Accepting the Keys to the (Technological) Castle

The weight of my hypocrisy is staggering. I told so many people for so long I’d never sign up with Twitter that the tweet of penitence I must owe the world will surely exceed 140 characters. Not that I regret it—I’ve been following reactions to the Iranian “election,” I get the straight dope on my diabetic friend’s blood sugar levels, and in an inexplicable reversal, one of my absolute favorite pop musicians is now following me. What there doesn’t seem to be on Twitter (I’m sure I’ll be swiftly corrected if I’m wrong) is the pool of contemporary music microbloggers I’d hoped to encounter. I’m one of those annoying people now: Tweet your pertinent goings-on, composers and performers!

I raise the topic of the internet in new music because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the cyberbuttressing of an emergent new music organization is becoming a more and more essential and germinative part of its development. Witness Baltimore’s Mobtown Modern, purveyor of marvelous viral videos, and the Twin Cities’ Opera Bob, a new opera company that entered the game with a blog, a PayPal account, and a Facebook fan page. Having a cool website is only the first step: Ensembles with RSS feeds and round-the-clock tweets can drum up a level of enthusiasm among the information-addicted youth that would have been pure fantasy in the primordial dreamtime of the email listserv.

So if getting the word out is easier than ever, and so (as Mobtown Modern has shown us) is preparing exciting and entertaining words to get out, what’s the next step? Maybe the answer is a bridge between flavors of content, a thing-we-don’t-have-a-name-for-yet that consolidates communiqués about a real-life, meatspace new music ensemble, editorial and journalistic content from a variety of authors à la NewMusicBox, and audio and video material in the UbuWeb vein. But why stop there? Imagine your perfect cyberspace contemporary music outpost. What else would such a site offer? A wiki of some kind? A flashy Flash interface? Twitter integration, I hope!

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