In episode 13 of the UK Drummer Podcast I talk with the one and only Kaz Rodriguez. In addition to a list of playing credits to his name that include Jesse Ware and Cirque Du Soleil, Kaz also composes drum play alongs that have been used by some of the worlds best drummers, including Aaron Spears, Chris Coleman and Tony Royster Jnr. To listen head to www.soundcloud.com/ukdrummerpodcast/episode-13-kaz-rodriguez
How much social media is too much? – January 2015.
The UK drummer website is officially five years old this year and to celebrate how rewarding having the site has been (excluding a couple attempts from others trying to hack it), I’ve decided to start writing a monthly blog. Maybe ‘blog’ isn’t the correct word I mean, are blogs really that relevant any more? I’m not sure…
Let’s rather (for now at least) think of this section of the site as more of a place for me to put down some of my thoughts, vent, encourage, summarise, advise, share and laugh. Some of the ideas might be complete rubbish but who knows, some might be revolutionary and maybe you (or someone else) might actually be able to take something from it and use it in a positive way.
This month I want to talk about social media and how social media-type sites have changed the way we live our everyday lives. Not just in the way that we are perceived by those who view our profiles, but who our real friends are and how successful we appear to be based on how many friends, likes or followers we have, what we are doing, what our pictures look like and where we are in the world.
It’s important that we try to understand that a lot of what we view on these sites is really smoke and mirrors and far too often not a true reflection of who we really are. After all, as administrators of our individual profiles, we control our own destiny since we have the final say as to what content and images we want those viewing our profiles to see. Therefore, it might not be very smart to form opinions on what we think we know about someone, based on this. So how much of what we see on these sites is a true reflection on real life (and worth our time), and how much of it isn’t?
For me personally social media can be extremely rewarding. It has helped me build the UK drummer website over the last five years and has allowed me to promote and secure various gigs and keep up to date with a lot of friend’s life events that I might otherwise have missed. I also have a lot of family in various parts of the world so it allows me to keep in touch and follow what they are up to. It can also be a great way to kill time while waiting around at gigs before it’s time to play. So there are numerous benefits to being on social media platforms but with so many out there and so many to maintain as an entertainer, when does social media become too much?
I’ve noticed as of late that sometimes the time I’ve put aside to check my notifications (which should only take a few minutes) can often turn into an hour or more of browsing time lines and feeds that really don’t have any importance in my life. Heck, I’d even go as far as saying that realistically, only about 30/40 percent of my social media friends are friends that I actually socialise with in real life. Then there’s the sometimes negative effect social media can have on my mind-set when it comes to my career…
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a performing musician who gigs and teaches in order to pay my bills. I often feel bombarded by the amount of videos, pictures and other nonsense that I’m tagged in on social media just because the images involve music. In addition, there have been occasions when I’ve logged into certain sites and become quite discouraged and negative towards my industry as I scroll through the timelines only to see what appears like every musician I know doing so much better than me. I often start to resent my own gigs and success by convincing myself that I’m not doing well enough and that I should be doing more, which is ridiculous because we shouldn’t measure our own worth based on how others are perceived, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a jealous person (I don’t think I ever have been but you would need to ask my wife), and I would say that generally I am happy for people when I see them doing so well. After all, most of them have worked incredibly hard and deserve the success that they achieve. All I’m saying is that too often it seems as though when one is on social media, it is very easy to become disillusioned and feel discouraged by news that has been hyped-up when you know in reality, it is quite different.
So for me personally I think that this is when social media becomes too much because anything that starts to make you think negatively about your own achievements is surely not a good thing? Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky I am. Career-wise I am busier than I’ve ever been and I feel quite honoured to say that I play (and have played) with some really high calibre musicians plus my private teaching practise couldn’t be at a higher capacity. On a personal level I have a family that love me, a roof over my head, and all the gear I could ever have dreamed about owning thanks to a paying gig schedule and some really wonderful companies that believe in what I do. All in all, I truly have a great life.
So in conclusion, should we judge an act or person based on web page numbers and likes or should we perhaps take a small step back and take the time to get to know ourselves and each other again?
I’ve made a conscious decision to start monitoring my time spent on social media. While I will of course still use it to promote my own career and stay in touch with friends, should the negative element starts to come through, I think I’ll rather use the time to start doing the things I want like live a real life or practise my music and stop worrying about internet trends and what others might think of me purely because of views or how viral I am. After all, I know what type of person I am and no amount of likes, dislikes, shares, comments, follows or un-follows is going to change that.
Be safe and practice hard.