Quotes of the Week: Twitter Ambience

No social network is right for everyone, and Twitter is just one among many. What’s interesting about Twitter is how by doing very little it has provided numerous sorts of interaction — that is, it’s used differently by different groups of people.

Especially with the advent of its “lists” function, which allows users to compile related Twitter profiles (“musicians,” “san francisco area food,” “green politics,” “novelists”), it’s an amazing place to alternately parse and absorb reams of tangentially related material. The first list that I created at Twitter was twitter.com/disquiet/ambient, which takes the word “ambient” as a wide range of sound-for-sound’s-sake people, sound art, quiet-music, and so forth. This ambient list currently follows 109 feeds. And these are merely a few of the comments that have surfaced from that flow during the past week:

ChrisRandall: I think if you need to use the word “bit” as a descriptor of your music or instrument, I’m reaching for the “Skip” button. twitter.com/ChrisRandall

ChrisRandall: (Just an opinion, mind, but I don’t think I can take another bare-ass naked square wave.) twitter.com/ChrisRandall

DaveSeidel: Been walking and driving with a buddha machine playing in the pocket of my fleece vest. Not visible, just barely audible. twitter.com/DaveSeidel

experimedia: Is questioning if agreeing to exclusive distribution in this scene is counterprodutive or not. twitter.com/experimedia

robinrimbaud: Philips have re-rendered their body horror film, tattoo possibilities of the future, with my soundtrack :-) http://tiny.cc/H59yk twitter.com/robinrimbaud

audiobulb: Read my latest @madmimi newsletter: http://mim.io/ae791 twitter.com/audiobulb

Some work individually (comments, observations, news, links), while others aren’t really quotable here because they mean more in how they either intersect and overlap (i.e., when posts from a certain event provide a kind of awareness of what’s occurring there). Others still are only meaningful to the extent that you value a given individual’s work-in-progress, but if there’s a musician you enjoy who uses Twitter, it can be a great way to find out where they are at, not just geographically and socially, but creatively and psychologically.

There’s a certain humor to the fact that the word “ambient” is, as well, a word often applied to Twitter itself, and to like-functioning social networking tools, by which it’s mean that they provide a kind of passive informational awareness of individuals, scenes, events, and so forth. While the two types of ambient — the purely sonic and the broadly informational — are only somewhat related, the former provides metaphorical heft to the latter, and observations about our audio environment do lend themselves to wider consideration.

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