Social Media is Like Drumming

Social media is like drumming.  Take a seat behind my set of drums, grab some sticks and follow me on this one.

First we need some comical perspective: As a teen, I bought a drum set and pounded it with the angst, power, and passion of a … teenage boy.  How did my mother, and my neighbors, stand it?  Then, for 20 years I didn’t play because quite honestly, I couldn’t fit my drums in my car when leaving college.

Flash-forward to age 40 when I got the itch again, bought a kit, and, wow – what a difference!  In my 40s I play drums with much more feel and finesse; pulling off riffs, playing faster and more technical stuff, and connecting with band mates to create music!

I’m feeling a similar adult connection and a very positive vibe as I dive deep into social media and use it as a tool to learn, to connect, and to do business. My early tries with social media in 2005 were similar to my teenage years of drumming: hammering away at it with passion and less focus than I would like, resulting in clumsy outcomes.

But today, I am learning to use social media with good and focused intent and the knowledge (the “why” and the “how”) of creating good content.  The results have been similarly positive outcomes.

My earliest Tweeting reported my every action and got no response, so I quit.  But after reading just a few chapters of The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer and applying his “tao” to my Twitter, I’m a believer.  I’m creating content for people other than me. It’s a sharing relationship where I want to give and I understand that the ‘get’ part will only come if I don’t force it.  It begins with connections, then relationships, and resources that make you a more complete ‘you’.

Twitter today not only told me that Phil Collins (my drum idol) is writing songs with Adele but it’s also engaged me in my personal campaign to persuade Montreal’s annual Just For Laughs (@Just_For_Laughs) comedy festival to book comedian Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo).  JFL announced in 2013 that it would take fan recommendations via Twitter to create its schedule of acts for the 2014 summer fest.  And to grow professionally, my IABC chapter (@iabc_montreal) and Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) are becoming daily resources for learning SM best practices.

LinkedIn has been a more slow and steady build into a valuable resource for connections and learning experience.  Like Rush’s new release Clockwork Angels, it starts with a slow and steady beat and builds over time into a real rocker.  I started by making routine connections. Then I looked for my chances to give: I recently helped connect two old friends of mine who didn’t know each other.  It ended in one hiring the other and both being very happy! It was not a money-maker for me. I received a resounding ‘thank you’ from the job seeker and that’s all the payment I need.

Similarly, I can reach out through LI when I see my former workmate is connected to another person with whom I’d like to meet and possibly do business.  New relationship made!  LinkedIn has also become a regular provider of professional development resources.

So what if you never learned to play drums?  You can make up for it on social media by sharing your knowledge, or funny photos, in a meaningful way so others can benefit from what you have to offer.  Start playing slowly and with meaning, and before you know it, you’ll be pounding away with such focus that you won’t realize they’ve been trying for 10 minutes to call you upstairs for dinner!

4 thoughts on “Social Media is Like Drumming

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  1. I really like the drums and social media analogy/relation train of thought. For one, you are right that to do something well it takes not only the desire but experience and wisdom which usually come with age. It is interesting though that it turns out one has to read a book and perhaps take a masters course to grasp the phenomenon that the social media is. The younger generation is picking these tools up with the same ease as they “absorbed” smart technology and can’t imagine a world without it.


    1. Ah yes, the fingers of the natives in our digital land are flying. But are they considering the implications of their actions? Sometimes, yes, but not always as thoughtfully as they should. And I wish more Gen Xers would study up as well. We’d all be better off since their actions become our input.


  2. What an interesting perspective! I love the music analogy. My experience with Twitter was similar at first, though with me I dipped my feet in timidly at first. Now, although I’m not experiencing the full Tao yet, I am enjoying and interacting with it in a much more deliberate and helpful way. I look forward to continuing to read your point of view through your blog!


  3. Scott,

    What a nice read. You capture the reader’s attention from the get go, which I think is crucial for a successful blog. I like that you opened up and compared your drum experience with the social media experience you had.
    I find it interesting to see how you personally benefit from Twitter for instance…(isn’t it interesting/ frustrating to discover how our childhood heroes have discovered social media BEFORE US???:)

    Looking forward to more of your writing….



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