Sunday, August 30, 2009

#jazzlives Twitter campaign to draw attention, demonstrate support for live jazz

The latest eruption of the recurring "is jazz dying? controversy, prompted in part by a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (see previous posts here and here for more) got veteran jazz journalist Howard Mandel thinking about ways to demonstrate the current vitality and diversity of jazz music.

Last week, Mandel emailed an assortment of jazz journalists and broadcasters, websites, bloggers, and presenters, including yr. humble StLJN editor, saying in part:
"Is the audience for jazz aging and diminishing, as Terry Teachout wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently? I don't believe it and don't think you buy it completely either, despite the NEA's 2008 survey data.

I think that survey overlooked a significant segment of the vital audience for live jazz today, and propose a small social networking experiment, asking tech savvy listeners to tweet #jazzlives, who & where, in 140 characters.

If you're a Twitter user, all you have to do participate is 1) Write in a Tweet WHO you heard and WHERE (venue, locale, whatever fits); and 2) MOST IMPORTANT, be sure to include the hashmark #jazzlives.

EXAMPLE: I heard Vanguard Orch at Tanglewood, super! #jazzlives
EXAMPLE: I heard Hank Jones, solo at Detroit Int JF, mighty fine #jazzlives

Include links to your blog or website in your Tweet if you like, like this --

EXAMPLE: I heard Eubanks 5 be great at Blue Note NYC, full revu at #jazzlive

That's it. These initial tweets will seed the project by getting the #jazzlives out there and giving us some initial content for our widget. We hope this will build to a noticeable surge. Could we get as many tweets and postings as there were people at Woodstock?

Please note: Tweets with #jazzlives are NOT intended to publicize upcoming events or for comments on recordings you're listening to, but rather for reports on LIVE jazz you've actually heard recently. If you heard it live over the radio, that counts!"
The #jazzlives Twitter campaign got underway this weekend, and you can see some of the tweets so far on the campaign's widget, which has been installed over on the StLJN sidebar and will remain there for as long as seems appropriate. (If you'd like a copy of the widget for your own blog or Web site, you can grab the code here.) Yr. humble editor also will be setting up a Twitter account this coming week, the better to participate in the campaign and also to use the burgeoning tweetosphere as another way to make accessible StLJN's regular content.

Meanwhile, if you have a Twitter account, you can take part immediately by sending a tweet that includes #jazzlives, who you heard most recently, and where (venue and/or locale). (For the Twitter novice: Hashtags like "#jazzlives" are a way of marking keywords or categories in Twitter messages (or "tweets") so that they show up in searches. You can send a tweet from any phone that sends text messages, or use a computer to post from the Twitter website.)

There are a number of potentially Tweetable jazz events in St. Louis over the Labor Day weekend, including the opening of the fall season at Jazz at the Bistro, with clarinetist Scott Alberici and pianist Reggie Thomas; the St. Louis Jazz Club's annual picnic, to be held at Concord Farmer's Club with music from the St. Louis Stompers, the Jazz Club All-Stars and The St. Louis Banjo Club; and even the Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing, which will feature a set from a local all-star group of jazz players on Saturday, the funk/jazz/instrumental R&B of the Oliver Sain Revue on Sunday, and much more.

So, jazz fans in and around St. Louis and environs, here's your chance to get out there, hear some live music, and then tell the world via Twitter and #jazzlives. StLJN will have further updates on the #jazzlives campaign as more developments occur...


Zerbet said...

Some are advocating Tweeting only DURING a live jazz performance, others only the most recent show seen, others still any live event from memory - is there (or should there even be) a protocol?

Dean Minderman said...

My interpretation is that the #jazzlives campaign is meant to document performances that are happening now, and not for reminiscing about shows from the past.

However, that doesn't mean the only permissible entries are tweets made in real time from the venue; if need be, it's OK to go home and then send in your tweet from your computer, too.