Keep It To Yourself

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and quite frankly, why wouldn’t you?) you know I am no stranger to posting, tweeting or updating my status. I seem to think every witty thought or observation that pops into my head is worthy of publication. This has only been exasperated of late because I fractured my tibia and have limited mobility. It seems the hour or so a day I usually spend running or cycling has been replaced with 140-character thoughts.

All that admitted to upfront, I want to publicly ask the members of my industry to stop tweeting and/or updating your Facebook page at a certain time: during events.

C’mon guys and gals. Shouldn’t we be focused on other things during those 5 hours? Selecting the next song . . . communicating with the banquet staff . . . checking in with our clients . . . perhaps even bopping around the dance floor and interacting with the crowd. These are all things that are far more important than telling your Facebook friends that you’re “Rockin’ Scott and Margaret’s wedding.” (Which reminds me I don’t think I’ve ever seen a DJ’s update: “Really struggling to get this crowd going” but that’s a thought for a future blog.) In that one moment when you turn your attention from the dance floor to your keyboard, you could miss the Best Man break dancing or the Bat Mitzvah Girl singing with her friends. Is your update really more important than that?

And for those of you who would say something along the lines of “I’m such a talented multi-tasker I can throw a great party, mix music and update my myriad of social media platforms all at the same time” I say: “Kudos to you Doctor Octopus.” But consider this: Have you ever been standing at a bar trying to order a drink and the bartender is texting on their cell phone? Happens to me all the time. It tells me that person would rather be anywhere else but here which, in this economy, is a shame because I’d bet there are plenty of out-of-work bartenders who would take their place in a heartbeat. Guess what – when we text or update our Facebook status’ during events, we tell the guests at the party the same thing. That this moment is not interesting enough and I need to contact the “outside world” right now. And that too is a shame because, in this economy, I’m sure there are plenty of DJs who would take your place and pay 100% attention to the event.

While the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending a full ban of any cell phone use while driving, I would like to humbly make a similar motion. No, it’s not dangerous to “text while mixing” or “update while DJing.” It’s just bad business. If you want to post a shot of your set up before the room opens up, awesome. If you need to Tweet during dinner that you just killed an 80’s set, fine. And by all means fill in your legions of followers after your event about the highlights and how much your clients loved you. But please, during the gig itself, while you are actually playing and mixing music and MCing, keep your thoughts to yourself. We can all wait.

16 Responses to Keep It To Yourself
  1. Denny McConnell
    December 18, 2011 | 2:45 pm

    I agree with you 100% Mike IPhones IPads Androids have helped us do some things better but they also distrack us from important things like the car you’re about to hit head on. I hate it when I see a group of people at a restaurant and not one of them is talking to anyone at the table they are on there phone.

  2. Brian Snyder
    December 18, 2011 | 3:02 pm

    I sent this to my guys as a strong reminder about the perceptions we give off when at events.

  3. Mike Walter
    December 18, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    Thanks Denny. Yeah the entire concept of socializing has changed in the past 10 years. IMO its sad but it is what it is

    Brian that’s the ultimate compliment. Thanks

  4. mark brenneisen
    December 18, 2011 | 4:06 pm

    sent to all I know including our staff….so many thanks from Upstate NY Mike.

    • Mike Walter
      December 18, 2011 | 4:09 pm

      That’s the best compliment to have my words passed on like that. Thanks Mark. Merry Christmas!

  5. Shawn Whittemore
    December 18, 2011 | 5:54 pm

    Very well said and 100% agreed.

    • Mike Walter
      December 18, 2011 | 6:05 pm

      Thanks Shawn

  6. Chasen
    December 18, 2011 | 6:38 pm

    Thanks Mike. After going through my timeline I saw my own perception and didn’t like those posts. This shall be tweeted.

    • Mike Walter
      December 18, 2011 | 7:20 pm

      A great resolution for 2012!

  7. Steve Saltzman
    December 18, 2011 | 7:06 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree, Mike. Our policy is emergency cell phone use only–and even then it better be discreet (out of sight of client/guests).

    • Mike Walter
      December 18, 2011 | 7:28 pm

      Thanks Steve. Great policy.

  8. Gerald Hood
    December 18, 2011 | 8:44 pm

    Fantastic Blog Mike! This ban should not only include DJ’s, but EVERYONE who works in the service industry. There is nothing worse than a bride seeing you toting or checking your messages during an event. It’s just as bad as taking a phone call during an event. I will pass this blog along!

    • Mike Walter
      December 18, 2011 | 10:29 pm

      Thanks Gerald. I agree it pertains to everyone involved in service.

  9. Mickey Echavarria
    December 19, 2011 | 9:46 am

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!?

  10. Marcello Pedalino
    December 20, 2011 | 12:56 pm

    Good afternoon Mike,

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

    This could be the 2011 version of “should entertainers eat on the job?”

    Right or wrong, even if Mr. Octopus can successfully multi-task at a reception, the guest’s perception of his work ethic and customer service level will most likely be affected negatively.

    On the flip side, in certain circles, if you are not seen tweeting, texting or face-booking something to someone relentlessly, you can be seen as a bore and lose all of your social allure.

    The good news, for the performers who don’t use smart phones during events… is that this is another simple and inexpensive way, (like volume control) to distinguish yourself from your contemporaries.

    Like everything else, however, I think there is a happy medium. If your social status or event significance demands real-time updates, you can simply hire a fast-fingered assistant for the night to take a few quick photos or type a couple of brief messages for you. This could be the same person you hire to assist you with v-log capturing so no additional costs are incurred.

    The SMA (social media assistant) can also monitor all pre-determined event #hashtags giving you ample time to recover from potentially irreversible feedback and negative opinions from guests.

    Then again, you could just focus on ‘crushing it’ throughout the event and enjoy basking in the social media glory on Monday when all the guests will be back at work and looking for any excuse to go online and not have to pay attention to the job they’re supposed to be doing.

    Continued success,

    Marcello

    • Mike Walter
      December 20, 2011 | 2:56 pm

      Marcello

      Thank you for your response. Great insight as always. Merry Christmas!

      Mike

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