Classical music's unquestioning love affair with social media
I chose two years ago to close my social media accounts. But this recent tweet caught my eye and set me thinking again about classical music's unquestioning love affair with social media.Yesterday Norman Lebrecht reported that Slipped Disc had 24 million readers in 2020. Now, as pointed out here before, and as a Slipped Disc reader points out in a comment, 24 million page visits on Google Analytics is a very different metric to 24 million readers. Page visits includes repeated return visits - which accounts for a high proportion of Slipped Disc traffic - and, as previously explained, more than half of website page visits are not from humans at all, but from automated programs — many of them malicious.
Now Norman, like all of us, has faults. But he is not stupid. So why does he insist on repeatedly bandying around these misleading statistics? 4 million readers in 2020, which is probably a more accurate estimate, is still an impressive metric that confirms Slipped Disc as the market leader by some considerable margin. So why the unnecessarily exaggerated claim? Universal Music, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and virtually every other classical institution enthusiastically supports Slipped Disc. All these institutions see leveraging social media as being key to engaging classical audiences. Which leads to the disturbing conclusion that although Universal Music, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, et al can spin a good tweet, they don't actually understand social media audience statistics.
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All the best.
I am often accused by Richard Bratby and others of not understanding social media, so I will break one of OAOP's cardinal rules and give a little personal background. My involvement with online communication started in the early 1990s when the IT department I managed starting using EDI (electronic data interchange) for communicating music and book orders. I became involved with the nascent web in the 1990s, and some of the hobby pages I created then with my then school-age son remain in an internet archive - https://web.archive.org/web/19990208020305/http:/www.shingleton-net.demon.co.uk/ (These pages were created using raw HTML in a Mosaic browser and hosted by Marc Andreessen department at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois).
At the beginning of the next decade I worked closely with Amazon as it started up in the UK, and was involved in software on demand projects. OAOP stated in 2004 as an experimental self-publishing project linked to an IT based adult learning project I was running. After Facebook and Twitter were launched I used them both to promote my blog and to understand social media's strengths and weaknesses.
So I have had considerable experience of all types of online communication, including social media. Two years ago I decided that for me, social media's weaknesses were greater than the strengths. But I also understand that social media is a powerful force that cannot be ignored, even if I don't endorse it. So I still maintain a watching brief on Twitter - sorry but Facebook is a step too far for that - and I have no problem with others using it. One last comment directed at my critics if I may. Talking about social media without having a Twitter account is not trolling. Each of us can choose where we voice our opinions: for some it is Twitter, for others blogs.
P.B. - thank you for your comment and for your level-headed blog and tweets.