Last weekend I finally broke down and started up a Facebook account. My wife Trudy had started one the day before, prompted to do so by her sister who is currently based in Australia. Apparently communicating via Facebook is even easier than email or—heaven forbid—telephone calls and snail mail.
I have to confess that I knew precious little about the site when I first signed up (which literally took under a minute). Like most folks who are not part of the Facebook community, I assumed that it was just a site for high schoolers and undergrads. In fact, while it was initially only open to Harvard students when it launched in 2004, and remained a college-only portal for quite some time thereafter, Facebook has been available to anyone with an email address since September 11, 2006. It is now one of the five most frequently trafficked websites and is expected to surpass 60 million users by the end of this year.
But what’s really interesting about Facebook from a new music-minded perspective is how many people involved with new music have signed up. I wasn’t surprised to find my young composer and performer colleagues from the AMC there—Trevor Hunter, Sarah Hersh, Betsey Perlmutter, Gilbert Galindo, and Ian Moss, although they were all rather surprised to find me. But within a week, I soon realized that colleagues from music centers in Australia, Ireland, and Finland were part of this community, as were a number of composers all over this country, including Pauline Oliveros, Daron Hagen, Michael Torke, and even this month’s cover, David Rakowski! There’s even a special chat group for Pretentious Classical Music Elitists. Their back and forth squabbles about who the good composers are vs. who the bad composers are rival the most heated discussions on these pages.
But all of this would be just another composer procrastination exercise were it not for being a really effective way for a composer to make connections. I’ve already gotten two requests from people to check out my music in the last two days. So why doesn’t every composer get a Facebook page?