jasonphoenix Jason Phoenix: A Social Sabbatical (And Why I'm Returning From the Mountain)

6.23.2011

A Social Sabbatical (And Why I'm Returning From the Mountain)

Some time ago, I basically abandoned my MySpace.  I had achieved some 21,000 views without gaming their system--and at one point in time, I was the Top Artist for Kansas in all three of my genre categories.  And at one point, my MySpace was the highest ranked "J. Phoenix" on Google search, something I was very proud of accomplishing.

This all changed overnight.  There's another J. Phoenix (actually several, of course), and when he released a self-titled album and set up a bunch of social media accounts, he wiped me off the Google results for J. Phoenix.  Which meant I was in 2nd place, until Joaquim Phoenix became a rapper.  This caused a complete downward spiral in my search results.  I asked myself what's in a name, and I began the process of switching my artistic/professional name to Jason Phoenix, but by this point I was late to the party, and lost the opportunity for /jasonphoenix in a lot of important places, like YouTube.

At the same time, I was reevaluating my ability to produce, having suffered serious technical difficulties.  At my height of MySpace fame & fortune, I was unable to record anything, and was lucky to create a good 12 bar loop of a single instrument in Reason, and luckier still to manage transferring the file to my sampler.  Then my sampler's Zip disk died, around the same time that Squarepusher's Hello Everything came out and really made me want to record.  I felt suddenly like a poseur, talking about production with others, but not actually creating.

So, I took some time to (get a job and to) contemplate the Internet and where it was headed.  I didn't sign up for Facebook when it went public.  I didn't participate in the great land rush for FB vanity urls.  Twitter interested me, but more often for when a geek would do something like connect a baby monitor to a Twitter feed and broadcast it to himself.  I'm still sorting how you work anything but Burma Shave slogans out so few characters, but I admit to having diarrhea of the word processor once I get rolling.

I'd already been charting what I felt was the direction music (as in recording artists/labels/media) was heading into, but social media/social networking as a whole was something I decided to evaluate from the outside.  So I basically took a break from social media as I'd been involved in it, and I began watching from the fringes as friends got on Facebook, Twitter, and etc., destroying broad swaths of forums in their wake.
Granted, I lost even more ground and potential Internet signposts/associations while I passively observed the online world's evolution.  But at the same time, I did manage to side-step a lot of early adopter issues and related struggles with social media.

I watched as my fellow musicians & peers opted for a social media based ecosystem, rather than a static website.  If anything, the shift was into the website being a collection point for social media.  This was quite refreshing in the beginning--given the ubiquitous flashy Adobe Flash based intro, autoplay lo-bit streaming album, stock bio & pictures, and Under Construction websites so many artists' labels had generated.  

Looking around now, it seems like everything is built in WordPress, meant to aggregate the 12 outposts any band/musician can piecemeal together from whatever keywords are left.  I can now safely predict that in the future, bands will name themselves after complex hashtags that are impossible to pronounce and only best realized through the bar codes they print on their fliers.

The most interesting twist I charted was that although websites like iLike, Reverbnation, SoundCloud, and BandCamp popped up, serving musicians in better and better ways than ever before, users and musicians alike began really expanding inside YouTube, and that took over as the first stop shop for where to listen to something on demand.  I believe this remains true.
 
My final decisions on the matter of how to manage my online persona would have taken a lot less time had I simply stopped when I had the resources to create again.  The glitch was that by then I'd discovered the world of Random Chat, first via Cheer Up The Chatbot, then Omegle.  Chatroulette took the idear into a completely different realm, but I digress.  My obsession with poking and prodding Omegle definitely took precedence.

But my observation about aggregation has proven true.  Even Google, one of the most nebulous and well funded companies existing utilizes platform aggregation, with multiple lines of contact going out (admittedly their own more often than not).  I've grown to dislike how often a WordPress site looks "stock", but at the same time I've seen some very clever variations and implementations.  I feel like things are getting steadily better and not worse overall.

And so, in early 2011, I began the process of setting up my own little outposts everywhere I could.  This is the blog/words/long form something or other portion.  There's a Twitter, and a Facebook, a SoundCloud, and a YouTube.  There's a little bit of Jason Phoenix all over the place out there.   I took a break to work on another music project, but what I learned from that just reinforced my belief that I'm on the right track with this.

So, I'm back.  I expect to post more blogs, tweet more twits, add everyone on Facebook, and even revisit my MySpace.  In the meantime, we'll see how this blog post goes and work from there.