by Keidra Chaney
I’m gonna put it out there right now: I live-tweet concerts and I’m not sorry. I don’t obsessively tweet every second, and I don’t do it at every show, but I don’t have any qualms with pulling out my phone (and at least in one instance, my iPad, and I do apologize for that) to share my excitement about a favorite song being played, or to capture a particularly interesting moment of a show.
Music fans and musicians are divided about live-Tweeting/Instagramming at concerts. On one end, you have the live music purists, who feel that the experience of enjoying live music is marred when one is preoccupied with documenting the show. (I’m looking at you, Geoff Tate) On the other hand, thanks to the stalwart social media junkies who have done this, some epic live music moments have been captured for posterity. (I’m looking at you, Dillinger Escape Plan fans, though every DEP show is epic in its own right.) It’s no different than the old-school fan bootleg concert recording scene, and with the same intention.
Some view the “documentarians” as missing the point of being at a live music event, and I understand this. But purists, please know that for some of us who are social media-connected music fans, this is an extension of our enthusiasm, not distracting from it. Many music fans are interested in sharing the highlights of the show because we want others to see and feel the excitement we’re enjoying. When done well it can be a wonderful peek into the magic of a live show. I had no desire to see Beyonce live until Trent Vanegas’ (of Pink is the New Blog) awesome real-time Instagram of the Mrs. Carter Show L.A. show. You can’t tell me he wasn’t living in the moment and having a great time, but he also managed to capture the excitement of the show.
So, I do feel that if you’re gonna live-tweet (Instagram, Vine, whatever a show, there’s a way to do it while still remaining in the bounds of good online and offline etiquette.
Here are my tips:
Don’t bother taking pictures/video if you’re not relatively close to the stage
You’re not doing your favorite band/artist any favors as a fan by uploading a picture of shadowy figures on a stage and the back of a bunch of people’s heads. If you are not close enough to capture the action on stage, please refrain and just watch the show.
Don’t upload video/audio with completely shitty sound
Likewise, you’re not selling anyone on your favorite band by uploading a video that sounds like a bunch of a cats fighting in a garbage can. I’ve done this, so I know. Sometimes, in the excitement of just saying “I was there” we can be tempted to share audio/video that doesn’t ever offer proof of this fact because it just sounds like static. Don’t be that guy.
Don’t just tweet out song titles, be descriptive
Sometimes all you’ll have time to do before you flip out during your favorite song is tweet “OMG SINGLE LADIES” I get that. You’re excited and you just wanna share, but try to back that up with some commentary of what’s going on, like “OMG Bey just drop-kicked a backup dancer during Single Ladies!” Give us an idea of what is going on stage. Paint a picture for us, or tell us something we wouldn’t be able see or hear. The only time tweeting nothing but a song title is acceptable is if the song in question hasn’t never been performed live before or hasn’t been performed in years. Then it’s NEWS, yo.
OMG PARTYMAN #princeconcert
Know when to put the phone away
Unless you’re at a show with mostly Luddites and/or baby boomers, few people will publicly berate you about snapping a shot or zipping off a tweet during a show. But don’t be that asshole that elbows people for a shot, or is all up in your phone during a particularly emotional, solemn, or otherwise meaningful moment on stage. Musicians these days are comfortable with people documenting the show but they mostly want you to enjoy the show, so do make fun your priority. Be respectful of non-tweeting fans, don’t make your tweeting so noticeable or frequent that they have to tell you to chill out.
Likewise, be aware of the artists that are not so social media friendly and be respectful of that as well. For example, the band CSS is so clued in with their social media-loving fans that a member asked fans to record and upload a marriage proposal to her partner. Most major music festivals these days have official Twitter/Instagram hashtags so that fans from all over can follow the fun even if they’re not attending. However, the aforementioned Geoff Tate of Queensryche was not so thrilled with a fan’s phone use during a show and responded rather harshly. And it’s understandable, there are those that make us all bad. So don’t flash all up in artists faces, don’t interrupt a show or otherwise act like a jerk.
However, don’t let judgy Luddites guilt you if you want to take a picture of the show or share on Twitter that Metallica is playing all of Kill ‘Em All under a fake name RIGHT NOW. Do what you want to do and tell them to step off.
Happy tweeting and enjoy the show.