Twitter is a tool designed by Satan to cause the complete and total implosion of civilization.
Why Twitter Is So Important For Artists
Personality > Talent
The idea of selling personality above talent isn’t a new concept in the music industry. Even if you sign an artist who is freakishly good-looking with fantastic singing and dancing abilities it still doesn’t mean they will be successful; mainly because you have to sell this good-looking and talented person to a general public of ugly and untalented people. For even the most naturally talented artists, there has to be something about them that’s relatable and accessible to people who aren’t musically inclined. If we’ve learned anything from decades of pop music —and politics— it’s that congeniality always trumps competence. As pop stars become less talented, pop music becomes less interesting and pop fans become more fickle, never before has it been important to sell a contrived personality and never before has there been a tool as valuable at selling personalities than Twitter.
It Helps Artists Control Their Online Image
The idea of artists taking control of their online image isn’t new. In the early 90’s artists such as Prince took to the Internet to sell music directly to fans. As early as 1994, Madonna was hosting America Online chats with her fans;
in 2006, Janet Jackson launched a MySpace video series to promote her 20 Y.O. album and some artists clearly write their own Wikipedia pages.
What Twitter does is takes the shameless self-promotion of celebrities, the shameless intrusion of stans and puts all in one centralized location,
providing stans and artists unlimited access to exploit each other in real-time.
It Takes So Little To Make A Stan Happy
Stans love the delusion of Twitter celebrity friendships, particularly if they don’t have any friends in real life. That’s why in their bios they are so excited to tell you that Khia followed them on June 31, 2010, or J-Kwon retweeted them on September 32nd. It just takes just a few seconds to make your stans happy for a lifetime or at least until someone more relevant comes along.
The Stan-Artist relationship on Twitter thrives on tricking stans into
thinking that artists actually want to be their friends; that Katy Perry wants to go shopping with you, that Chris Brown wants to penetrate you or that Nicki Minaj wants to go scaring small children with you. If I trick you into
believing that these celebrities are your friends, then hopefully it will translate into record sales and brand loyalty.
Pop music fans have notoriously short attention spans and are always looking for the next hot thing. What Twitter does is create a bond between artists and stans that are designed to keep stans from jumping ship. Twitter creates a faux sense of intimacy, accessibility, and transparency that will make it harder for stans to abandon artists when their albums flop, when they have personal drama or when they get arrested for busting a chick in the mouth with an Air Yeezy.
It Gives New Artists a Chance To Break Through
As record sales and attention spans shrunk, so did the number of places in which artists can promote their garbage-ass music. The Grammys and VMAs have each downsized considerably. There’s no more American Bandstand, Soul Train, or TRL. MTV has very little regular music-related programming and VH1 traded music videos for Colored reality television. There simply aren’t as many television platforms for established artists to promote themselves, so you can imagine how much harder it is for a new artist to get some promotion.
The Internet has allowed artists to build a buzz and fanbase that otherwise would have been difficult. J. Cole, Drake, Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey and
many other artists were able to sell out concerts and book TV shows before their albums were released, due in large part to their online followings.
You Can Get Away With Murder
Being able to sing is okay, but being relatable and accessible is even better.
If you build a great fan following on Twitter, then you can get away with murder in every other aspect of your career. You can go onstage high, singing off-key and drooling on yourself, you can do the A-town stomp on a chick’s forehead, you can even shoot one of your stans and they’ll apologize for being in the way of the bullet.
A great personality — contrived or not — will take you far in any field in life, but it’s especially true in the entertainment industry. You can act like a complete and utter jackass and stans will love you anyway — just don’t forget to re-tweet them at least once a day!
It may seem odd that fans respond more favorably to tweets and online personas than talent and good behavior, but you must understand that you are dealing with a generation of fans that would stan for a block of cheese provided it had an Instagram account and a Top 10 single.
Why Twitter is A Satanic Tool of Pure, Concentrated Evil
Twitter Followers =/= Record Sales
Stan wars is mainly about fishing for validation from the charts and from other stans:
“Do people still like my favorite artist?”
“Do people still think my favorite artist is relevant?”
Getting a topic to trend or having your favorite gain a certain number of followers may seem like a sign of relevance, but Twitter is not an absolute indicator of overall impact. There is a difference between attracting a group of fans who invest in you as an artist and performer and being popular with a group of people who have no intention of ever legally obtaining your music. There are more than a few artists with 10 or 20 million followers who are struggling to cross the 1 million mark domestically, which raises the question if you have 10 million fans, and you’ve barely sold 1,000,000 alberms, what are the other 9 million people doing?
