The #jazzlives Twitter hashtag campaign broadcasts on WHO was heard live-in-person and WHERE throughout the fast-growing social mediaverse. Over Labor Day weekend, with some two dozen jazz fests and parties throughout the States and neighbors, the audience for live jazz can use hashtag as a free and easy way to get the word out that there is a jazz audience by composing clever, info-packed messages of 140 words, raising jazz buzz.
Since contacting Labor Day jazz, blues and roots fests I recognized in a post last week, the Franklin Jazz Festival outside Nashville, Tennesee, the Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival outside Philadelphia and the Jazz On The Mountain festival in Whistler, British Columbia have written to say they’ll have MCs urge from the the stage that audiences tweet using the #jazzlives hashtag. #Jazzlives works well when bands tell their audiences to Tweet about them, too. “Didja like us? Tweet and tell the world — spell our names rights, say where we are, and add #jazzlives.” Tweets (and facebook “likes”) are the new word-of-mouth, considered the most effective kind of recommendation that exists.
The #jazzlives hashtage is two years old, having been established in reaction to the National Endowment for the Arts survey of arts audiences’ participation reporting that jazz audiences in particular are aging and diminishing. Anecdotal evidence — the on-the-ground accounts from places that surveys sometimes overlook — suggested that new audiences may be thriving somewhat more than might be realized, in locales that are not where old audiences have traditionally collected.
The idea behind #jazzlives is that more social media-savvy listeners will get the message to send a message that they’re out here, loving jazz, and expect to be acknowledged whether they fit former categories or not. So far there have been several thousand hashtags, from every continent — not a viral reaction on the web in terms of quantity of Tweets, but impressive considering the geographic range from which they come.
Again, the #jazzlives hashtag protocol is simple. If you’ve got a Twitter account, when you hear jazz live Tweet WHO you heard and WHERE you heard them, plus whatever else you’ve got to say and the hashtag (for “#” — the number sign or hashmark) #jazzlives. Please do not post about recordings or radio, no notifications about birthdays or deaths or album releases or upcoming gigs — that information is collected elsewhere on Twitter and befogs the #jazzlives results. When you want to see who’s listening to what, and where they are, go to your Twitter account and search #jazzlives. There is also a #jazzlives widget which you can add to your website, if interested. Leave a comment on this blog and I’ll get back to you with details about it.
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