Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Will tweet for jazz

Jazz fans, Howard Mandel is asking us to tweet. Specifically, he proposes an "online, viral see what kind of numbers of jazz fans will tweet that they've heard live jazz." This is, of course, in direct response to the NEA's 2008 survey on arts participation, which concludes (in part) that the audience for jazz is shrinking and aging, and to Terry Teachout's recent article in the Wall Street Journal, which predicts a bleak, depressing future for jazz, a sort of Mad Max but without motorcycles or Mel Gibson.

Hey, I'll tweet for jazz. If you already know your way around Twitter, so should you. If you don't, it's easy-breezy and kind of fun. Open an account (it's free), search for people/organizations who share your interests (like, for example, jazz clubs, jazz presenters, jazz artists, jazz writers, and arts organizations), then follow them and their followers. Follow lots and lots of people; in the beginning, it's all about numbers. Then tweet something interesting--no "I'm in line at Starbucks" or "I just bought broccoli" banalities. People you follow will generally follow you back. In time, you can sort through them and toss the ones whose tweets you don't want to read. (Believe me, you will know who they are.) Meanwhile, keep tweeting. And when you hear live jazz, be sure to tweet about that.

Mandel asks:

1) If you're at a big jazz event (Charlie Parker Fest, Tanglewood, Chicago, Detroit, Aspen, LA, Vail, Philly, Chapel Hil, Monterey, Beantown), tweet from there.

2) Tweet about stand-alone concerts and gigs you're at, live-jazz broadcasts you hear on the radio or online, live jazz you hear on the street or at parties. Tweet whenever, from wherever you hear live jazz. Include who you're hearing/heard and where (venue, locale). Just don't tweet from Orchestra Hall.

3) Include #jazzlives in each tweet. (It's called a "hashtag.") Examples:

I heard Vanguard Orch at Tanglewood, super! #jazzlives

I heard Hank Jones solo at Detroit JF, mighty fine #jazzlives

4) If you want, include links to your own blog or website. Like this:

I heard Eubanks 5 be great at Blue Note NYC, full revu at #jazzlives

5) Don't use #jazzlives to publicize upcoming events or comment on recordings you're listening to, but to report on LIVE jazz you've actually heard recently or are hearing right now.

Check out the "JAZZ LIVES" widget on Mandel's website. It's fascinating to watch the tweets roll by.

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