If you’ve noticed the #SEODJWed hashtag in your twitter stream, it’s a safe bet you have asked yourself that very question – I know I did.
In a nutshell, #SEODJWed is a group of SEOs from around the world with a wide range of musical tastes, each sending out links to music they enjoy, or have been asked to play… and it happens on Wednesday. It’s been dubbed “Social DJing”, I just call it fun. It’s the way radio ought to be, great music, an occasional interesting story and no commercials. It’s defiantly NOT your parents’ radio.
To find out more about what it is and how it got started, I did an email interview with some of the frequent contributors. I sent questions to Monica Wright (@MonicaWright), Tony Verre (@TonyVerre) and Steve Plunkett (Steve does his DJing as @djpaisley), and since I recently started pitching in, I figured I provide my own answers as well – that doesn’t make me crazy, right?
How did #SEODJWed get started?
Monica Wright is credited with creating the concept (before it got the hashtag), so I asked her how it got started.
It started really back this winter – one day I noticed Branko Rihtman (@neyne) was pushing out music via Grooveshark and not blip.fm, so I got on and we started sharing music pretty regularly. Then one day I threw it out on Twitter and asked if people wanted to hear Led Zeppelin or More Americana / AAA format music (The Doves, Conner Oburst, Hot Tuna, that sort of thing) and got a resounding response for Led Zeppelin. People started making requests, I started sending out tributes, and then next thing you know Tony Verre gave it the hashtag of #seodjwed. The following Wednesday Tony and I chatted about what we were going to play, and it went from there.
I’ve talked about music quite a bit with @djpaisley, @netmeg, @michellerobbins and Tony, so they were all part of the group. Contributors now just happen – you Jack started contributing – and I recall Branko doing an 8o’s stint once this spring. Now Steve Plunkett, and @melyssatweeting have joined in as well. Tony has been the most consistent, though. I try to take part, but most of my meetings happen on Wednesdays while in the office.
But the magic is that it just happened. Nobody really “owns” it, nobody is territorial, and anything goes. And it’s not just playing the music, people actually listen and make requests, share lyrics, you name it.
There was a subtle thing that happened at SMX Advanced this year… Chris Sherman asked attendees in advance what they want to listen to. I suggested a few songs, ones I actually really got into from #seodjwed. While at the meet and greet before the conference I heard one of the very random (and not well-known at all) songs I requested. Of course I pulled out my phone, DM’d Branko, “Holy crap they are playing PlayRadioPlay!”
And it wasn’t even a Wednesday.
How do you share music with Twitter?
There are a several different tools for “tweeting” what you are listening too, I asked each of these “Social DJs” what their favorite is and why;
Blip.fm – integration into feeds.. prohibits download of music w/o buying from itunes, amazon or soundcloud of course.
Personally, I like Grooveshark. The interface is really straight-forward. It’s easy for me to create playlists, spending 30 minutes lining up songs, and then roll them out.
I like Grooveshark, but I use Blip occasionally as well. I just got used to the interface, and I have a desktop app, so all the ads and video aren’t flashing in my face like Blip. I haven’t really listened to Pandora much lately.
I really like the selection at grooveshark, and the fact that it’s not polluted with people doing their at home karaoke versions of songs, but I stick to blip.fm because it creates a channel based on the #SEODJWed hashtag, people can jump in at anytime and start listening, regardless of who tweets the song and they don’t need to click each song individually.
How do you find the music you share?
To me, it seems the DJs have an endless supply of great music at their fingertips, I asked how they choose the music they play;
I like to pick themes each week, genres if you will. Sometimes I just have no inspiration, and field requests. Monica and I wanted it to be a spontaneous expression; just play good tunes. Unfortunately, when I think that people depend on something (and hopefully they do) I start thinking about songs and playlists on Monday. It’s sad, and little pathetic, but, hey, I’m a people-pleaser.
I just kind of go with it. I try to find new stuff from other people (that’s usually my mission), but I go with whatever I feel like listening to. And then when other people start requesting or sending feedback, sometimes themes can happen.
I go for breaking club hits from the UK, local hip hop radio playlists and secret releases from artists that leak to me.
I play a lot of my favorites from “back in the day”, I ask for requests, but also rely on Google to provide “best of” lists that I pull titles from. I know that’s cheating, but it’s amazing I often I find myself thinking “Wow, I forgot about that song – I loved that song back then.”
What’s your favorite music?
The music that gets played by these people varies wildly, I was curious if they had a favorite genre;
That too goes with the mood. I know it seems like I am avoiding the question. Maybe the better question is “What is your favorite genre lately?” That would be a lot of indie stuff (if you classify it that way) – The Doves, Vampire Weekend, PlayRadioPlay!… you can see what I’m listening to on Grooveshark and Blip, that would be easiest.
As the old man of the group (you kids get off my lawn!) I tend to lean towards the classics of rock and punk from the ‘70s and 80’s.
What music won’t you play?
One of the great things about SOCIAL DJing is that people don’t feel compelled to play something they don’t like. I asked the DJ’s if there was anything they wouldn’t play;
Been doing this for a while now, and I noticed I don’t play much hip-hop at all. However, that’s about to change (next #SEODJWed it’s happening). As for anything I won’t play? So far I haven’t had that challenge, and I hope it stays that way. J I try to keep to fun and play meaningful, nostalgic stuff.
Haven’t gotten there yet, but anything REALLY noisy, violent or crude. It’s just not my thing.
I’m really not a fan of hip-hop or rap, but if somebody requests something that doesn’t make me feel like jamming a pencil in my ear, I’ll still play it.
Why do you do it?
Given how busy I know these people are, I wondered why they took time from their work-day to do this every week;
#SEODJWed started out as something that Monica Wright (@monicawright) and I put together, after Michelle Robbins (@michellerobbins) suggested it. We’re both music junkies, quite eclectic tastes between us, but have a base in jam-band bands.
I’ve really enjoyed doing it the last few months. For me it’s another creative outlet, crafting musical themes each week and really stretching my music catalog. I really do believe it’s a more than sharing music; at sub-conscious level, you’re helping people share memories. Where you were when you heard that song, what you doing when you heard that song; your own personal wormhole.
Not to mention I think it’s another unique way to make the Twitter space less about hyper-information sharing, but give it more panache, in the same manner FollowFriday gave people something to look forward to each week.
Admittedly, #SEODJWed runs the risk of being “played out” in the same way FollowFriday did, but I think it’s still little to obscure for that yet (once people start spamming the hashtag, we’ll simultaneously know we’ve made it and know that’s it’s dead. J)
Why not? It happened organically, now it’s an event.
I love music.. if I wasn’t doing SEO I would be dj’ing in a club.
It gives me some time to “shut off the SEO” for a while and just have fun. In the middle of the week, that can sometimes be a life saver.
I’d like to thank Monica, Tony and Steve for taking the time to answer these questions – and for letting me play along on Wednesdays. If you aren’t already familiar with these people, you really should make a point of checking out the things they do.