Waking of the Canoes

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Spring has arrived and tomorrow we will be re-introducing the Blue Heron canoe to the water. Many Tribes around the PNW are doing the same.

Some Tribes believe that after canoe pulling season, canoes are to be put away to rest for the winter; others say, a canoe never sleeps. Either way, come spring there is a Waking of the Canoe ceremony.  We gather together with our canoes and ask the Creator to bless the vessel and give us safe travels and a good journey.

As I stated before, the waters can be dangerous and adequate preparation involves not just the physical component, but the spiritual as well. One cannot underestimate the power and might of the sea. Our Ancestors knew that very well.

Will you please support my campaign?

http://www.gofundme.com/7mo7qw

New Contributing Blogger for the Huffington Post!

Hey everyone,

So honored and grateful to all of you who read my blogs. I truly appreciate it. I’m happy to say that I’m now a Contributing Blogger for the Huffington Post! I’ll be editing old blog posts and writing new ones. I hope you’ll follow me there as well!

Peace.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carla-moreno/

Social Media For Musicians: Social Media Etiquette

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Social media etiquette is something that slips many people’s minds. Why this is so, I’m not sure, but if you’re trying to expand your online presence for your band, music, or business; it’s important to remember some basic manners. Knowing this may eliminate some misunderstandings and misconceptions about social media, its purpose, use, and effectiveness.

While many of the things listed below seem common sense, somewhere in the pursuit of online freedom of speech, we’ve lost respect and a sense of direction on how to relate with one another. As a result, we harbor negative feelings about social media in general and often misuse a tool that was meant for good.

Social Media Does Not Replace Real Life Relationships.
Although the rise of the internet has changed the way we communicate today, it was never meant to replace real life interactions.

Social media is no different.

In this landscape, people gather together online to share interests and/or activities. Think of it as an online community where each person is represented by their unique profiles, bios, photos, etc. Interaction is still very present and important, or at least should be. Get to know your audience.

Respond For Goodness Sakes!
I’m always amazed at how lax some people can get on this. Gosh, some people just downright forego responding altogether.

This goes back to the first point above: social media does not replace real life relationships!

If you’re in a business and have clients and fans, why in the world would you ignore them? I’m pretty sure this isn’t something you practice in your real-life business affairs. If you fail to respond in a timely manner, you lose out. It’s as simple as that. Not only do you lose out on making new fans and clients, but you jeopardize your credibility and trustworthiness.

Manners Please…
I stand amazed at the liberty some people take in berating others, insulting them, and just being plain rude.

I mean seriously, what do you think you’ll get out of this?

I believe manners are something you learned in kindergarten and it applies to all life situations, people. No one wants an ass for a friend.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing our opinions is not a bad thing, but some people do it with a sense of entitlement, jumping in on a conversation not having built a relationship with anyone and with no regard to people’s feelings. Imagine a stranger on the street throwing insults at you without rhyme or reason and without even knowing who you are.

Manners pave the way to relationships and demonstrates to your fans that you respect and value what they have to say. Most importantly manners, or lack of them, say a lot about you. You’ll make a bigger impact after you’ve spent time letting people get to know you.

By the way if someone posts or tweets a negative comment to you, respond accordingly and respectfully. Use it as an opportunity to reassess your business tactic — of course you can’t please everybody, so just take it with a grain of salt.

Remember The “Social” In Social Media
If all you’re going to do is push your agenda and broadcast your tour dates or sell your music and nothing more then once again, you lose out.

First of all, it’s a pretty selfish thing to seek out people for the sole purpose of promoting your stuff. Is that how you make friends in your everyday life? I don’t think so.

Your fans love your music, but they also want to know what makes you tick. What else do you like to do besides make music? Have a sense of humor and social-ize. See what I did there? 😉

Share things that inspire you, say something new, share someone else’s success story, business, or music. Don’t inundate your fans with your entire album. Create teasers or pick a favorite single and tell a little bit about it. What inspired you to write that song? Ask your fans what songs they’d like to hear from you? Get them to talk about their favorite songs from other artists.

