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article imageAre social media-driven sites a failing fad? Special

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 4, 2015 in Internet
Some computer gurus tell us that social media participation is declining from “participation plateau,” caused by too many demands on time, yet as some sites see numbers reduced, there is more to social media activity than what those numbers show.
Fandalism is one of those sites that facilitates social exchange and collaborations through music, but like many groups that rely on social media for its numbers, many members are finding diminishing returns in terms of page views in spite of greater numbers of fans and followers. Members often wonder aloud if this is a trend, whether the site itself is preparing to close, or if there are simply demands on members' time so that uniquely personal reasons keep some members active.
The music site, Fandalism, is based on a system that encourages users to comment on the music of others while consistently offering music of their own. Participants say they honor only the best of their fellow members' music with comments and votes, however it can appear at times those who do not show their appreciation for others receive far less recognition than those who are more socially active. Lack of attention from other members is therefore said to be one of the reasons members leave the site.
Other members of Fandalism maintain that it is the amount of time one has to spend both performing and commenting on the music of others that can cause them to decrease their participation on the site.
It takes at three minutes per song on average multiplied by 20, or a full hour if one listens to a small percentage of one's fan base each day. If a musician has several hundred fans, the time required to listen to much of the music can, in fact, take several hours.
The level of activity required on social media, and the amount of time it takes, experts say, causes participation plateau, something they say has been going on for some time and impacting a number of sites, causing them to close down.
Yahoo's content site, Yahoo Voices, ended in 2014. People who had worked as writers and who made money selling articles found themselves without a regular content site for making money that included residual income. It was possible to write only a handful of articles and yet receive a check every month, as the residual income would grow over time. It was especially beneficial for those who reached the sites highest level at #10 on a scale from 1 to 10, which allowed the writer to receive twice the amount of income from page views than those of lower rank at #1. But it took early contributions and the accrual of article attention over time, along with social media participation, for anyone to reach #10. Yahoo Voices, like Fandalism, was driven largely by social media with likes, dislikes and reinforcement of page view numbers. Yet reports said the individual numbers appeared to decline, and that was one of the reasons the site eventually closed, along with what was said to be poor quality of some of the content.
While folks may complain of decreasing numbers on music and article sites, the phenomenon has been going on for several years, with the contention people begin to give up and get out of participation plateau. That, Computer gurus tell us, is the consequence of people becoming too overwhelmed by the numbers and the time that it takes to comment and post.
I asked Fandalism members for their take on what is happening on music participation and found their comments substantiate those of the experts, yet with insights as well on why people remain in spite of the problems.
These were the questions posed randomly to members on Facebook on the page Fandalism Friends, followed by their answers:
“Are most of you seeing declining numbers since you first joined?(Fandalism) What do you find is the most difficult thing in trying to keep up with the music? Do you see the better musicians actually being recognized in proportion to their talent or do you find the most "social" are the ones most recognized? Do you find yourself spending more time on social media promoting your music than actually performing it? Has it led to better opportunities over time? Do you believe there are too many sites like Fandalism, or music sites in general? Where do you believe the future might lead?
Jim Jenkin-- I think it's not any one factor, but all of them to one degree or another. "Better musicians"? Hmmm, interesting. I see people whom I might consider less talented than myself with larger followings than I have and I see technically superior musicians with smaller followings. I think it's a completely subjective measuring stick. Some people like chunky peanut butter, some like creamy, some don't like peanut butter at all. Has it lead to better opportunities? In my case, most definitely has. Increased downloads and some radio play. As for there being a social component, what facet of human interaction isn't subject to that? Of coarse it plays a role. 
Jeff Janssen I can't really say that I have. Most of the folks music that I watch fairly regularly are at a million or more views, or almost to a million. Same with me. Not that I have made a dime off of it, but it's not about the money for me. It would be nice to get paid for drumming, but that is not the case for me. Thankfully my job pays great! I drum for the love of drumming... Better opportunities? It was YouTube, not Fandalism that landed me a recording session with Manny Charlton, of Nazareth fame, but I certainly have met a lot of great musicians through Fandalism!
Jenni Chong yes, I think some have left, but I dont think its Fanda or Youtube fault.. If you are looking for instant fame, you have the wrong attitude. I have observed that in some members.
Tedd VanWagner I, personally, have found myself spending less time on Fandalism over the past few months, more so from a lack of time than a lack of interest. I have found myself involved in an increasing number of collaborations with my fellow Fandals, and as much as I enjoy listening to all the music in Fandoland, I'd much rather be playing. In that sense Fandalism has definitely increased playing opportunities for me.
