Departing from my typical inane silliness, let’s cut to the chase… What did I learn from Week #5?
This week’s assignment was to jump into the world of blogs, find some that you want to read, make comments, all in the pursuit of establishing a web-presence beyond having just a website and a Facebook profile. Blog surfing is kind of like Facebook, except that you don’t know these people. You’re searching based on subjects of interest instead of people’s names, but ultimately you want to put your two cents in by making comments, just like you do when you write on someone’s wall.
All of this bloggering around expands your personal network. Bloggers that you especially enjoy can be people you friend on Facebook or Myspace or follow on Twitter. Then you show up in their feed and they figure out that you are interesting and you make music. Cool stuff, eh?
The biggest challenge for me was where to begin. Where was the magic portal that would open up for me stuff I really wanted to read and establish a presence?
That was a tough one for me. I am still trying to come up with a good description for my music, and my particular niche style is evolving. Do I search with terms like “instrumental music”, “chillout”, “post-rock”, “relaxation music”?
I goofed around some on Hype Machine and didn’t have much luck. Then I remembered looking up Sigur Rós on Wikipedia a while back when I was trying to find genre labels, discovered their style is considered post-rock, and found a playlist of other post-rock bands on Yahoo Music. So I decided to go back to Yahoo Music and search their blogs.
I’m not sure how I got there, but I found a music blog called “Aurgasm” (yeah, I know, a bit over the top), and it showcases all sorts of new experimental music. I found some artists that I enjoyed and started making comments. And I took advantage of the blogroll to find other blogs that may be in the same vein. And from there I discovered other artists.
I felt like Alice. One discovery led to another and I found an amazing world of new music, new music radio sites, and new music podcasts.
I also worked the “creativity” and “artists way” angle and found a few blogs to visit.
Here are a few things I learned about tools and resources. At first I didn’t like Google Reader. It first appeared cluttered and confusing. But then I minimized all the stuff in the left-hand column so it only showed subscriptions. This made it easier for this ADD brain to process. Once I got comfy with it and placed its little bookmarklet on my browsers bookmark bar, I was off like a competitive equestrian.
Google Reader is to blogging as Twitter is to tweeters. Very handy, indeed! I’m going to try Google Reader as my home page for a while. And it just occurred to me that I can subscribe to all of my cohort’s MSNi9W blogs. I’ll go do that right now.
I also have fallen in like with Delicious. Since some of the sites I found aren’t really blogs, but rather playlists, it helps to put links to them in one convenient place. That way I have something to chill with while I’m doing all this music business stuff. And Delicious is great for quickly getting to all of my sites and tools I have to manage. (Did you read my last blog post?)
As far as embeddable music players go, I really like the look of SoundCloud. This requires putting some stuff up on their site, so guess I might as well put things on my Bandcamp site instead. Plus, I get those cool visualizations. And, one less site to manage.
Upon further inspection, I discovered that SoundCloud is more than just a place to hang tracks with a groovy player, but is its own blogospheric music publishing and subscribing platform, almost like a Google Reader for music clips. What’s muy cool is that you can place a comment at a specific spot in someone’s track–great for giving a shout out for a magic moment. So, yeah, I just signed up and plan to put a few of my side project tracks up there, just for kicks. For sure check it out.
Final word on blogging: I realize this is only the beginning. This has to be a daily habit. Just take an hour a day, peruse the googly reader thingy, comment here and there. Visit a blogger’s blog site directly from time to time just to see if there are some new interesting links mentioned in their blogroll.
That’s about it for this installment. Mostly matter of fact, but I am still a week behind in this process so I need to move on…