If this might seem like one of those posts where “I’m angry at the world and I’m taking it out on artists”, then I’d suggest you continue reading because I might surprise you. Sure, I might not have 1000’s of followers on my Twitter account or I don’t have my tweets retweeted or faved regularly, but it does not mean that I will discount the ones that do. If you can catch mad retweets from one word tweets – good for you!
But the fact that you have some significant social standing on Twitter doesn’t mean that it can be translated to something viable outside of it.
Exhibit A: Your fav artists. I would also talk about influencers, but that’s a piece for another time.
You could Google/Yahoo/Bing search: “Who has the most followers on Twitter” and the answer might be a bit obvious. The top 10 will probably have a Twitter reach of the tens & hundreds on millions and their claim to fame usually involves singing lyrics that they didn’t write on instrumentals that they didn’t produce and they get all kinds of considerations. Seems easy, right? Well, not if you’re not in the top 10.
I’ve noticed that for some people, Twitter is a turtle-and-rabbit-race where the ones with the most followers win. And as of the rest — well, they don’t exist as they don’t reach some follower requirement like “You must have 5000 followers to talk to me”. Seems self-conceited but that how it works in these streets. It’s either you’re funny, good-looking or well-known. Nothing else can help you.
The dark side of Twitter
Now, nobody said that having many followers = winning in life. For all you know, your “fan base” probably don’t care about what you have to say. They could just be waiting for you to slip up and will take advantage of it. You think those people want to know the details of your next single/EP/mixtape/album? Probably not, they might want to provoke you to the point that you get your feelings hurt and make you 1) block them or 2) deactivate your Twitter account. It’s like a badge of honour to the clout chasing Twitter user.
Another thing to look at is that some people are considered to be a follower when it suits them. If an artist attacks trolls, tweet sideways or engages with the topics of the timeline, the followers make noise. Now, if they tweet something that involves their career, the followers are silent. You could have 400 000 followers on Twitter, but you won’t even sell 100 000 copies. Why? Because you have our time, BUT you can’t have our money as well. Pick one or pick none!
Furthermore, Twitter users tend to have a habit of liking content in a ironic manner i.e. trolling by giving fake support for laughs and RT’s. Once the creator of said content catches the necessary requirements to level up and secure the bag, the same Twitter users will be showing symptoms of hate poisoning. The same people who put them on try to take them down, most of them fail but they have introduced some sub-par artists into the game. .
There is a classic delusion of grandeur that it doesn’t matter how you funny your tweets are, how responsive you are to your followers, your Instagram lifestyle pictures or having a group of obsessively passionate “superfans” a.k.a Stans. The matter of the fact is Twitter is an alternative reality. Twitter is supposed to be a leveler, it is all fun and games. The moment you start to get a superiority complex…YOU. WILL. BE. DESTROYED.
The moment you remind people that you don’t have to work a day in your life to get success is the moment that people will find another reason to hate you. You’ve been told your whole life to stay humble, but once you strike it lucky and become part of a privileged few and it becomes easier to be arrogant. Granted, they might not know what you put in to get this far, but we’re talking about human beings. Logic is not a focus point, especially when emotions are involved. So, if I had some advice for artists, it would be this:
Use Twitter to your advantage but DON’T let its users sell you dreams. It’s one way to get your art out there, but it’s not the only way…