Your space or mine?

Steve Lawson’s mum is on Twitter and she loves it.

“I showed her my Twitter page. I showed her people we knew who were already on Twitter. I said you can now see what I’m up to and make funny comments about it and I’ll know what you’re up to. She said that’s fantastic, what a great little tool!'”

Steve’s a musician based in London; his mum is retired and lives in a tiny village in Scotland, so social media is a great way to keep in touch.

“She gets it because she curates the space. It’s not branded. She decides who she wants to follow. She can block people. She feels in control. One of the reasons she got into it was that I didn’t use the language of social media to explain it to her: I used the language of conversation and of letter writing.”

Steve’s a true social media champion. His blog gives regular updates on his very “2.0” approach to doing business:

“My entire career has been created online. I had a hunch early on that record labels weren’t the way to go. I set up my first website in 1997/8 and put out my first record beginning of 2000. I put a load of my first gig up online, and there were people who wanted to buy my CDs. The process of my ‘art’ happening in dialogue with my audience was already there.”

Steve joined MySpace in 2004 and now has 949 friends there, compared to 2,097 followers on Twitter, so it’s not hard to guess which network he prefers.

As Steve points out, MySpace is alienating to anyone over 30:

“They’ve used this pop culture language. People who are 50 look at it and think ‘Why the f*** would I want to be on MySpace? What a complete waste of time’! When they log onto the MySpace front page and see Lily Allen or Eminem and they’re barely literate, they think ‘Why do I want to be part of all that?’…[The message is] ‘It’s our space, and you’re invited to be in it, on our terms’.

All this wouldn’t be so bad if MySpace wasn’t one of social media’s flagbearers.

So, for anyone needing reassurance about taking the online networking plunge, apart from getting stuck into Twitter, what else does Steve recommend?

He’s a great fan of [fellow musician] Pat Kane’s book, The Play Ethic:

“I really like Pat Kane’s take on all this. He says: “It’s a big playground, a space to mess around in, not everything’s of massive significance. There are all these people who feel they need to ‘get’ it or they’re a failure but when you frame it as just a conversation removed from the limitations of proximity…just like walking into a bar…that makes it all seem much more accessible.”

3 replies on “Your space or mine?”

thanks for this, Jemima – talking to you about this stuff was fascinating!

The Myspace thing runs even deeper than that – I had 8500 myspace friends, but was seeing no benefit from it whatsoever. They weren’t writing to me, commenting, listening or anything… it was just a nonsense numbers game. So I deleted everyone that I didn’t recognise from their avatar… what it meant was that I a) had a myspace story to tell (which I hadn’t for a long time), and b) deleted a load of people who still wanted to be friends, so they sent me messages, I readded them, and had a nice chat :)

But yes, I get WAY more value out of twitter in every imaginable way than I do out of myspace. x

Thanks for explaining that Steve – I was kind of surprised to see you had so *few* MySpace friends, considering the time you’d been on there, but now you’ve given the back-story, it all makes complete sense.

Being forced to delete “friends”, though – it sounds kind of tragic, doesn’t it?

It’s the problem of the friends thing on there being reciprocal-only – the ‘value’ of friend collecting becomes one that it’s hard to opt-out of without implying a load of odd criteria to your acceptance requirements that are way too convoluted for a poorly designed music promo page!

Myspace offers so little control over things like that – a massive step forward would be the option to only accept friend requests from people who also attach a message (there’s a box for a message on there whenever someone adds you as a friend) – that would at least instigate some kind of interaction from the start!

But a list of ‘what’s wrong with Myspace’ could go on a very long time :) Sx

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