Time Is Of Essence
In the last 5 years, I’ve moved halfway across the country to various cities and states. I’ve done it all by myself too. Naturally, making new friends is hard and building lasting relationships is even harder.

It takes time.

And so in the world of social media, it takes time to build a lasting relationship with your clients and fans. It’s easy to get frustrated and in the land of instant everything, we expect to see results…NOW!

That’s not going to happen and you might as well deal with that fact. This is why it’s important to devote time to really learning the social media landscape, be creative in your posts, listen more, speak less, and engage.

What social media rules do you abide by? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On Being Able To Say “Farewell, Seattle”

Dear Seattle,

I never thought this day would come. After five years of fun, risky, wonderful, and life changing adventures, the time has come to bid you farewell. It seems like only yesterday I was telling my friends and family in Texas that I was finally going to take the leap of faith and move here to explore new possibilities.

I fell in love with you upon my first visit back in 1999. The stunning views of the Olympic and Cascade mountains were the most magnificent things I’d ever seen. The ice blue color and crashing waves of the Pacific ocean sent chills down my spine. The smell of evergreens, the Space Needle, Mt. Rainier, the ferries, the bookshops, all these things and more left me yearning to be here. So in August of 2007, after 6 months of prayers, planning, and packing I made my new home here in the Emerald City.

Truthfully, other than the job I had lined up, I really didn’t know what else I’d be doing here. Of course, I was met with much resistance from friends and family who thought it preposterous to move 2,000+ miles away and alone. On the other hand, there were those who supported my decision knowing that I was too creative to be stuck in my one teaching job and too adventurous to be stuck living in the South.

I was destined for bigger and better things.

I know I’m only moving down to neighboring Portland, but you’ve played a very important role in my life journey. I take with me some very valuable lessons — lessons I’ll never forget.

I’ve learned how easily we trick ourselves into believing there’s only one “right” way to live life when in fact, it’s only that way within the context of the bubble we live in. Pop that bubble and you quickly realize your way of thinking is a minuscule ideal in the brain of the planet.

I’ve learned to cope with life without my mom after her unexpected death less than a year after moving here. I’ve learned to let go of my guilt, grievances, and deal with the expectations of my Latino community back home.

Among many challenges including, surviving a concussion from a rafting accident and a broken ankle from a solo hike in the woods, I’ve learned that I’m stronger and more resilient than I’ve led myself to believe.

I’ve learned about social justice issues, the state of arts education, and racism in the northwest. I’ve learned that an ultra progressive person can be just as annoying as an ultra conservative one. Just sayin’.

I’ve been introduced to the importance of recycling, new music, new people, walking up hills, bicycling up hills, lots of rain, and of course the coffee culture.

In just five years, I’ve worked as an emcee, a radio dj, a music programmer, a host at a reputable jazz club, a writer, a teacher, a social media consultant, a vocal coach, and even served as an artist-in-service for an initiative set by Congress.

Whew! I’ve been busy.

I’m sure there are some people reading this letter thinking “it’s not like she wouldn’t have these experiences elsewhere” or “there’s nothing unique about her life experiences.” Well, they’re correct, I’m sure I’ll experience many things similar and different somewhere beyond here, but my life experiences need not matter to anyone else other than me. My time here in Seattle is significant because of where I came from, where I am, and where I’m going in my life journey.The fact is, I’ve undergone a major paradigm shift and as a result, I have a better understanding of the greater purpose in being here.

Seattle, my fair city, you’ve served as the place where I would experience growth and transformation. You’ve given me quiet places to pray, breathe, and meditate my life journey. You provided miraculous sunsets over the coast that left me entranced and pondering adventures beyond the horizon. I’ve reinvented myself surrendering to new possibilities and creating endless opportunities. My survival skills have been tested to the core. I’ve learned what true christianity is all about. I’ve learned to work harder, love stronger, and enjoy each day as if it were the last. Most importantly, you’ve introduced me to the man I love and the reason I’m relocating to Portland.

My life is enriched simply because I took the risk — and for that I’m grateful.

