By now, you surely know the importance of keeping up with the Joneses online, updating all of your profiles religiously, and how to interact on social media (if not, check out my last post!). But as your band gets more well-known and more eyeballs turn toward you, I can't stress enough how important it is to master the the delicate balance between being relatable, oversharing, and incriminating.
Sharing tour photos or the occasional band shout-out is totally fine, but there are other things to think about, too. Your fans want to get to know you, and they know you're regular Jills and Joes just like them who like to party and get into a little bit of trouble on Friday nights. They don't, however, need to know the dirty details, and you don't need to post them publicly. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate my point:
Good: "We had a great time partying with you last night, Topeka!"
Okay: "We're feeling kinda rough this morning, but the hangovers are worth it – thanks, Topeka!"
Bad: "We're still totally fucked up from last night lol Topeka has the best cocaine – Joey's nose is still bleeding!"
See the difference? You can totally come off as fun and a little wild without veering into sketchy or illegal territory. Yeah, this is rock 'n' roll, but the Sunset Strip has been a dive for decades and no one's impressed by your bad habits. Bands in vans get hassled enough by cops as it is, especially when crossing international borders. Law enforcement officials know how to use social media, too – do you really want to give them a reason to mess with you? Don't be reckless. Walk the line.
Another point to consider: language. Again, you're all adults and should be able to express yourselves however you see fit, but, like it or not, you're a public figure now. We've all seen what happens when public figures run their mouths without thinking (I'm looking at you, CeeLo). So how do you handle this one? Here are a few examples:
Good: "Thanks so much for coming out last night, Omaha. We really appreciate it, and will be back soon!"
Okay: "You crazy motherfuckers were the best fuckin crowd yet! Cheers, Omaha!"
Bad: "Thanks to all the hot bitches who came out to Omaha last night lol"
Very Bad: "Where the groupies at, we tryna fuck some hos tonight lol"
Grammar is important. Word choice is important. Respecting your fans is very important. You don't have to come off like a Puritan or over-the-top social justice warrior, but you should probably try to seem like a decent human being with a strong command of your native language who respects and appreciates your fans' support, right?
Here's a rule of thumb I often use for writing. Would you be embarassed if your mom found your Facebook page and read your updates? How about your boss? If it's a "yes" to either, maybe you should take a minute to consider why, and how you should fix it. It might take a little extra effort, but it'll be worth it.
Kim Kelly is a writer and music journalist based in New York City who writes about music and the culture surrounding it for Pitchfork, Spin, the Village Voice, NPR, Wondering Sound, Decibel, and many more. Find her on Twitter @grimkim.