Mr Reznor is one of the last artists you could expect to put his web-based networking activities aside. He is one of the most influential and inspiring social gurus out there, and now he seems to have officially announced that he’s taking his leave from it all:
“I watched some of you get more engaged because you started to realize there’s a person (flaws and all) back there, and I watched some of you recoil in horror because I’m not what you projected on me. All expected. I’m not as concerned about “breaking” your idea of NIN at this point. It is what it is and I am what I am. The relationship between artist and fan is changing if you haven’t noticed, along with the way we consume and experience music and even communicate since the internet arrived.The problem with really getting engaged in a community is getting through the clutter and noise. In a closed environment like nin.com a lot of this can be moderated away, or code can be implemented to make it more difficult for troublemakers to persist. It’s tedious and feels like wasted energy doing that shit, but some people exist to ruin it for others – and they are the ones who have nothing better to do with their time. Example: on nin.com, there’s 3-4 different people that each send me between 50 – 100 message per day of delusional, often threatening nonsense. We can delete them, but they just sign back up and start again. Yes, we are implementing several changes to address this, but the point is it quickly gets very old weeding through that stuff.”
Reading Reznor’s quote made me realize that being in his position reflects an awkward situation.
Bands or artists or whatever who are “unknown” and who enter the social media game will put in time and effort to get online exposure. Whether it be via Myspace, facebook, Twitter, Bebo, blogs and what not, networking not only takes time, but requires know-how, and a good deal of creativity. Seeing how every single platform has its own social-mechanisms, once you start getting into it you realize the amount of work it represents to start grasping just for an couple of extra “true fans”.
For some people, like Trent, the whole process is very natural, and social networks became popular after he did, so he just surfed a wave that suited him well.
Now he is taking a step back because he’s been chocked by “Twitterazzies” to the point where he just can’t take it any anymore. As in show-business, where an unknown actor or singer dreams of being harassed by photographers, the social-networking-inclined band or brand ravishes the idea of getting re-tweeted, mentioned, linked, pod-casted, blogged etc.
Trent Reznor’s statement just goes to show that, past a certain point, being too “social” just ain’t worth it.