Ruining the community with your self-promotion


That said, musicians are as much as a sub-community as any group out there.   Good musicians realize pretty quickly that you’re not competing against other bands and musicians, as much as you’re competing against the other ways people find entertainment.  I’m always eager to connect with musicians and exchange ideas, as well as lean on each other so that we all may succeed.  In any profession, “Networking” can be extremely valuable when done right, but many times can deteriorate into a cheap sales job.

With that, I was excited to be added to a “Local Musicians of Denver” group on Facebook, joining hundreds of other musicians in building local community, exchanging ideas and finding different ways to support each other.  For the most part, many of the people are there to do just that.  After the joining the group however, you’ll quickly see that a significant portion are there to only contribute their cheap sales tactics.

Exhibit A:


This guy went to all the trouble it took to click “Paste” and put his link up for all to see. No introduction, no context, not even a call to action. Just a spammy link.  Thanks for your contribution to the community.  The least you could have done was at least ask “Let me know what you think.” Better yet, ask point out something specific in the video that you’d like feedback on.

Exhibit B (which was right below Exhibit A):


You did the exact same thing as Exhibit A did, the only thing is that Facebook massaged the Event Link so that you don’t look like a total spammer.

Look, I understand you need to promote your shows. I also realize that musicians often are interested in other bands and musicians and want to scratch another band’s back with some support.  At the same time, this guy has given no indication why you as a member of the musicians community should go see this show.  At least say something like “This is a really big show for us and we’d love your support”, or “We want to show the Denver Art Society that musicians can represent.”  Please, just give any kind of invitation, even if it’s just a personalized message.  Instead you’re no better than Exhibit A.


While the first two examples show how people are spamming the community, there is a grey area that if done correctly – can at least give the appearance of active participation:


To me this successfully walks the thin line of shameless self-promotion and community participation.  Why – because you’re giving the community something, also the personal invitation helps.


Finally there is the other side of the coin: getting wisdom from this community to better yourself.  Some examples:



Notice the biggest difference between these last two from the first three? They actually have comments!  Now you’ve established a connection with other musicians, which you can cultivate into a relationship that will be beneficial to the both of you.


The moral of the story: There is a time and place for Shameless Self-Promotion. If you’re going to use your “networking” time to do it, then be prepared to walk a fine line – better yet, put away the two thumbs that point at yourself.