox, too. And if a member leaves a comment or posts to the group, it can get emailed to you too (unless you change your settings). It's very fun. It can also be invasive to some - a musician friend of mine recently posted video blog entries once a day for several days in a row, and the frequency of content and comments drove some members to leave. So I'll be posting to the group once a week or so, usually just focusing on media that people might like to hear, or other announcements - I'll be keeping the trivial parts out of it. Obviously, musicians LOVE feedback, so I really like the group - if you want to feel a bit more included in the fan community, this is the place to join. You can also add your own friends to the group if you're sure they'd enjoy it.
- My twitter account is just kind of silly. I use it in spurts, actively but infrequently, and it's definitely not limited to music. Follow me there if you want but it's not really anything important.
So, that's it! To summarize, the mailing list is king, please join!! (This is where I will be announcing more details of my next recording project.) If you want to interact more with the fan community on facebook, join my group. If you want to see the occasional trivial status update, like my fan page. (Or just like it anyway, it doesn't hurt.) And for the most trivial and unrelated stuff, you can follow my twitter account.
Hopefully, that clarifies everything!