Life without social media-My perspective

Facebook

It’s been months since I’ve been on any of the big social media places, namely Facebook.  I deactivated my profile and unpublished my Music School Page.  I think I did log back in once to get an address; I didn’t realize you had to deactivate the messenger too!  I won’t be returning to Facebook.

I don’t have a definite answer as to why-I largely got bored of it; perhaps people crave novelty and the novelty wore off.  Perhaps I felt the time I dedicated to it should be dedicated elsewhere in other more beneficial ways.

About the only thing online I do besides post here is I’m a regular poster on reddit.  I feel very welcome in the community.  You can find me on the music theory and composer boards.  The boards are somehow an equal game, people respect what you have to say and it’s not a popularity contest. There are lots of young people with lots of questions and I enjoy helping them but above all I enjoy being treated fairly.

I’m pretty sure that about 98% of them have never even heard my music, and frankly I guess I like it that way. I’m just some old guy on a forum with advice and they can take it or leave it, ha.

It’s a bit strange in that I always thought that if a forum required people to use their real names, that it would cut down on the nonsense.  However, I’m not so sure because then people start to judge you-based on your name, where you are from, what you look like, the way you talk, your education level, etc.  About all it prevents is some random troll from acting a fool and even then some people are perfectly okay acting the fool under their real name.

There is something to be said about complete anonymity as well.  There is then nothing to judge you on except your words and behavior.  They don’t have a video/picture/etc of you where they can sit and make a judgement about who you are as a person.  So that part of it’s quite nice.  It’s kind of a level playing field.

Banjo Forums

Reflection-After 12+ years of contributions, I no longer post/contribute to banjo forums. I haven’t done so in two years.  I’ll make a post on the banjo reddit about once every blue moon.

It’s quite unfortunate, but banjo forums were largely a negative experience for me.  I never fit in and it was like being stuck in high school where you aren’t one of the cool kids.  For over a decade, I put up with it all, doing my best to contribute and help people out on banjo forums.  Sure, I made the occasional friend or ran into someone that enjoyed my input but that was far and few in between.

At the end of the day, I had attempted to fit in somewhere I’d never belong. It was a list of things that made me wake up and realize I needed to be done with banjo forums.  In some ways I think it mirrors things I experienced at local festivals when I was younger.  What’s that? you don’t play it like Crowe or Scruggs did on the recording?  What’s that you don’t play a Gibson (I guess I was lucky! I actually did, ha), What’s that, you know music theory?  It was some very narrow-minded viewpoints about music and I’m sure it didn’t help the festival attendance records.  My life is all the more richer without banjo forums in my life.

Youtube:

After almost ten years on there, I’ve decided that I won’t be updating my youtube channel with any more instructional videos.  I already have 52 videos and that’s enough, probably too many given the viewing numbers.

I made the decision to pull some of the teaching videos that were already posted as well.  If I do post anything on youtube again it will only be recording studio versions of my music, releases if you will.

This is due to many reasons but first and foremost I don’t like the new way youtube is functioning, even though I DO understand the reasoning.  I never made anything off of there much anyways but now it seems kind of pointless as I truly get nothing in return with the new system.  I forget the exact numbers but now they require a number of subscribers and views per month before you can monetize anything, standards that I’ll never meet.  The point of the service then becomes me using it so people can discover my music and well, given the amount of stuff I have online, it’s discoverable.

Putting up free stuff for the world is nice but at some point it doesn’t put food on a man’s table.  A person has to invest in things that are going to continue allowing him to have a career, job, etc.

As an artist/professional musician I will continue to share my teaching materials in ways that reward me something for my work.  While I certainly got a handful of gigs and students out of youtube after 10 years of being on there; I personally don’t see it as all that successful.  Overall, it’s led to very little and I have countless videos with less than 200 views, some after years of being on there.

Closing

I write this because I suppose some that follow me will notice my absence on many platforms.  I’m very busy writing and playing new music but I am certainly working on things that are sending me in a new direction.  My online efforts will be poured into this website or other platforms you find mentioned on here elsewhere.

The best thing about not having to be everywhere is I can hopefully do a better job at maintaining this and posting regularly.

In closing-I wonder about the often reiterated advice musicians get-“You need to be on this social media platform, and this one, and post videos on youtube, and post on these forums, and do this and that if you want people to discover your music.”  They basically tell musicians they need to be everywhere so people can find them.

In some cases, the musician does this and in the end barely has anything to show for all of their troubles.  They may have 30 likes on a Facebook post but those people aren’t coming to concerts, buying recordings, taking lessons, etc.  The free teaching video they posted on youtube might have 50,000 views but it’s not a given that a one of those people will ever support your career in any sort of tangible manner, ie, take an actual real lesson.

Why is it for our increased ability to reach a larger audience that many musicians are still having trouble making ends meet?  The numbers in this new promotion model don’t add up.  30,000 subscribers, views, friends, followers, etc but yet the musician can’t make a living??  I think perhaps it should make us question what’s going on here.  I think that while promotion is a necessary evil, that it does come at a cost-it’s time away from studying, practicing and most of all living.

 

 

 

 

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Jody Hughes Written by:

I am a full-time banjo and acoustic guitar teacher, performer and composer. I have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, The Grand Ole Opry and The Ryman Auditorium. My interests include developing educational materials for the advancing banjoist and composing Original Music mixing my background in Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical and Latin Music.

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