Navigating the 'Twitterverse:' The Good, the Bad and the Followed
By Andy Argyrakis, senior editor, gmclife.com
With the invention of social networking, in particular the moment by moment updates (also known as “tweets,”) promotion of and chit chat about the entertainment world will never be the same. Artists of any stylistic association can create an instantly personal relationship with fans, filling them in on everything from what a particular musician had for lunch to where they’ll be performing on any given evening.
On the flip side, artists can sometimes find themselves going down a slippery slope if they post an off-the-cuff comment that comes across a little too flippant. Or they could decide to quit altogether out of concern for their personal privacy. Here’s a look at ten acts of varying levels of fame making a splash on Twitter, whether that be for beneficial purposes, or in the case of a few, a place to put their virtual foot-in-mouth. It’s by no means the definitive guide, but should nonetheless steer music lovers towards some fun (and sometimes downright funny) resources regarding their favorite entertainers.
1. Provident Press (various artists) @ProvidentPress
In Christian music circles, the most obvious award for ingenious Twitter usage goes to our pals at Provident Music Group, who’ve set up a system to keep fans and industry execs alike updated on its entire roster. A recent sampling of posts includes a Jars of Clay (@jarsofclay) feature link from The Tennessean, airdates on Fox for a new Michael W. Smith (@michaelwsmith) music video, and an alert to catch Third Day (@thirdday) score some soundtrack time during an Alabama vs. Penn State football blowout.
2. Kanye West @kanyewest
Between his insulting appearance during last year’s MTV Video Music Awards and a canceled tour in the aftermath, Kanye West’s had a rough go lately. Though the “Jesus Walks” rapper is attempting to show his remorse for any grievances towards Taylor Swift, he’s also created quite a storm by making polarizing comments that he figuratively “bled hard” over the incident. While that statement may be true, it probably won’t endear him to those who originally took offense (nor would several other recent off-the-cuff ramblings).
3. Switchfoot @switchfoot
Even though Switchfoot’s latest CD Hello Hurricane released last year, there’s still plenty going on within the group’s circles. For instance, fans who showed up at the enormous Austin City Limits festival to see the guys were given advance notice that they’d be signing autographs in the merch tent before the show and again afterward at the nearby record store Waterloo. Even cooler was a chance to win some highly coveted backstage passes for additional autographs and face time.
4. Lady Gaga @ladygaga
This generation’s Madonna could very well be the queen of tweeting, if only for the fact that she’s always up to (or wearing) something over the top. Catch her musing about major events like sharing the stage with the legendary Yoko Ono in L.A., to simply fueling up the tour bus in Milwaukee (which she deemed “the Gas Station Disco”), along with an endless array of other interesting tidbits.
5. Skillet @skilletmusic
Running right alongside Switchfoot in terms of mainstream crossover status is Skillet, who jumped from a tour supporting Creed to co-headlining with Papa Roach. The group’s known to give away tickets to all of the above on occasion, announce special sales (like $6.99 for their Awake album at Best Buy) and posting live pictures from the band’s massive pyro-enhanced productions.
6. John Mayer (inactive)
Though he was practically addicted to posting throughout much of his career thus far, John Mayer abruptly shut down his account after 2010’s tour, supposedly in the name of returning to the studio. The decision may not do much in the way of promotion for the album-to-be, though it was quite possibly the result of a desire to downplay an overactive love life that results in tabloid trouble.
7. After Edmund @AfterEdmund
The textbook example of a burgeoning band using Twitter to cultivate a fan base goes to GRAMMY nominees After Edmund, who without the help of a major label, still maintain an intimate relationship with core followers. Though not as glamorous as say, Lady Gaga, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud anecdotes, from spending half an hour backing their van and trailer around a tricky corner, to random questions of the day, to comments on wardrobe following a Michael Jackson DVD viewing.
8. Blake Shelton @blakeshelton
Country music lovers know this wholesome star is always posting an update from home or the road, but one of his greatest career accomplishments just so happens to come via that same format. At the post flood comeback concert for the Grand Ole Opry, the singer was told on stage to check his page because @opry posted the life-changing message “@blakeshelton, you’re invited to join the Grand Ole Opry,” backed by a magnitude of cheers from fans who read the message on a big screen.
9. TobyMac @therealtobymac
He may have started his career as a rapper-turned-alternative-rocker in dcTalk, but the always fashionable TobyMac’s had no trouble keeping up with the times. Aside from typical music-related chatter (like the chance to volunteer on his current “Make a Difference” tour), fans are given a behind-the-scenes glance at his life, such as his affinity for motorcycles, pick-up basketball games and sightseeing, to name a few.
10. Miley Cyrus (inactive)
The ‘tween’ star turned pop diva in the making, Miley Cyrus sent the whole online community into a tizzy late last year when closing her page just like fellow spotlight-stealer John Mayer. Despite letting down nearly two million followers, she insisted it was merely to increase her privacy, which, considering she’s the most recognized 17-year-old on Earth, is certainly understandable.
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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