Social Networking: Blogging

In this day and age, social networking is one of the primary ways in which an a cappella group can interact with and expand upon its fan base. In this recurring feature, we explore how a group can best use different available technologies to promote itself.

A lot of fans of a cappella groups are fans just because they like the music. Others have crushes on group members, or, if you're really fortunate, follow your group just because it's the cool thing to do on campus. While these conventional means serve many groups well, there are other, proactive ways of solidifying an audience, many of which are served well when a group chooses to blog.

Blogging allows a group to share its story. Liken your a cappella group to your favorite television show. Do we like shows with good writing? Good acting? Good special effects? Yes, yes, and yes. But does any show become your favorite based on these factors alone? More likely, you're drawn into the story of what you're watching. You want to know whether Ross and Rachel will finally end up together. You want to know if Fox Mulder ever will find his sister. You want to know if Jack, Kate, and Sawyer ever will find their way off that darn island. The storytelling aspect of blogging about your a cappella group is similar. You discuss the process of learning music, of coming together as a group, of your journey through the ICCAs. Such stories make you more than just a group that knows how to sing, but a collection of people on a journey that your fans can follow along with.

On the note of presenting your group as a collection of individuals, consider capitalizing on the appeal of personal narratives. No, your group blog should not deteriorate into a LiveJournal whine-fest of group members pouring out far more information than anyone will care to read. It should, however, give fans insight into who the group members are so that they'll be all the more eager to celebrate the group's accomplishments and come to shows out of an interest in seeing the connections between real people they've read from and the performers on stage.

Blogs are generally only useful when kept relevant, so don't forget to update your blog on a regular basis. If you use it consistently, tell your stories, and let your individual personalities shine through, you will likely be pleased with the results.

ACB Interview: Peter Hollens

I first met Peter Hollens at a gathering in Manhattan, after he had served as a judge for Varsity Vocals’s Finals weekend, and after I had sat in the crowd taking feverish notes about the evening’s proceedings. Mind you, this was after Hollens accrued hundreds of thousands of subscribers for his regular releases on YouTube, after he had appeared on The Sing-Off, and after he had co-founded one of the most influential collegiate a cappella groups in the world, On the Rocks, at the University of Oregon.

Upon such an interaction, you might expect Hollens to have been brash, boldly charismatic, or a touch arrogant.

Hollens was none of these things.

He’s the sort of talent who doesn’t seem to realize how famous or celebrated he is. Or if he does realize it, he demonstrates no interest in cashing in on any associated rewards beyond having a broader platform to share his music and get other people involved.

200 Reasons to Love A Cappella: Visiting a School in the Community

For the uninitiated, it can be difficult to understand why people love a cappella. Heck, even for those of us who do actively enjoy it, it can be difficult to put into words why we enjoy this art form so. While we’ll never have a truly comprehensive list of everything cool about a cappella, 200 Reasons to Love A Cappella is our best attempt at assembling a list of what makes it great.

Reason #60: Visiting a School in the Community