Bob Lefsetz

Bob Lefsetz Declares Twitter Dead!

So this past weekend I was in Cleveland for the wedding of my dear friends and Popdose colleagues Matt Wardlaw and Annie Zaleski. It was so great to be there with them on that special day and see so many of my fellow Popdosers – including Mike Heyliger, Jeff Giles, Michael Parr, Mike Duquette, and D.X. Ferris – and a few other friends as we wished them a lifetime of happiness together. 

On Sunday, Duquette and I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before catching our respective transportation options back to our hometowns. In one of the hallways there was a small exhibit highlighting newer bands that are, to use a cliche, carrying on the traditions of the acts that are enshrined in the Hall, like the Black Keys and Fitz and the Tantrums. One of them was Dawes, and they had Taylor Goldsmith’s impeccably handwritten lyrics to his beautiful song, “A Little Bit Of Everything.” 

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Why is this important news in this column? Look at the card above the third page. It quotes Lefsetz’s rave about the song from a few years ago. That’s right. After a few days filled with solid laughter, in a place dedicated to celebrating the best this music has ever produced, I’m confronted with this idiot, even though, to be fair, he’s right about that song.

But as much as he quickly became Dawes’ biggest fan in the fall of 2011 after ignoring them for a year, he has only mentioned them in passing three times – twice to talk about them performing with Jackson Browne at Occupy Wall Street and another to say that he ditched them at Coachella to see Swedish House Mafia – and hasn’t discussed their excellent new album, Stories Don’t End, at all. “The band that’s going to save rock n’ roll can wait. I have to ogle young girls while a guy stands over a laptop.”

So where does Bob’s over-reacting, ever-fickle mind take us today? To Twitter. Read on. 

It’s toast. Over. Done. History. Soon to be as behind the curve as Facebook, someday completely forgotten like Friendster.

So I guess that means Bob has deleted his account?

Nope. Still there, even if he hasn’t updated since July 5.

It’s the cacophony.

You see there are too many people on the service. As a result, very few are heard. 

That’s the Twitter equivalent of “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Bob is the music and technology’s equivalent of Yogi Berra, except Yogi Berra’s in the Hall of Fame, and the farthest Bob ever got in the music business allowed him to be fired by Blackie Lawless.

It’s happened over the past six months, tweeting is like a stone in a waterfall, or more accurately, pissing in the wind. In other words, if you tweet and nobody reads it have you wasted your time?

Let’s see some more of Bob most recent tweets to see if they’re worth reading.

Admit it, Bob. You were really taking a picture of her ass and didn’t notice the dog until later.

Bob, you’re not wasting your time tweeting. Your followers, however, are wasting theirs.

Today Rick Warren tweeted something I wrote. 

Here it is:

It’s not an untrue statement, certainly the type of message that an influential clergyman would want to send to his followers, but it’s hardly the wisest thing anybody’s ever said.

He’s got in excess of a million followers. The fact that I can reach him stuns me. But despite his only tweeting twice since then, the retweets have not gone nuclear. Oh, there are plenty, a double digit number, nineteen to be exact, but if it had been six months ago, I’d be a hero at the Saddleback Church.

Let’s get this straight: Twitter is useless because only a small percentage of Rick Warren’s followers – the type of evangelical Christians that Bob repeatedly vilifies – thought a bland statement was inspiring enough to send out to their friends. Either Bob doesn’t get how Twitter works, or maybe the religious right isn’t as ignorant as he thinks.

And as of this writing on July 10, three days after Bob’s e-mail, it now has 207 retweets and 155 favorites. Does this mean now Twitter isn’t toast? By the way, the last time Bob declared something “toast” it was Five Guys, this only a year after he was raving about it. And why did Five Guys earn Bob’s wrath?

“It’s the over-the-top loud music and the can’t-give-a-shit employees. Just try to get them to turn the 80′s hits down, it’s impossible, someone at headquarters set the dB level, which is enough to get them sued for deafness, the employees’ hands are tied, if you can even get them to pay attention, they’re so busy b.s.’ing in a backstage party behind the counter.”

