Just One of Those Things

I’ve been “online” since before most of you were born. It never ceases to amaze me the little relationships you grow along the way. You learn the short hand and the short cuts. You communicate in strange ways with people from all over the world from different cultures and economies. People who don’t speak your language and people from places you will never go. You will never meet them face to face and some, you may never have a one-on-one interaction with other than a “like” or some “props” of some kind.

It is especially true with musicians. We have something a lot of folks don’t. We share a common language in music and, with it, we share more than conversation. We share emotion and life changes, great love and great pain; we share it all through our songs. As musicians, we chronicle our lives through our style. As our personal style evolves over time the songs, old and new, reflect those phases in our lives. While we don’t always understand each other’s lyrics we understand the play, the emotion. You know when your youtube buddies are hurting, it’s in their songs. You know when they are most excited and happy, you get a FaceBook alert on your phone that says their CD dropped and they had an awesome show. You know when they play with a rock star, there is a grainy cellphone pic from backstage. You may never meet, you may never actually speak, yet you share the moment with your friend and smile. Your only reaction visible to your friend halfway around the world is a thumbs-up. Maybe you get an email alert that says you got props from afar and that’s all the time you have for now and yet, you know, your friend is there. Right there, that moment, half asleep running on empty after his gig, ‘cause it’s 3 o’clock in the morning there… he hits your stuff, clicks your link, maybe time for a short easy to translate comment.

A connection. A real connection with a real human. BAM! In the blink of an eye.

What develops as a result, is a sort of network of musicians and their friends. Some “get it” and some don’t. Most understand that a lot of our “online presence” counts on those little likes, thumbs, props, plusses and shares to help keep our promoted material fresh and interesting to people.

Silly humans, we have to count everything and set goals and milestones. So we watch the view count and - I gotta be honest - it is quite humbling to have the ability to share a video with thousands and thousands of people in an instant. Whenever a song or video hits one of those marks there isn’t an uploader in the land that doesn’t get a little smile. 10k oh yea, 25k yea baby 50k go baby go and on and on. All the standard milestones get celebrated with, at the least, a bit of a smile. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. There is no other reason to upload at all if you don’t want people to watch or listen. To deny our innate propensity for milestones is unrealistic.

As a result there is a side note: what happens is, you end up with these anonymous friends that are usually friends of friends or someone that stumbles somehow upon your stuff from an unrelated link and somehow you get on the thumb train. They thumb you, you thumb them. You unconsciously do it for almost everything each other does. A small show of support for a simpatico ipso facto friend. As you get more popular, the task takes a little time. You get your sub updates and diligently watch and enjoy great stuff while pounding all the links and voting up and clicking band stuff just because. It’s fun, it pays off in new friends and listeners from those circles and then those and those…

It is part of being an online musician now. If you don’t, you get left behind. You miss opportunities to make friends with folks who share the passion and love of music that may speak a different language or wear a funny hat. I now have friends from all over the world. that wouldn’t have been possible for me before the computer. It’s a wonderful thing.

On the other hand, I should be practicing my guitar and I’m writing this. I have a rehearsal in twenty minutes and I didn’t do my homework; I wrote two new songs instead. I’ll post the vids soon, please like, comment and subscribe or whatever it is you do. Most of all, thanks for listening, we don’t need to know you’re out there, but it’s sure nice to know you’re out there!

Dan Grigor

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