The Sound of Social Music

Graphic made in Canva by Kelly Edwards.

Trevor is looking forward to the upcoming wedding of his daughter later in the year. What Trevor’s daughter doesn’t know is that her father is surprising her by singing at the wedding reception. While the notion of singing a song, on the most important day of your daughter’s life sounds very sweet in principal, in practice Trevor has never sung in public before.

However, Trevor, being the doting father that he is, decided to try and find someone who could give him some pointers for the big day and so I enter the picture as his co-worker and also holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Jazz and Popular Voice). After a few vocal lessons, we decided to start a podcast and YouTube series of our tutorials in order to help others wanting to learn the basics of singing without having to pay expensive costs associated with hiring a vocal coach.  Thankfully, uploading video and audio content is no longer difficult or costly with the expansion and the evolution of technology and social media.

The Rise of Social Media Sharing Sites 
Social media has revolutionized the way music is shared and distributed online through sites such as YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify and Vimeo. YouTube for example, is now one of the most popular destinations online, second only to search engine and parent company Google (Schneider 2016, p.102). Gone are the days when struggling artists gave their demo tapes to recording studios or played in dodgy pubs in order to be discovered, they can now upload their work onto social media and obtain an instantaneous and sometimes global following. This creation of what I’ve dubbed social music has changed pop culture as we now know it, allowing multiple generations of online users’ access to the world’s latest or oldest music and videos…the list is endless. Want to hear Winston Churchill recite one of his historical speeches or hear Marilyn Monroe sing Happy Birthday to the President? Rather than reading it in a book or just hearing it on a CD, these two examples can instantaneously be downloaded and shared using Twitter or Facebook.

When words fade, music speaks
Graphic made in Canva by Kelly Edwards.

While it’s unlikely that Trevor and I will become an online sensation, our podcast below does highlight the ease and access with which we were able to upload our vocal lessons onto SoundCloud and YouTube without having to resort to a third party such as a record label or producer to create and distribute the content.  Not only does it allow Trevor to refer back to our online sessions quickly and easily in the lead up to the big day, it also engages with people based locally or internationally to benefit from and interact with each podcast and YouTube clip. Our podcast followers are also able to actively participate with our lessons by commenting and sharing their thoughts, tips and ideas on current and future tutorials.

SoundCloud thumbnail graphic made in Canva by Kelly Edwards.

Putting the ‘social’ into social music
Liikkanen and Salovaara (2015, p. 123) advised that social media music sharing sites such as YouTube open up a world of marvels when it comes to accessing music. It presents a new step in the line technological of development of recorded music distribution that started with the phonograph. This new instantaneous ability to access and share audio and visual files on mass, could not have existed with the humble vinyl record, cassette tape or CD.

Social media sharing sites are influencing popular culture. By allowing greater access at little or no cost to the consumer, social music has created a smorgasbord of global and home grown talent without which the audience may never have heard of otherwise. Missed that live concert from your favourite band in Slovenia, or want to relive a past musical performance or drama series from eons ago, you can with a simple click of a mouse or touch of a screen.

Check out our YouTube clip below for visual instructions from today’s podcast!

YouTube thumbnail graphic made in Canva by Kelly Edwards.

She’s still Daddy’s little girl
On the big day, when Trevor walks up to the microphone, there will be various smartphones promptly pulled out by the wedding guests, which will capture that special moment. Those smartphones will then upload the video or audio file onto Facebook, YouTube or Twitter for others or maybe just for Trevor’s family and friends to enjoy. Frankly, who cares if no one but Trevor and his daughter watch or listen to the online audio or video clip again, it’s really not the point is it? Ultimately, Trevor will get to share a gift that only a father can give his little girl…

“Father Daughter Dance” by hannah_garcia is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Father Daughter Dance” by hannah_garcia is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Schneider, CJ 2016, ‘Music Videos on YouTube: Exploring Participatory Culture on Social Media’, Studies In Symbolic Interaction, 47, p. 102, Complementary Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 August 2017.

Liikkanen, L, & Salovaara, A 2015, ‘Music on YouTube: User engagement with traditional, user-appropriated and derivative videos’, Computers In Human Behavior, p. 123, Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 August 2017.



Play the Trump card on Twitter to win!

“Trump” by russmorris is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Trump by Russ Morris (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

The arrival of social media into the White House in 2009 came in the form of newly elected President, Barack Obama. President Obama transformed the arena of modern day American politics and is often credited as the ‘first social-media president’ (Bogost, 2017).

Obama was one of the first American politicians to pioneer this new era of global online media communications. His online presence allowed for greater access and interaction between the President of the USA and his constituents – on the whole a fairly positive outcome for both parties.

In 2017, with new President Donald Trump at the helm, this POTUS uses social media platforms in stark contrast to his predecessor, with many of this current President’s tweets considered derogatory, bordering on libel. But there’s a catch…..the law doesn’t care.

Babbage sues for libel by Geek Calendar (CC BY 2.0)

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but Twitter lasts forever…..
According to the 2017 Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Academic Journal entitled Developments in Media, Privacy, Defamation, and Advertising Law, American defamation lawsuits deemed to stem from Twitter, Facebook and other social media are on the increase (Mandell et al., 2017) however the American judicial system has ‘treated the informal and hyperbolic nature of these media as indications that statements made on social media are less likely to be treated as statements of objective fact’ (Mandell et al., 2017, section III E.).

Recently, the former White House Communication’s Director, Anthony Scaramucci came under fire for his vicious and obscene descriptions of White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus and White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. However, as Donald has a history of winning past law suits involving his comments on social media, it’s highly likely that a case against Scaramucci wouldn’t succeed in a US court room due to the ultimate trump card of free speech.

Know your rights!
The First Amendment of the US Constitution (the White House, n.d.) specifically protects a citizen’s right to freedom of speech. Pearson (2004) advises that US courts tend to favour free speech over reputation ‘as long as they have not acted maliciouslyor inreckless disregard of the truth’ (Pearson 2004, p. 165). Now here comes the double standards of American politicians using social media – in a contradictory March 2017 tweet, President Trump asked the question on Twitter whether US libel laws needed to change after complaining about his own perceived libel treatment by the New York Times. Hypocrisy?

To tweet or not to tweet…
With all this in mind, should the average blogger, tweeter or facebooker be careful when expressing their opinion and thoughts of a person or business on social media? If you live in countries like Australia where the judicial system only requires the plaintiff to prove three key elements for defamation to have occurred: publication, identification and defamatory meaning (Kenyon 2007, p. 6), then in one word: Yes! However, in America, it’s less likely due to the First Amendment being so highly valued.

Social Media is…by Raphael Love (CC BY 2.0)

The law might not care about a ruined reputation but we as the social public really should care. If you enjoy the benefits of social media take a moment to appreciate what that entails. The word social in social media is described in the Cambridge Dictionary (2017) as ‘an occasion when members of a group or organization meet informally to enjoy themselves’. With that social power comes great responsibility and that applies to everyone who has a voice online. We who play a part in the global group called social media have the choice on how we use that online social freedom of speech and perhaps we should stop and consider whether President Trump or Scaramucci’s comments are really that ‘social’ in its truest sense?

Social media can accomplish great things. It can also be a sewer pit of self-absorption and thoughtless anger. Trump has to learn to tell the difference.. (Payne, 2017)

Continue reading “Play the Trump card on Twitter to win!”