Sunday, 28 June 2015

Back from Hiatus (Part Two): The Power of Social

So, taking this from where I left off on my last post, I found myself sat in the back of a taxi, having finished the Heavier Than Heaven biography on the way back from a recent meeting in London. The sun was shining, I felt a little melancholy (actually I felt completely depressed by the last few chapters, but that was tempered slightly by the prospect of arriving back home) and my mind wandered back to the early 90’s and then to the differences in following artists then and now. Back then, you had a small selection of music magazines, most of which were relatively mainstream, with the exception of Kerrang (which itself was still a rock and metal publication at that time) and if you were fortunate to have Satellite/MTV then you’d get access to a few videos plus Headbangers Ball (which would need to be recorded on VHS late at night). Other than that it was fanzines, gigs and word of mouth. Now it’s easy – doesn’t matter how obscure the band, you’ll get information on forums, social media and probably snippets on YouTube. Moreover, audio will be available through file sharing, online mail order, Amazon and a million other avenues. Easy peasy. In one sense it means we’re all more connected, yet in another we’re more distant. I feel I have access to anything I want right now, but equally unless you are into the latest trends then you’ll never feel a part of whatever movement is going on. In the case of music that’s because the last decent trend fizzled out in 1994 when Kurt Cobain died, several other grunge bands broke up or fell victim to drugs and the remainder either sold out or became crap. Nu Metal almost instantly became crap after a couple of promising albums and since then there have been no new genres that can genuinely point to being original. That’s isn’t to say there hasn’t been great music – far from it – it’s just that the internet has transformed consumption of music to something akin to a lunch menu vs a sequential movement. It’s probably better that way, but ultimately something has been lost in the process...

I digress. The point is that things change and the world is a different place. I like to rediscover the past in all forms, but it can become a morose activity at times. Anyway, the point I was leading to was that my reading of those books and the opening up of those memories got me thinking about lost contacts – people I’ve forgotten about, things that stopped happening, that sort of thing. And how that probably wouldn’t have happened had social media been around twenty years ago because those ties would have retained at least a digital fingerprint – a traceable link ready to be resurfaced at a convenient time. Of course, the gap cannot be plugged – once things are lost and you only have limited recollection (or no recollection) of them, that’s that. Which got me thinking – I wonder exactly HOW powerful social media is? I wonder if it really could be put to the test for a particular challenge that I have in mind...?

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