Misrepresenting Yourself Online

Absurdist A Cappella

This time we discuss how to misrepresent yourself online.

Setting the Stage: Some groups are just awesome. They're cool, they sound great, they win awards, they do community service.

Other groups are not so awesome. They look pre-pubescent, their tone is off, they can’t buy an award, and they’ve never sung a gig outside their campus’s walls.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it has transformed a cappella from almost exclusively a live performance art to a medium that people are accustomed to digesting via Firefox. Viral videos are a fixture in the a cappella world, and almost any group around has a website and/or Facebook page. Today, people’s identities in general are defined almost equally by their real life personas and the identities they establish online through social networking and blogs. Therefore, there is no better time to fake a more idealized image for your group online.

Song Selection: First and foremost, to optimize your image, you only want to include your very best material online. Better yet, consider including material that’s even better than your best. Rather than wasting time actually learning music, perfect a lip sync routine to a Straight No Chaser song, and perform it in an empty auditorium. No one but your group and the cameraman will be the wiser and you’ll come off sounding like a million bucks.

Setting: Again, the beauty of the Internet is that you can take the live audience out of the equation and develop a completely separate image. With that in mind, the only recordings you post come from performances in front of a large audience, in which the audience reaction is so overwhelming that it, itself, is what you’re showcasing in the video. Otherwise, choose the setting of a studio or empty auditorium, or consider setting your videos in unconventional settings like a local trail, or on public transportation.

Choreography: There’s no excuse for videos you post of yourself online to look anything less than perfect. Take however many takes you need and don’t be afraid to splice videos together. Just get the job done right.

Other Notes: While this article has focused on the audio/visual presentation of yourself online, don’t be afraid to get creative with your text. For example, if you’re heading into competition, you know that there will be people from competing groups stopping over to check your group out before the show. Psyche them out by claiming to have been to the ICCA Finals 27 times in group history. Never mind the fact that the ICCA tournament has been around for 27 years. Most visitors won’t take the time to check your facts, and you’ll psyche out your would-be competition long before you set foot on the stage.