Glenn Basham I think that some drop off, because it requires a lot of time, if one wants to really be involved with it. Life happens. I have noticed that some do return, when they can. I left for awhile, only because I was having computer problems, but I am back now. Because I work and spend time with the family, I cannot be on Fandalism as much as I would like, but I do my best. Some people may have left, but I have noticed that there are a lot of new artists. I have met many people and have collaborated with many artists on Fandalism, It is definitely a good thing!
Michelle Baker I agree with Glenn Basham. I haven't been on Fando in forever, so I can't speak much on the topic of dropping off, as far as views go. I can speak for myself and say that dedicating the time to it has been a huge factor in my absence.
Jason Mark Yates Social media is a good thing, but i find myself having to walk away from it at times to maintain my sanity. When you get added to groups its nice to know you have been considered but when that list of groups gets to say 55 groups and you keep getting notifications how on earth can you keep up ? Hence the walking away. I have been contacted to perform gigs due to being seen (Reverbnation) and thats a big plus. I don't like letting folks down so it puts huge pressure on me if i respond to all interactions when as a songwriter the majority of my time is about writing/performing/producing/arranging/etc, and this is a constant for me so any time i find other than that is truly limited. I think social media has followed the pattern of a lot of modern business models a kind if " In your face" approach which i can find offensive. I have to say though I have found some wonderful people on these sites and made some great friends, I just think social media needs to be dealt with moderation or it can completely rule your time.
 Yvalain Debodinance  I think there is generally less audience. There are been many bugs that lasted several days and this was very discouraging for many. Also some artists post one, two or three songs a day. Of course they have the right to do it. Due to their high number of followers these posts have some success. There is a kind of fatigue to open Fandalism and always see the same people on the top. Not everybody has the time to research deeply for the good artists who have a more modest ranking
High views number does not always reflect talent but social activity. Promotion on FB group does not change too many things I've stated, same for the automatic notification sent by Fandalism when we post.
Hervé Southman i spent too much time wanted to listen and comment all my good fando friend even i stopped to follow news ....quality of my engagement and pleasure of friendship and collab is the most important thing , not the numbers of props and popularity
Jimmy Dean Brooks Fandalism Has Not Only Brought My Music Up Front, But Has Introduced Me To Many Wonderful Artists Like You Carol. But Ever Since PUD Abandoned Fandalism, Which Was Months Ago, It Has Really Gotten Out Of Control, Since Is It Only Computer Operated NOW. There Is No Human At The Controls NOW, So Unless You Have Large Numbers Of Plays And Props Now, You Have Very Little Chance Of Getting To The Front Page And Rated Fairly By The Numbers Of Plays And Props
Ingrid Smith I only can say the best about fandalism, I found so many friends there who work in the same field as me, have the same passion, are from all over the world, some of them became my personal fb friends, yes, you do have to maintain the social media network, that is what it is all about, so for me, thumbs up,
Robert Deppe Personally I do not take my posting Fandalism seriously. I post songs I do in one or two takes. I have heard amazing talent form all across the world. I love the collaborations too. 
Alan Johnson I am certain that fandalism is purely a number crunching method,to increase comments however unfounded they are.all too often people have no concept of music at all,and post a comment like sheep.its a shame that it's gone that way because there is lots of talent out there.finally,fando has become a has been in my book.
Melvin Donovan Fandalism is like a community to me. People come and people go. I have met some of the best musicians I have ever known through this site and to actually be able to co-create with many them has been a great honor and experience. It is impossible to keep up with the flow of music on Fando and yes I do find myself spending more time on the social end of this, then the actual time playing and recording. I try to maintain a balance, but enjoy being the project coordinator too much, to always leave it to someone else. Have these music sites led to any real opportunities as in making a living doing what I love to do.......sadly no, but I am rather old and that is a pipe dream in today's market anyways! If there are too many sites, it does not matter......Fando is my home community with all it's flaws and ups and downs and I intend to stay as long as it exists! 
Social media drives the numbers, and some become discouraged, as members of Fandalism say. On the other hand, relationships have been key to participation, more than the numbers or recognition, according to those who responded to the questions posed on a discussion thread about Fandalism and social media. Time constraints can bring that "participation plateau," that the experts talk about, so daily activity may not be sustained. But people believe they have gained personally from involvement on Fandalism. What they gain, these members conclude, are the friends and collaboration with music, making participation worthwhile for many, even if the number of views decline.
More about Fandalism, Jason Yates, Yves Debodinance, music sites, Social media
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