By Sherri L. Smith, BlackWeb20.com
As Twitter continues to grow and assert its social media dominance, we’ve watched as the 140-charcater messaging tool build networking bridges that might not have formed otherwise through online interaction or offline events called Tweetups. With its quick and easy interface we’ve seen some of our favorite celebs get in on the act, even the “Big O,” herself.
While some celebrities use Twitter as a quick and easy way to keep fans up on the latest, others use it as an avenue to connect with fans on a more personal level for better or worse. One Twitter TMI moment came when Diddy (@iamdiddy) disclosed he was taking a break from a 36-hour tantric sex romp. Another infamous moment came via Baby Spec (@IAMSPECTACULAR) from Pretty Ricky as he issued a grindoff challenge to other male artists. And while those were some cringeworthy moments. Artists like Wyclef Jean choose to use his Twitter powers for good.
Clef recently wrapped up his “More Bottles Remix” contest. The world renowned producer and artist reached to his fans via his web site and Twitter account (@wyclef) to find out who could take his new song, “More Bottles,” and make the best remix. Participants created a 30 second Bubble Tweet with thier reimagined version of the track. Bubble Tweet for those of you that might still be a Twitter n00b, is a third-party application that lets users add video to their twitter stream. Once the tracks were submitted, it was all up to the fans to listen to the tracks and choose the winners. Out of the many entries that were submitted, only eight people had the skills to impress the fans and Wyclef. Those lucky few recently travelled to meet the Grammy-award winning artist at his studio, Platinum Sound, to lay down a track that will be available on a mixtape featuring DJ Drama scheuled for an September release as well as a self-titled LP set for a January 2010 release. And to add a cherry to the proverbial top, those that made it to the winner’s circle will also have their music made available to the world on iTunes in August.
Wyclef currently has 617,601 followers on his twitter account which only took three short months to accumlate. The automatic response should and will be, “So? He’s famous, of course people will follow him in droves.” It’s important to note how Jean interacts with his followers. A common complaint amongst the regular folk that make Twitter tick is that celebrity tweeters only follow fellow celebrities and rarely speak to the legions of fans that follow them. Jean not only bucks the trend, but he actually encouraged his followers to contribute to his music. As the eight winners were in the studio laying down their tracks, the whole session was being streamed live via Wyclef’s website. Every so often he would stop the session to check out fan feedback and tweek the winner’s performance based on that feedback.
While it’s obvious that all this activity is building hype for the upcoming projects, and it’s a smart move, especially in this climate where even the most established artists have to get creative about bring in the sales. By engaging his fans in this manner, Jean has the potential to create something totally new that fans can totally get behind because technically, it’ll be a project made for the people, by the people.
BlackWeb20.com covers website and application launches; culturally relevant Internet industry news; and mainstream Internet industry news from an African-American perspective. They also analyze emerging web trends and how they apply to web properties that target African-Americans or African-American culture.