Jay-Z has 12 #1 albums, but has only tweeted 33 times in 4 years (that averages to 1.4 tweets a month and 8 tweets a year). Michael Buble had the 2nd highest-selling album in the United States, (2.5 million) but had less than 700,000 followers at the time. Adele didn’t start tweeting until her album was well past the 10 million mark and even then she tweeted about once a month. Adele, who has the biggest selling album in recent memory, has 7 million Twitter followers, but 22 million people have bought her album.
So, if we stop thinking like 11-year-old girls and start thinking like grown-ass people with grown-ass bills would we rather have more Twitter followers or more record-buyers?
Talent > Personality
The dangerous part about the Internet whether you’re trying to get stans on Twitter or trying to get dick on Craigslist, is that the image that you portray online is one that you will be expected to live up to offline. If you attract stans based on your talent then in order to keep your fans you must find a way to nurture your talent, but if you attract fans for being a ratchet coon, then you must find ways to be even more ratchet and coonish — and that may start to wear thin after awhile.
When you condition your stans to see you as a internet persona rather than an artist, it can absolve you from ever having to become great at your craft, but it also causes your stans to see you less as an artist and more as a trained Twitter monkey for their amusement and they don’t give out Grammys for tweeting…yet.
It Takes So Little To Piss a Stan Off
The obvious downside to attracting fans that are so simple-minded that they love you simply for tweeting is that they are so simple-minded they can end up hating you for tweeting — or not tweeting at all. Artists simply can’t follow every one of their fans on Twitter, so someone is likely to feel left out and you’re always one bad tweet away from a complete PR nightmare…
Everything is Tea And Everything Shade
For most stans, the main attraction of Twitter is that it brings celebrities down to a relatable level and allows them to speak freely without the censorship of publicists; but for the celebrities themselves, it’s not always completely free speech. If you decide to post a picture of your new tattoo on Twitter, then you are a badass. If a celebrity does it then they are about to have a mental breakdown. If you post a picture of you smoking weed, you are cool. If a celebrity does it, they’re a week away from being crackheads. If you have a negative opinion about a celebrity, then you are just keeping it real. If a celebrity has a negative opinion about another celebrity, they are shady and spiteful.
Most people overlook the blatant hypocrisy in what artists can (and cannot say) on Twitter. We want artists to tweet because it makes them more human and accessible, but we still hold them to superhuman levels of accountability. Regular people tweet freely with no thought of how it can affect the people who read it, so why can’t famous people do it? Celebrities should have the same rights as normal people — to show the world how racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant, and generally ratchet they are without fear that will it be on CNN.
Celebrities Are NOT Accessible
It is argued that celebrities should want to tweet fans. After all, it’s the fans who support them and their lavish lifestyles; but at what point does intimacy turn into intrusion? Twitter not only erases the line, but in some cases teaches stans that the line isn’t important at all.
Can you imagine showing up for work tomorrow at Long John Silver and your manager tells you that you have to follow and tweet every customer that buys a damn fish sandwich? Technically it’s the money and support of the customer that pays your wages so why shouldn’t you tweet them?. In that context, it sounds silly, but celebrities are the only group of people who are expected to be accessible and personable even when they’re not actually working.
Regardless of the delusions, you choose to believe, the odds of you ever being good friends with your favorite artist are slim. By the nature of who they are, the amount of money they have, and the type of the attention they attract, celebrities are not, by nature, accessible; as a matter of fact they have hired people to shoot you in the face should you try to access them. Yes, there’s a lot of money in selling the illusion, but sometimes Twitter and other social media devalue natural talent for the sake of promoting personalities that may have been created in a record label boardroom.
Finding Balance Online
There are many other ways to create a faux sense of accessibility and transparency. In 2012, Madonna hosted chats on Twitter and Facebook to promote her album. Beyonce has created a Tumblr page. Both Madonna and Beyonce have leveraged social media to enhance their brand and promote their products, but neither has committed to regularly tweeting. This has allowed them to create the illusion of a personalized connection with their fans, while still maintaining privacy and keeping a safe amount distance between them and potentially over-familiar stans.
For some celebrities, Twitter can be more trouble than its worth; but there are other celebrities who have found ways to make Twitter work to their advantage. Twitter at its best works to enhance — not complete — an artist’s overall persona. If Kanye West and Lady Gaga decided to delete their twitter accounts today it probably wouldn’t damage their brand. They’ve already established themselves and respectable musicians, dynamic live performers, and interesting personalities without Twitter. Their successes have shown that Twitter and other social media works best when is part of a package used to sell your talent — if you have any talent.