5 Examples of Oppressive Governments Using Social Media Better Than Your Indie Band

If you’re in an indie band, and you’re positive that you’re ready to make a ‘big push’ into the ‘next phase’ of your career, you couldn’t have picked a better time in human history to do it.  Now that musicians are connected directly to the public through amazing tools like YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook, your band has a real shot of building an audience of fans.

All you need now are some effective role models; you need internet pioneers to emulate. Let’s compare what your band is doing with social media now compared to what other social media experts from around the world are doing.


YOUR INDIE BAND started a Twitter account. Great! You’re even being smart about using it these days. You’re now finding and connecting with venues and other bands in your genre. Your fans appreciate the iPhone pictures from “hour 16 in the studio.” Your shows even have their own hashtags so everyone involved can talk about the same show.

THE KREMLIN regularly creates thousands of fake Twitter accounts to drown out protesters during elections. Here’s what mastery of Twitter looks like: unlike Middle Eastern dictators who just *turn off* the internet, the Kremlin uses thousands of fake and hacked Twitter accounts to *influence* online sentiment during protests. They activate every account at once and drown out entire conversations with pro-government tweets, opening a new front completely in the autocratic war against citizenry.

THE LESSON: Use twitter to connect with your fans!


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YOUR INDIE BAND has a great mailing list. You’ve played a bunch of shows, and did a good job getting the audience to sign up for your mailing list on a clipboard at your merch booth. You even keep track of postal mailing addresses from people who have ordered your merch online. You use this list wisely, only sending out messages once per month or so.

CHINA built a database of personal information for tracking 1.3 billion citizens called Golden Shield. This online database contains intimate details of the populace from speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television, credit records, and Internet use records for the entire Chinese population of 1.3 billion citizens. This database is used by the Chinese Internet police force, thought to be sized at about 30,000 Internet police officers, who monitor all electronic communications into and out of China.

THE LESSON: Keep track of who your fans so they know that you care about them!

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YOUR INDIE BAND has a place online for ‘superfans’ of your music. You’ve got a Facebook page, and you know that if you post something a hard core few will comment on it immediately. You recognize and reward these “superfans” with special access to the band, and even give an occasional shout out so they feel special. You know they’re the ones who will spread your music the fastest to their own networks, so you make it as easy for them to connect with you as possible.

IRAN built it’s own national internet to limit any non-Muslims influences. This private ‘halal’ internet is designed to keep Muslims in Iran from accessing American sites like Facebook and Twitter, an ethical violation. This new internet in Iran requires that Internet cafes contain security cameras and record their user’s personal information, such as their ID numbers, addresses and fathers’ names. The government knows what most citizens are posting.

THE LESSON: Make your community feel like they have a place of their own!

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YOUR INDIE BAND tracks it’s own reputation online. You share important news with your fans as soon as something exciting happens. If someone posts a bad review, you ignore it, or try to get friends of your band to post something more favorable. You want your online fans to hear your first radio interview, so you post the audio link on your Facebook page. When your new album is reviewed, you make sure Twitter does too.

ISRAEL tracks literally every Israel-related news poll in the world. The small country keeps a vigilant eye on any new online polls about Israel and very quickly instructs users to take the poll and share their votes. After encouraging sympathetic users to email everyone they know, stories rocket to top of “most emailed” lists on news websites.

THE LESSON: Find out what people are saying about you, and try to improve whatever they’re saying!


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YOUR INDIE BAND only posts very relevant links, or none at all. You put effort into posting photos worth looking at, links worth reading, and videos worth watching. You pick and choose very carefully what message get posted from your band. There are enough distractions on the internet already; you know that your audience wants your curated opinion of good content.

INDIA removes anything ‘blasphemous‘ from their Internet. Both Google and Facebook have admitted to taking down content upon Indian government requests. The Indian High Court went so far as demanding mechanisms for tracking and deleting unfavorable content completley, or, they said, “like China, we will block all such websites”.

THE LESSON: Post only links you’d want to click!


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Max Goldberg performs stand up comedy in Los Angeles.


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