Call and Response

Smartphones, like the Internet, are a perfect example of the potential for interconnectedness between people all around the world. This represents a new age of communication that is increasingly finding its way through the use of digital social media. When someone shares something, that interaction allows knowledge to be exchanged between two or more people from different backgrounds and experiences. Sharing facilitates meaningful conversation and that, in turn, builds a relationship. In music, we call this call and response. It is a pretty simple concept: one musician plays something and another plays something back. You can think about this as a sort of Q&A.

Digital social media is built upon a similar premise: people sharing information. Whether that information is valuable to someone depends on three things:

  • If it entertains.
  • If it helps make better decisions.
  • If it is exchangeable.

In the broad-spectrum of the Internet and smartphones, these values influence how we communicate. This is especially true with geolocation.

From my understanding, geolocation is an extension of geodemographic marketing except it is kind of in reverse. The older geodemographic marketing systems, such as PRIZM, focus on maps of different areas that rank neighborhoods on their potential to purchase specific products and services. Nowadays, our smartphones are compatible with digital social media applications that allow us to drive demand by sharing/recommending businesses we like based on our specific interests. In other words, digital social media has given consumers the power to rank businesses. At this rate, geolocation has become a socio-cultural factor in planning appropriate marketing strategies on the business end.



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AIDA for Asa Bass-A

Text messages, video, radio broadcasts (or podcasts), fliers – the list goes on. For me, as a musician, I have been increasingly reliant on my cell phone to text friends and acquaintances about my gigs since I killed my social media platforms over a year ago. Although it doesn’t sound too high tech, I have been bringing in quite a few people to my shows using this method because people are interested in the entertainment I bring to the table, want to see me live, and decide to text their friends (Me directly texting friends à friends directly texting their friends, etc. = audience at where I play). So far, I have been doing pretty darn good. I’ve been filling up venues and at the end of the day, venue owners are happy and want me to keep playing at their establishment on a weekly basis; my friends are happy to get out and do something new; and I am happy to see that they are all happy. Seems simple enough but I have indeed been struggling. I have been slowly figuring out how to be as or more effective in creating awareness using social media. As of late I have been using Twitter to generate awareness but it does not seem to be as effective as my primitive cell phone text strategy. I also have been attempting to record myself playing a bit and making short announcements with my new blogger camera but, again, I am trying to figure out how to edit digital film (a separate story completely). That doesn’t mean I’m giving up – oh no! I am learning that I must increase my conversation frequency and increase mention of my whereabouts so people can really understand my sentiments. Hey, I know I’m behind but, as they say, better late than never!

As far as lead generation strategy goes, I constantly have to ask myself, “Why are people interested in listening to a bassist who sings?” I know, I know…it seems pretty lame from the sound of it, but I use the bass, typically a backing instrument, as a lead instrument that I harmonize with. I have dedicated quite a bit of time doing this (13 years to be exact) and I want to be able to share with people that the bass is not just an instrument that plays root notes – it can be played up front and center too.

Ideally, my strategy is as follows:

Step 1: I use my busking permit to play my upright bass in public. Since people don’t see an upright very often, many people are prone to come up and ask what that thing is. This is my version of a search query. In other words, my upright is my conversation piece.

Step 2: Once I get a buzz going in public, I will direct people to recordings that I have on YouTube and SoundCloud.

Step 3: From my videos and sound recordings, I direct people to my Twitter account so they know when and where I will be playing.

Step 4: At my shows, I will share my final product – a set that will be comprised of my original music.

I know I’m a bit rough around the edges but I have to start somewhere. Hope you enjoy!


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Sharing Is Caring…And Social!

Digital social media is all about sharing ideas in what seems to be an on-going stream of communication. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have enabled us to spread our messages anytime and anywhere – all over the world in fact. The tough part isn’t about being able to network with people from around the world; it is about how to communicate to the world effectively. In other words, digital social media is also about how we can get our messages to stand out.

Many people have taken all sorts of approaches to increase awareness of who they are and what they do – their brand – but very few have been effective at doing so. This isn’t because they don’t know how different social media platforms work, it’s because they are not thinking outside the box (or looking at the world “upside down”). At this point I would like to shed some light on a person who thinks outside the box that I have come across in the course of my studies. His name is DJ Waldow and he has created a very interesting social media experiment, dubbed “Project Awesome.”

Project Awesome was born out of a rough patch that DJ Waldow had gone through. To summarize it, the company he was working for was bought out and he lost his job. Many of the people I know would be terribly sad and wouldn’t know what to do. Not DJ Waldow! Instead of griping, DJ Waldow found an opportunity to expand. He decided to pull his work experience and interests in digital social media together and created a game plan.

First, DJ Waldow leveraged his social networks to reach out to the people he had built trusted relationships with. He asked his friends to film 30 second “Hire DJ” clips. As a matter of fact you can see them here:

Second, DJ Waldow created an interactive resume, which you can see here:

And last but not least, DJ Waldow posted all of these components on his very own blog called “Social Butterfly Guy.” From his blogosphere, people could comment, share, and pass the word along even more. Eventually, DJ Waldow became the Founder and CEO of Waldow Social, an email marketing company.

It is without a doubt that DJ Waldow’s social media experiment was a success. Of the many things that I have learned from DJ Waldow and Project Awesome, I would have to say the most important are:

  • You must believe that you add to the value of those around you (check out the “About” section on his company’s site);
  • You must  explain why you care about your community;
  • You must be engaging (I tweeted DJ yesterday and he got back to me pretty darn quick…I was kind of surprised).

