Don’t underestimate Twitter’s networking power… even amidst the chaos.
I wrote recently about arts journalists and what Twitter has made possible for them. That post also addressed quite a few other issues around the Land of the Blue Bird, and enough intriguing discussion h, redas come out of that post that I’d like to address one more aspect of Land of the Blue Birdie: what Twitter can still offer to the performers who choose to stick around. This is no apologist’s diatribe, but a realistic suggestion that watching these platforms carefully has its merits. Consider, and then choose what works for you.
I draw your attention to the power of tweet-driven networking. If you can keep your wits about you and the politics out of it, Twitter can be a useful tool for professional development and forging strong connections to colleagues near and far. There’s still a lot to be gleaned, if this fits for you. Focusing your own efforts and who you follow on the artistic work, you can interact with creators and influencers in a different way on this platform. You can be their breath of fresh air, and you just never know who you’ll bump into in the comments.
The most active tweeters in our realm tend to be composers, journalists, orgs and top-level performers, and there is much to learn from those posts. It’s also a chance to connect and dialogue with people you may have no other access to, particularly in the growing wave of microinfluencers within specific fields. They can teach you things, and you may have plenty to teach on your own. This is no pipe dream of “I commented on Dudamel’s Twitter, and now I just know he’s going to hire me.” Rather, if you’re consistent with your interactions and provide perspective that is genuinely useful, people will take notice, and you can sometimes even develop friendships — like the pen pals of bygone eras, but with instant delivery. Wouldn’t it be nice to be recognized “that performer I follow” at your next audition or job interview?
This is not a career strategy in and of itself, but it can make a difference in the long term, if you’re smart about it and can mind your Ps and Qs. Moreover, dealing with the conversational styles on Twitter can teach much about keeping a cool head, expressing yourself clearly, and developing a thick skin as you go about your business. Rise above the free-for-all, and be someone that fellow pros still want to connect with. It’s one more point of contact, and even this can make a difference.