I’ve been staring at my computer for the last five minutes trying to come up with a punchline, but I can’t top the absurdity in thinking that bad service in one restaurant means that the entire chain is going bust.

Twitter is becoming just like the rest of the world, a haven of winners and losers.

There’s winners and there’s losers. Ain’t no big deal!

Cory Booker gets Mellencamp, but Bob doesn’t?

Either you’re a star with an eight digit following and people are interested in what you have to say or…you’re ignored.

Bob has more than 55,000 followers, and while looking through his tweets, I don’t see any replies to any of his followers, just an occasional retweet of something that confirms his opinions. Bob doesn’t like being ignored but has no problem doing the ignoring.

Interestingly, those in demand, those followed, those who have their words eaten up are musicians… 

And comedians, who know how to get their message across in 140 characters. And Kardashians, because they’re famous. And something called “Jaded Punk Hulk,” but I don’t think that’s a real person.

…if they’d only realize their power and stop selling out to the man and focus on the music itself, unlike Jay-Z. But musicians don’t have to tweet to get their story across… Twitter is not the only platform that allows them to do this. You see everybody wants to be a star and nobody’s got time to follow a million people. Just can’t be done. Furthermore, we don’t even want to.

I can’t respond to this because I have no fucking idea what point he’s trying to make.

Everything you hear is wrong. 

Especially from you.

All this hogwash about algorithms and recommendations. Have you experienced Spotify’s new homepage? Right now, it says if I like Michael Bolton to check out Shania Twain. 

Two people with massive AC success in overlapping eras. Makes sense to me.

Isn’t that like saying if you like Cliff Richard to check out Loretta Lynn?

What’s wrong with Loretta Lynn?

Yes, Spotify’s new service is laughable. Because Spotify doesn’t care about music, but money.

I do not have time to go through Lefsetz’s archives and point out all the times he declared Spotify the Way Of The Future as it was ready to launch. Suffice to say there were plenty of “If you’re not on board you probably [do other obsolete things]” lines.

And the founders of Twitter don’t care about communication, but cash.

Businessmen are interested in making a profit. Check.

And don’t think I didn’t notice the irony in a guy who never replies to his followers caring about communication. It’s a two-way street, Bob.

And the public is not beholden to any of these services. 

Except Twitter is free, and the public likes free things.

Which is why the story of the Internet is a few services that stick and a ton that disappear.

You forgot about the porn, Bob.

Why is this?

Sounds like another one of Bob’s awkward pivots is about to happen…

It turns out services are like bands. There are a few superstars and a ton of one hit wonders. 

THAR SHE BLOWS!

(obligatory joke about Jeff’s mom)

And why no one else can see this is beyond me.

Because you’re the only one who refuses to admit that there’s gray area in anything. You’re either a winner or a loser, as you keep saying. Also, no one else is stupid enough to equate communication platforms with musicians.

I’ve got 50,000+ Twitter followers. But I can send an e-mail covering the same stuff I tweeted about and the response can be deafening, even though on Twitter nothing happened.

Just because you’re not being retweeted doesn’t mean you’re not being read. Maybe if you engaged your Twitter followers as you do your e-mail readers in your Mailbag posts your tweets would have more traction. Even retweeting those who agree with you would show that you at least look at your Interactions. But that would imply that you care about what anybody else has to say. Just a suggestion.

Which is kind of why you see the tweets of all the famous people falling off.

Bob is trying to evoke the Transitive Property of Mathematics to Twitter: “Celebrities’ tweets go nowhere. My tweets go nowhere. Therefore, I am a celebrity.”

Somewhere in Hell, my 9th grade math teacher is smiling that I remembered the Transitive Property.

Yes, someone goes on Twitter, tweets up a storm, and then…if they don’t stop completely, their number of tweets drops dramatically.

What the fuck does this mean?

So it turns out we all want to communicate, we all want to connect, but we are endless grazers in the digital domain, making stars of services like turntable.fm and then discarding them seemingly overnight.

We try out things and keep the ones that offer the best experiences. Just like everything else in life.

