“Is there anything better than a ‘like’ on Instagram? I don’t think so. When your ‘likes’ go from a bunch of people’s usernames to a double-digit number, that’s the highlight of my day,” says Clay Fernald (@ClayNFerno), manager of the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge and a self-made social media expert for bands, producers, DJs, and fine artists.
Fernald was thrust into the social media world in 2005 when he earned the title of “The Most Popular Man in Boston” and wound up the cover of the Boston Phoenix. While the story of how he got there is really more of a funny coincidence – “I broke up with a girlfriend and I was on MySpace at the time, so to get back at her I expanded my network and got popular through ‘revenge friending’” – the connections he made were real and only continued to grow as he furthered his career in publicity and branding.
On Friday, March 21st, Fernald will be teaching an intensive workshop on the importance and utilization of social media for those in the music industry – he’s adamant about how vital the Internet is for artists of all types, especially now. “The way that we used to do shows when I was a punk rock kid was going up and posting fliers everywhere,” he explains. “Today, you have no choice. [Social media] needs to be part of making music and putting it out there. Like making t-shirts, like picking a band name…out of all the things that are important to a band, having a Twitter account should be just another part of the process.”
Young or old, established or new and local, Fernald insists that his workshop is for any one wielding a guitar. Or pan flute. As anyone who has ever listened to music knows, the relationship between an artist and his/her/their fans is one that is highly personal, unique, and often passionate. And Fernald believes that social media will only continue to improve these relationships – it’s a tool that’s truly vital for artists of any type trying to get exposure and find their audience.
“There’s nothing in the world like a retweet,” Fernald says. “There’s nothing in the world like a favorite. And that’s the message I’m trying to convey in this workshop – that social media can facilitate real person relationships. You might not sell a person a t-shirt or a CD, but if they’re at your show and you talk to them, then that’s the most valuable relationship in the world.”
[MMMMAVEN. 614 Massachusetts Ave #203. Cambridge. 7-9 PM/ $50. MMMMAVEN.COM.]