The music of social media

While glancing through Ragan’s PR Daily, a certain article caught my attention – ‘What social media managers and jazz musicians have in common’ by Zach Pearson.  I’m definitely not a jazz musician of any sorts, so I was anxious to discover what this common link is Pearson believes to exist and I have to say that I completely agree.


The analogy that Pearson makes is something that we should all consider:

Jazz musicians are “more interested in playing for 5 percent of the population who will understand the technical cleverness of their compositions than the massive audience that’s just looking for something that pleases them aesthetically” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).

Social media managers “design and implement social and content programs that are more about pleasing our pears than our audience” with “simple metrics that are easy to measure and look great on powerpoint slides…how to court influencers, which management platforms are the best and how to generate conversations” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).

Pearson’s argument is that we treat the audience that doesn’t actively engage in social media as if they’re doing it wrong.  The segment of the audience doesn’t engage on social media shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.  There’s no right way to use social media and there’s no right way to listen to music.  Often time organizations or businesses get too caught up with gaining new members or new customers, but what about the customers and members that already support you?  We can sometimes unintentionally ignore segments of our audience.  Should we pay more attention to Twitter users with 500+ followers or tweets on a regular basis?  According to the O’Reilly radar when you only include accounts that have tweeted in the past 30 days, that media users has 61 followers (Stadd, December 26, 2013).

“Step into the shoes of the audience” (Pearson, March 21, 2014).  The key is to put the audience first and to generate posts that would catch the attention of the audience that actively engages in social media as well as the audience that skims through their social media during commercials or waiting in line at the store.



Alisson, S. (2013, December 26). The median twitter user has 1 follower. All Twitter. Retrieved from

Zach, P. (2014, March 21). What social media managers and jazz musicians have in common. Ragan’s PR Daily. Retrieved from



One thought on “The music of social media

  1. As someone who comes from a musically background, I think that this article has so many great points! I have noticed both in music and in public relations that some people to tend to please other professionals and peers instead of connecting with the audience and then when there is no engagement blame the problem on the audience. I totally agree with the last statement of putting the audience first.

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