There's a PBS special called Marketing Cool that explains how businesses and retailers tell consumers what's cool, then have them buy it. It's all about the "Cool Factor." Twitter is all about that same cool factor. But it's only effective if it's used wisely.
Take an artist like Chamillionaire, for instance: He uses his twitter account to discuss tech trends, sports, news headlines and his music. All of these things attract new fans, from those searching trending topics, people that may not have been checking for him or his music. That's social networking at its best. Chamillionaire also keep's his tweets down to minimum. You'll never see him endlessly self promoting and filling up followers' timelines. It still blows my mind that every rapper on Twitter doesn't follow Chamillionaire.
While it's tempting to knock Jean Grae for complaining and fighting with fans on Twitter, you can't really hate on her for using Twitter in the manner for which it was created. "We came across the word 'twitter,' and it was just perfect," says Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter. "The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds.' And that's exactly what the product was."
As we've witnessed, Twitter has been used most effectively during different types of high profile events, from the Death of Michael Jackson to the unrest in Cairo to the earthquake in Haiti, or even during sporting events or festivals like SXSW. It gets used for many different reasons by many different types of people, businesses and organizations.
When there are no news headlines, though, Twitter becomes a home for shameless self-promotion, a whole lot of spam, boring daily details and lots of complainers. Any artist out there shouldn't be complaining on Twitter. They should busy creating new work. If they are spending a lot of time on Twitter, hopefully they're being smart and using it as the marketing tool that we've made it, instead of spending time correcting people and their tweets, or stirring up Twitter beefs.
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Twitter is just one of the many social networking sites out there. It's one of the many tools artist use these days. If artists are not posting something we all need to know about their music, then they (and their terrible grammar) are wasting our "timelines."