Why No Social Media?

Where are those widgets? Where can we follow you? 

Good questions. Thanks for asking. Here is your answer. 

In April 2021 I made the decision to disengage with social media entirely. I’m going to make some effort here to explain to you why, just in case you were curious. Before I do so, I want you to know that this explanation is only some of the story. The rest of the story can be summarized in the simple statement.. 

“…because I wanted to.” 

As for the other reasons, keep on reading! 

First of all, it is a tremendous waste of time. “But,” you say, “so many musicians have increased their audience through social media. Don’t you want to take advantage of such a tremendous resource?”  You are right, many musicians have increased their social media audience by being active on social media. Notice what I said though…have increased their SOCIAL MEDIA audience. In my now several years as a performing musician I have many many musician friends, young and old. My observational research is this…up to a certain threshold, which seems to be a significantly high number, a large quantity of social media followers does not necessarily convert into a listening audience at shows. I could list multiple examples of friends and colleagues whose social media numbers exponentially exceed mine, they are active on considerably more platforms than I, and yet their show attendance is no greater, and is often less than mine. So shouldn’t this beg the question, “why would I spend so much time on social media?” To this, I can only speculate because I can’t speak for other people, but I think there is essentially two primary reasons… 

First, the industry claims to require it, thinking that a musician’s large social media following makes for an impressive audience to make their job easier so they can make the money off the musician through promotion and representation while the musician has already done the hard work for them. All they have to do is write cool content and use the already warmed-up audience that the musician has slaved over while draining the musician’s pocket book. 

Secondly, it feels good. It’s ego-boosting. After playing a month’s worth of shows with only a passive so-so audience a musician can get online and feel good that they have 5k followers on their Instagram. Woohoo! It’s worth something. Just not much. 

Many musicians spend as much time promoting themselves on social media as they do practicing or perfecting their art as a songwriter. It seems like a lot of effort to expend in order to have 5,000 followers who don’t come to their shows. Thus, it is a tremendous waste of time, not to mention distraction from creative energy. 

Secondly, social media is a dumpster of intellect. No, I’m not saying that there are no intelligent people on social media. Obviously, there are. However, if there any place that a person’s intellect becomes wasted words it is on social media. Minds are never changed, arguments are never won, relationships are rarely mended, manners are rarely observed, character is rarely shown. As for the folks who have truly little intelligence, well… they really seem to thrive on social media. When all a person has to say is emboldened statements meant only to achieve reaction without consequence, well then, social media is utopia for that person. I want to leave that landscape to them and protect the few marbles in my brain that God gave me. 

Thirdly, social media is dangerous. Almost any opinion given takes the risk of insulting the masses. Don’t even think about making a joke. Because on social media your “reach” is large, so is the consequence. One wrong statement made in a moment of unclarity, and you might pay the price for years to come. I’m not interested in investing my relationship efforts into something so fragile. 

Lastly, social media robs me of real life. I speak only for myself on this one and cannot speak for others. However, for me, social media becomes a fantasy world that separates me from reality. I can sit back and think I’ve achieved great things because a post received 10,000 likes, give myself proud pats on the back, and ignore the fact that nobody is listening to my music. I can get lost in so-called “connections” and forget to connect with the people at my show. On social media you only see my good side, or my mean side, or my smart-ass side. It’s not me. And you’re not you. I want something better in my relationship with my audience then that. I’m going to work hard to achieve it. 

Many of you will disagree with these reasons. I hope some of you do. I also hope that those who want to are happy with their social media lives. I really do mean that. We are not all wired the same. 

For those in the music industry who read this who disagree with my statements, I also welcome you to do so. I’m not the musician for you. If you want me to have tons of social media posts you can do the work. I’m not going to waste my time any longer with it. I have music to write and shows to play and people to love. So, best be movin’ on. 

As mentioned before, I have personal reasons for disengaging as well. Social media is not bad. It is good in many ways. But it is bad for me. And I care too much about my mental, spiritual, and physical health to engage with it at this time in my life. I don’t believe I owe any explanations for this, and yet, my desire to express myself to my fans has lead me to do so briefly. 

I look forward to seeing you at a show! Blessings. 

-brent

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