Aside from those points, DJ Waldow has inspired me to create an interactive resume. I think that was definitely a great touch.

Thanks DJ!!!

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The Social Media Revolution – Week 2

Oh boy! This video was a 4-minute crunch of facts and statistics that blew my mind.

  • “Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé” – This just shows how social media is ripping through our digital landscape. But is social media marketing completely beating out email marketing? Check this link to see what some critics say: I, for one, will definitely use both for musical endeavors.
  • “Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old” – With the distribution across social network sites aside (, this tells me that the next wave of heavy users of social networking sites will most likely be my age. According to, I will definitely need to pick up Facebook (once again) and Reverb Nation to pursue my musical goals and hit my mark with digital socialites.
  • “Kindergartens are learning on iPads” – If kindergartners are using iPads, they will become masters of the social media realm by the time they are in middle school. To me, this means that accessibility of digital goods is going to be more prevalent in the coming generations.
  • “Social gamers will buy $6 billion in virtual goods by 2013” – Social gaming is perhaps one of the biggest segments for music as well. Check this video out with Steve Schnur from EA Games: He explains the convergence of music and games.
  • “YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world” – Considering that YouTube is a video-sharing website, to be the second largest search engine in the world is purely amazing. This proves how social media has changed the conventional “search” of a normal browser like Google or Yahoo. I hope to be sharing videos with all of you before the end of this class. I shall keep you updated!

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My Hiatus

I had an interesting dream the other night. My dad, who passed away last December, came into my dreams and asked me, “Why are you struggling Asa, habibi?” I told him, “I have a lot on my mind, dad. I have classes, work, my shows, and I feel like I am failing for some reason.” When I woke up, that is about all I remembered.

I checked my twitter account yesterday and saw Professor Herzog’s tweet about his father which prompted me to get my butt back in gear (not to mention gave me a chill up my spine). Last week, Professor Herzog and I spoke about changing my organization from “me as a musician” to “Market Basket,” which is where I work, or an “artist/musician who I admire.” At this point I have to say that I cannot change my organization to either of those options not because I am a stubborn half-wit but because I have a mission in mind that I haven’t “sold” very well to my class (or anybody, really).

The idea that I am attending graduate school is because I want to further my career as a musician. My dad never understood my creative ways or where they came from but he had faith in my decisions to better myself and succeed with my music; he always told me to follow my passion. I used to have digital social media on lock – that is, I used to be a heavy user of Facebook, Myspace, and was just starting to get into Twitter. When I was finishing up my undergraduate thesis last year, I studied lots about intellectual property and decided that I was using these social media platforms irresponsibly. Simply put, I killed off my accounts with the hopes of coming back “on the grid” at a later time, having a better strategy for representing my music. Well, as we know, I am a digital nobody and coming into a class which requires the use of digital media is, well, difficult to say the least.

I would like to make things more clear about me as a musician:

  1. I am a sole-proprietorship that sells entertainment.
  2. I have no existing digital footprint.
  3. I will utilize the required digital media platforms of the class (and others) to create awareness for my shows.
  4. I will use Twitter to share with people where I will be playing and I will use YouTube and SoundCloud to generate interest in the music I perform.

Not only do I look at this class as an opportunity to get back on the grid but I also think I make a good example of “expanding a digital footprint.” I want to go from digital nobody to digital somebody. Hopefully, I can begin to make this happen.

(Some inspiring words by Gavin Friday @


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Extraterritoriality and the Internet

After watching Professor Herzog’s lecture, I really thought about the part where he said “if you are not sharing, you are not being social – you are just broadcasting.” This is something I totally agree with but, for some reason, I started thinking about sharing information to other people from other countries and how their countries’ laws may not accept some of the information I may be sharing. So, I wrote this little blurb:

The Internet is the latest and greatest technology dedicated to transmitting and receiving information in various formats; it was created in the United States for the purpose of sharing free information and, today, is one of the most effective as well as controversial methods of communication around the world. On one hand, the Internet has enhanced societies – people are able to research information, socialize, keep up with their friends and family, create and share documents and other works, and purchase goods all at the click of a mouse, anytime and anywhere. On the other, it does not recognize national boundaries – the Internet itself is border-less. Therefore, as the Internet continues to grow, both in number of users and capacity, it also has become enmeshed in a seemingly constant struggle to remain “open.” The decentralized nature of the Internet has created a clash of laws and governments that point to the issue of extraterritoriality. 

As we know, social media is a very powerful tool in today’s world but the idea of extraterritoriality really makes me think that the Internet indeed has borders. THAT can be a bad thing for us digital socialites.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?


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My Organization(s) (Repeat from BB)

Hello everyone,

In my Introduction I stated that I work at Market Basket, however, I would like to continue through with my blog posts and research within our class as a musician who wants to create a new music business model in the digital era. As a matter of fact, and as I have planned, my thesis for the MBA program will be all about this music business model. I am well read in intellectual property and I have been following many different new music business models (pandora, spotify, and deezer to name a few) so that I can employ what I feel can be successful for my future. This course is so very important for my understanding and development with all that there is digital and seeing as I have little experience with newer digital social media tools, it would be great if you could assist me with things that I am doing “right” and things that I am doing “wrong.” Without further ado, I will just go ahead and post my blogs, blackboard texts, and tweets as it pertains to the world of music in the digital era. Thank you kindly!


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