Twitter has been (rightfully, in many cases) maligned as a distraction, but at times the “microblog” can keep us connected in smaller bits of time, not larger. People read while something is rendering, when they feel a bit lonely or distracted to begin with (a bit like taking work to a virtual coffee shop), while they’re in line at the grocery looking at their phone. And for the bedroom- and studio-based music maker, Twitter reveals something of what the future might be like. Twitter itself can sometimes prove too unstructured to be useful, but that one service aside, it demonstrates that we can find ways of being connected to other music makers in new ways – ways that have probably only just begun to evolve.

Yesterday I looked at why I thought Imogen Heap was doing Twitter right – both as a model to follow, and a chance to see her as an artist in a different light. But I also hoped to hear who readers here might be following. In the informal tradition of “Follow Friday,” here’s a look at a few of those people.

Side note: I’ve actually gotten a whole lot of useful stuff from Twitter – it’s allowed me to keep connected to people I might otherwise lose touch with, and I’ve gotten great news leads and project stories out of it as a writer. I’ve gotten more technical help than musical – but that’s also helped me fix the technical stuff with servers and the like so I can get on with music and visuals. I have a mile-long list of complaints about how I think this sort of thing could work better, but – well, I’ve been online since the days when I had a 1200-baud modem. There’s always hope for change. Oh, and TweetDeck is the best client for processing information productively; I’m just waiting for multi-account support.

Reader Tips for this Week

The first two here also tour with Imogen Heap, but are great musicians themselves (with terrific accompanying solo careers). The last two take us another direction, thanks to one of CDM’s Twitter followers.

Zoe Keating, suggested by Tim/newmusicmonday in comments
Bio: “cello, computers, pancakes.” (great line)
Sample tweet: “mix, tweak, mix, listen, rest, mix, tweak, mix, re-record, listen, rest, go to post office, mix, mix, mix.”
Website |

Levi Weaver, also suggested by Tim
Bio: I’m always doing at least 3 things Ed.: hint – one of those is making great music
Sample tweet: “Just avoided RyanAir baggage fees the same way I used to try to make spankings not hurt as a child: Books down the back of my pants.”
Website |

Todd Reynolds, the superstar violinist
Bio: Digital Violinist and Global Music Citizen and Advocate. Teacher.
Sample tweet: “If there is one thing that I learn over and over again in music, it’s that simplicity, when embraced, opens a straight shot to the core.”
MySpace |

Steve Lawson, suggested by @MKS21471
Bio: “Bass 2.0 – musician, webbist, uni lecturer on music and technology, bass teacher, music journo… one of life’s enthusiasts. :o) ”
Sample tweet: “WordPress nerds, what CHMOD settings do I need to have files uploadable to the server etc. but still be secure?” (hey, I told you this is part of what Twitter is useful for)
Website |

Steve’s blog, by the way, is full of tips on social media (still hate the term, but the idea is good).

Regular Information Sources

Other active Twitter feeds I follow:
@stretta – of monome fame, “Graphic Designer. Musician. Tea snob.”
@Chris_Randall – of Audio Damage / Analog Industries
@podcasting_news – James Lewin on both his podcasting site and the prolific Synthtopia; expect a lot of tweets (but you won’t have to dig through RSS)
@wesen – for beats and powerful geeking on new projects like the Mididuino
@serial_consign – Greg Smith on digital media, culture, theory
MarkMosher is doing all sorts of things, Web and musical, including running the ModulateThis blog
@MusicThing – the blog is gone, but Music Thing lives on as Tom tweets

Modular Friends, Ableton Tips

Twitter is in everyone’s thoughts, this week, it seems. (Perhaps the perfect medium for a sagging economy?)

stretta himself rounds up a fantastic list of Twitter feeds, with an emphasis on modular synths.

As noted by Wire to the Ear (and note Oliver Chesler’s feed, too):
AbletonTweets, entirely unofficial tips on Live


Oh, yeah:
The blog feed – more CDM business, CDM headlines
(I found it made sense to separate the two.)

Do say hi, and since I’ve lost track of who’s following them, send a @shout at me and I’ll take notice of you!


But what if Twitter really does seem like just a distraction? Could quick blog entries make you more productive musically, and help you share what you’re doing with others?

Dan Gillespie is trying a microblog concept in his own work: “MicroSong,” tagline, “publish your process.” It’s a bit like a musical tumbleblog – but only about the music, not the various Web distractions one finds online. He writes:

I’m hoping to have a couple friends and local artists come on and share their process when song writing and music making, this has always been the fun part for me.

Like I said, it’s just starting up, but it’s cool to see other people thinking the same sort of things. Maybe I’ll have to hook up with twitter as well.

And yes, before someone steps in and says it, of course all of these are an additional drain of precious time. But then, that to me is the point – and it’s a good thing. Some of these ideas will prove to be distractions. But if you can find an approach where the benefit is worth the input, you’re likely to stumble upon something that’s efficient, that makes sense to you.

Let us know how it all works out, okay, Internets?

And, nope, this list isn’t close to comprehensive. That’s where you come in.