We want trusted filters. And we don’t want thousands of them, just a handful.

Can we trust a guy who thinks Twitter and Five Guys are through just because he didn’t get his way?

And those who will be trusted will not be those with an engineering degree, but a humanities degree.

Bob has a law degree. The world always trusts lawyers.

Yes, the stars of tomorrow will be thinkers. 

The stars of tomorrow will be beautiful people. That’s how it’s always been. No reason to think it will be any different.

Who will build their followings, which will migrate from platform to platform. Just like you discarded your Palm for your BlackBerry for your iPhone…you’re gonna abandon platforms continuously, until it’s no longer about platforms but content. In other words, you don’t have to be on Tumblr or Pinterest, you just need a passing interest, a basic familiarity with Twitter, because they’re just way stations, this year’s “Call Me Maybe.”

Twitter’s been around for six years, that’s pretty long in terms of free Internet services.

Google search is Elton John, but just like Elton can’t get on Top Forty radio anymore, there’s a good chance Google search will be superseded, since it’s a much more useful desktop app than mobile one.

There’s a good chance that something might dethrone the thing whose name has become as synonymous with its purpose as Xerox, Band-Aid, etc.

There must be a reason for someone to follow you, there must be something interesting about what you say or do. 

“There must be a reason for someone to follow you, there must be something interesting about what you say or do.”

And that’s got nothing to do with the platform and everything to do with who you are.

 

 

 


This is who Bob is, based solely on his own tweets – a cranky old sleazebag who thinks people want to see pictures of orange traffic cones.

We are in an era of chaos. But stability is right around the corner. Just like Google search replaced the much less useful AltaVista and HotBot and so many other engines, this era of a million bands with few followers is going to draw to a close. 

What difference does it make to you? You’re not going to listen to them anyway. At least let them try!

Because just like on Twitter, there’s too much, the barrier to entry is too low… 

Egalitarianism, the founding principle of America, sucks.

…humans require order.

Wait, are you taking my order? I’d like a gin & tonic, please. So refreshing on a hot day like today.

If you think you can go from zero to hero with little musical talent, you probably believe having a lot of MySpace friends made a difference when everybody jumped to Facebook!

Then why is there so little genuine musical talent in the Top 40 right now?

It’s about the individual.

Remember when Bob said, “We’re all in this together?” Now it’s every man for himself again. It’s so cute how his narrative changes based on whether or not somebody’s paying attention to him or not.

And your individuality is everything. Which is why Apple can create commercials in the style of Steve Jobs but they can positively suck. Because it’s not about the penumbra, but the zeitgeist. I mean what do those new Apple ads say? I can’t decipher it, and seemingly no one else cares.

“What I really wanted to ask is why the hell I have to keep updating the apps on my iPhone all the time and why you don’t fix that?” – John McCain or Bob Lefsetz?

So tweet away. Until you realize no one’s reading.

People are reading. You’re not reading them.

Then stop, read a book, become a three-dimensional person, have something to say…

I have something to say: You’re a big, fat, fucking baby.

And start over.

I’ve been involved in online communities – from listservs to forums to social networking – for 15 years and have made some incredible friends from all walks of life. And when we’ve had the opportunity to meet in person – whether it’s for a Springsteen concert or a soccer game or just someone in town on business wanting to meet up for a drink – the only differences have been hearing their voices and seeing their reactions.

It’s a damn shame that Bob can’t understand that Twitter isn’t just about what you have to say, but what others are saying, too. Instead it’s but another example of Bob practicing his ultimate philosophy of, “Do what I say, but I don’t care about you.”




  • Squidick

    These Lefsetz smack downs make me so happy. That guy is a such a blowhard d-bag.

  • http://kittysneezes.com/ Rev. Syung Myung Me

    Maaaaaan. Does Lefsetz just get dumber and dumber? Or is it that between Lefschmutz columns I forget just exactly how stupid he is?

  • jaredcovington

    This makes me smile. There are so many reasons I stopped reading him, and you’ve caught every one of them. Bravo!