Social media has given music lovers a platform to connect with their favorite musicians and other fans. It has also given rise to a form of unfiltered freedom of speech that can be good, bad, or downright frightening.
Twitter is a public forum. Emarosa front man Bradley Scott Walden has a tagline on Twitter that states, “My mom reads my tweets.” However, that does not stop fans from tweeting things you would not normally want your mother to know. The release of their new album, Versus, was met with an outstanding review by Jack Appleby and Emerosa fans seem to love it. One fan, identified on Twitter as @liukejaggers, liked it so much he tweeted to Walden, “Yo, “Cliff Notes” will be the song I’m gonna get a girl pregnant to. Mark my words.” Interesting tribute to a great song, but I can only imagine that mothers across the country are banning this song from their daughter’s playlists.
Social media can send conflicting messages. Parker Cannon from The Story So Far gets a fair amount of love and hate from Twitter. His antics on stage and willingness to defend punk rockers from security have made him a controversial character, but most of the comments on his Twitter feed have nothing to do with the music. One post by @kayyfiree says, “parker cannon is super cute, but if that’s the only reason you like tssf I hate you”, leading us to assume that we should like Cannon and his band in spite of the fact that he is easy on the eyes. Cannon suffers from a severely sunken chest, which is visible when he performs without a shirt. In the same Twitter feed @bondistbluess tweets, “I can eat ramen in parker cannon’s chest dent.” This leads me to conclude that @bondistbluess is a fan because of Cannon’s physical attractiveness and @kayyfiree is going to hate her.
At times, the posts are simply mean-spirited. On Facebook, Fit For a King announced the release of a new song later this month by asking, “Who is ready for another song?” While most of the replies were positive, one Facebook member posted, “As long as it’s better than that first one.” There always has to be the one guy who cannot stop himself from writing a negative comment, especially when all the other comments are good. Asking Alexandria also announced a new song this month, and one of their Facebook friends seized the opportunity to tell the world how much he does not like the band. He posted, “AA was my favorite band. They totally sucked at Mayhem. The lead singers ego is out of control and he’s a fat drunk. Then this song. Lame! I haven’t listened to them in over month.” My question is: If he has not listened to Asking Alexandria for over a month, how does he know that the new song is ‘lame’?
If the music is above reproach, pick on the fans. Panic! At the Disco treated audiences to a breathtaking rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on their recent tour. It was so well received by fans that it was immediately featured on YouTube. Having no reason to criticize the amazing performance, a YouTube subscriber decided to direct his negativity to the fans. He commented, “This is the closest you can probably get to this song being done properly live without a time machine. Too bad the awesomeness of this is probably wasted on a bunch of EMO kids.” After 39 replies from people expressing their views on emo kids, emo bands, and the like, the subscriber responded with, “Should have known saying emo would make them flock over to discuss their feelings as if anyone cares. No one cares. You are 100% correct about every insecurity. No need to share”, effectively portraying himself as a ‘hater’ and losing any credibility he may have had as a music lover.
Social media can be dangerous. Rapper J. Cole was met with a serious threat when he released his new album. On Twitter, @JCOLENC tweeted, “Retweet me and I’ll buy Born Sinner. Don’t retweet me and I’ll kill my lil sister” complete with a picture of him pointing a realistic looking gun at a small girl. It was terrifying and at the very least, and a sad way to garner attention. But attention is just what @JCOLENC got. The Twitter world exploded with slews of adverse reactions ranging from gentle reproach to threats against his person. The tweet got 7,927 retweets (including one from J. Cole), but most disturbing is that it also received 2,601 favorites. I understand why Cole retweeted, I would have done the same in his position, but I wonder why the other 2,600 people felt the need to make it so popular. How can such a graphic representation of violence against a child, real or staged, be favorited by anyone?
Connecting with musicians through social media can be exhilarating. It is validation that we count. But are we taking it too far by attaching more meaning than it deserves? I believe the best advice for using social media comes from the old adage, “Think before you speak.” Or post, or tweet, or comment…