Getting Heard: Making Noise in a Digital World
This is part two of the #GettingHeard series
The first was posted here: Getting Heard: What it means in a Modern Digital World
Classical Music Critics used to (and to some extend still do) speak through newspapers. Alex Ross (NY Times), Anne Midgette (The Washington Post), Kyle MacMillan (Denver Post) and Mark Swed(Los Angeles Times) are just a few of the really big names across the US that publish classical music news and reviews in their regional newspapers. Newspapers used to be the only way to get heard. 50 years ago it was the primary way people got their daily updates. If you wanted to publicize your classical music event, you posted an article or a full color spread in the local paper (Orchestra's still do this, but it's not the only way they are getting the word out now). TV attempted to challenge the power of the printed press, but it never really captured the readership that newspapers held --in terms of news, particularly classical music news. Newspapers ruled the media world... until the internet.
With the advent of the internet came newsreaders and blogs. Many newspapers (these critics included) started posting their opinions in the cyberworld to gain a much larger audience --a global readership. They were joined by others around the world like Greg Sandow (East Coast US), Jessica Duchen (London England) & OperaChic (Milan Italy). Some of the newspaper critics joined in the blogsphere with their own, in addition to their newspaper articles. With newsreaders, internet access to news sources and the ease with which people could choose their own methods of delivery and sort content, the internet has taken over where the majority of people get their news - and therefore the primary place for people talking about classical music use to get heard.
Classical music organizations realized they needed to have a presence on the internet. So, they created their own web pages, announcing upcoming concerts and detailed bios on their performers. Facebook came along and many organizations jumped on that bandwagon too. As of this year, Facebook is the primary source people go to to get their daily updates. Classical music organizations started having Facebook pages too. While all these pages are good, they are only relevant and visible to the average user is there is some noise being generated about them, and so we return to the critics.
Alex Ross, "The Rest is Noise" is one of the highest ranked classical music blogs on the internet. The idea of ranking introduces another aspect to all this "noise" about classical music. Blogs and websites are ranked based on algorithms determining readership, links to the site, return visits and a host of other criteria which give the site a number hoping somehow to relate it to how effective it is as getting heard out on the internet. I feel fortunate the blog you're reading now is among the top 25 classical music blogs on the internet. It rather ranks me with the big names I've already mentioned (and in terms of classical music, these names make a lot of noise - they are getting heard).
Now there's a new tool to be utilized: Twitter, and a new way of ranking: Klout. Not only are average everyday users getting more and more of their "daily" content from twitter, but bloggers, like myself are finding it yet another way to get heard among all the traffic on the internet. The Klout score is the way one's Twitter and Facebook presence is ranked in terms of how effective you are in getting your message to your audience.
As of June 28th, my own Klout score is 43. How does that rank among some of the other's I've mentioned?
Alex Ross has a score of: 59
Jessica Duchen has a score of: 55
Anne Midgette has a score of: 49
OperaChic has a score of: 45
Greg Sandow has a score of: 43
Compare that to some classical music organizations
NY Philharmonic has a score of: 57
LA Philharmonic has a score of: 56
Dallas Symphony has a score of: 56
San Francisco Symphony has a score of: 54
Chicago Symphony has a score of: 48
What does all this really say? Well, some of the classical music organizations are as good at getting their name heard as the critics are at talking about what's going on - at least in terms of Twitter and Facebook. The top three critics I listed are among the top 10 ranked classical music blogs, so that is a factor too. Still, on the whole, the classical music world is doing a fairly good job about getting the word out.
What surprises me? How many critics, performers and composers aren't utilizing the internet effectively. I don't want to mention names, as this a "post of shame" - but there are some notable critics who don't have blogs. They publish to newspapers and are highly respected in their field, but, other than the newspapers online presence, these critics don't exist on the internet. Some that have blogs aren't using Twitter. Ok, it's only been around for a short period of time, but it is having a huge impact on how the younger generation gets their news, stays informed. If you want to get heard you really need to be using the latest tools. Chances are there will be something else in a year, and yet another way of ranking its effectiveness. Until then, at least use the tools available.
Note 1: Every critic or artist mentioned in this post is someone I follow with some regularity. They wouldn't have been mentioned if they weren't worth listening to. I just hope they're listening to me - because they all deserve to Get Heard! If you're not reading what they have to say, take a moment and follow the above links. It's worth your time.
Note 2: If your name or organization is NOT here and you think it should be, comment, post a link to your blog/online presence and let me know what your Klout score is. If you're getting the word out about Classical Music, I'd like to know about you and hear what you have to say.
Note 3: If your name or organization is NOT here and you checked your online presence to find it lacking (i.e., your klout score isn't above 30), send me an email. I'd like to help.
Note 4: This post is just scratching the surface in terms of Getting Heard!