i. Yesterday morning a co-worker walked in on me sitting at my office desktop, iPad in hand, scratching my head. “This is the nerdiest problem in the history of ever,” I told him. “My iPad to-do list and my web to-do list aren’t synching, and I can’t figure out how to make them work.”
Even your best digital to-do software can fail - particularly if, like me, you’re guilty of spending entire days not looking at it.
I take it as the opposite of concidence, then, that I read a great piece this evening on The 99 Percent on how analog habits can be more productive than digital ones - specifically with regards to to-do lists. To-do lists, it seems, can have a lot in common with study habits: the act of writing and re-writing these tasks imprints them in our brains in such a way that we become more eager to accomplish them.
(I have an entire series of tasks mapped out that lead up to larger goals in my Toodledo account. When I did it, I thought this was BRILLIANT. I have not competed a single task towards this goal.)
What I have started doing is taking a look at that digital list and writing the three most pressing items on it down on a notepad. Then I do those things. And one chunk at a time, digital moves to analog and things start getting done.
ii. It seems relatively impossible to me that we’d ever be able to actually track and quantify the sales correlations between artists + bands who talk to their fans on social networks, and those who don’t. Naturally, this is a bit sad for us all, because we’re all convinced that this connection is a part of what’s going to bring the music industry into a newer and brighter stage. Let’s be honest: if you’re not even a little excited when your favorite artist communicates directly back to you, you probably have bigger issues.
At the same time, I worry that the digital connection here, too, isn’t translating to the analog one. I don’t have real concrete evidence to this point, but in the past year I’ve seen multiple articles about how creativity is being compromised by social networking; the need to update and post more content is taking away from ideas. I reserve the right to someday change my mind on this, but it’s hard for me to see this now as not being lazy in some way. Through this technology, there’s now a world of new ideas and thoughts from other people out there, and you can connect to them all instantly. You can ask people what they think. You can let them be a part of your art.
But if we do socialize via The Twitter, does that make artists more or less likely to reach out to fans at shows? (Is there a correlation?) As a consumer, would I be more likely to buy a band’s album if I got a personal look into their lives than not? I want to have the answer to this question, but I don’t always.
What I do know is that there are a few defining moments of my youth in music that stay with me. My early twenties were spent learning the industry while still attending as many shows as humanly possible, and it was the bands I road-tripped to see and the ones I saw a million times that stuck in my heart. Not always because their music was important (it was!), but because you could walk into the Knitting Factory before a Wrens show, find Kevin, and get him to put your ticketless friend on the list for their show. (And then he’d play “I’d Made Enough Friends” because you asked for it.) You could go to some other band’s show and when you accidentally threw yourself in the opening band’s mosh pit because it looked like fun, the guy who pulled you out and back on your feet and hi-fived you was Ted Leo. And when you went to see a lesser-known band that you REALLY loved and they saw you knew all their songs, you suddenly ended up being best pals.
At the end of the day, whether they have a social media strategy or not, I hope new bands are still like this. When I’m old and senile, it’s not gonna be the tweets I remember.