Thank you, dearest Seattle. You hold a special place in my heart. I will visit and return to those quiet places that carried me through many life circumstances, but for now I must I bid you a adieu.

Until next time.

Social Media For Musicians – Twitter 101

When dealing with the various social media platforms, I find that most people are confused about twitter — which is understandable considering the speed, real-time interaction, and terminology.

With that in mind, I’ve written this post as part of my Social Media For Musiciansseries, to provide some clarity and give you a better understanding of the world of twitter.

WHAT IS TWITTER?
Twitter is a microblogging platform, meaning, a type of blog where you can text short updates about your thoughts, observations, and day-to-day happenings. Often, twitter gets a bad rap due to some people’s updates that are predominately about what they’re having for breakfast or the latest episode of some crazy reality show.

The fact is, every social media platform including YouTube, Facebook, and others have gone through the ringer in public opinion at some point or another. As I stated in my last post, social media can be very effective provided you knowhow to use it. Twitter is no exception.

TWITTER TERMINOLOGY
Tweet: Tweets are short updates with a maximum of 140 characters, spaces included. The character limit seems harsh to some people, but twitter is meant for short interactions and as they say…brevity is profundity.

Retweet: Part of the twitter fun is sharing someone else’s information that you find interesting and informative. Much like Facebook, when you read a status update that catches your eye and peaks your interest, you “share” it — well, a retweet works the same way. It’s simply sharing another person’s tweet on your twitter stream.

You can either do this by clicking on the “retweet” button on your twitter page which will duplicate the exact same content on your stream:

…or you can manually type “RT” before the twitter handle, paste the tweet content, and add some of your own comments as well.

@replies or @mentions: When you want to reply or mention someone in a particular tweet, you can press the reply button on your twitter page, or type the @ “at” symbol followed by the person’s twitter handle. For example:

Hashtag (#): A hashtag (#) is a way to organize your information on twitter and/or create a buzz on a particular topic such as, an album title, local event, news, concert venue, etc. You can create a hashtag for anything and once you do, it becomes a searchable link.

For example, a popular hashtag is #MusicMonday. Every Monday, people tweet their favorite music and/or artist followed by #MM or #MusicMonday to generate exposure and/or discover new music.

You can use an already existing hashtag or create a new one.

As social media consultant for singer-songwriter Melody Walker, I worked with her in creating her own personal hashtag — #GoldRushGoddess — to generate exposure on her debut album and upcoming tour.

Since the start of this part in her social media strategy, her album and twitter handle, @melodiouswalker, are now viral with her music being played nationwide and even in Europe!

In addition, she’s grown nearly 100 new quality followers.

Keep in mind when using a hashtag (#) there are no spaces between words and remember, consistency is key!

DM (Direct Message): A DM or direct message is a private message between you and another twitter recipient. Think of it as a twitter email with only 140 characters. You can find the DM box on the upper right hand corner of your twitter page:

List: As of February 2012, it’s estimated that there are 290 million tweets streaming through the twittersphere per day. Wow! And while that’s a world-wide statistic, the more people you follow, the more overwhelming it is to see tweets passing through your stream at the speed of light.

This is where the twitter list comes in handy.

A list groups certain followers into a specified category making it easier to can get an overview of what people are tweeting. It’s also a great way to find new people to follow.

Here’s an example of a “world music” list by @MyWorldMusic. As a member, whenever I want see tweets specifically on this topic, I can just pop over to this list and check out what’s going on.

URL Shortener: Since there are only 140 precious characters to use in a tweet, it’s a good idea to suscribe to a URL shortener service like, bit.ly. Services like this shorten a longer web address freeing up character space.

So, there it is.

Now that you have some basic twitter terminology under your belt, as a musician, you can use twitter to share your music and connect with other artist and fans. You can tweet about tour dates, status updates in the recording studio, manufacturing process on your CD, photos of concert/shows, and more.

Take a look at how Melody uses instragram (iphone photo application) and Youtube to post photos and videos of her tour and recording sessions:

       

It’s all about building relationships with your fans and having a little fun. People may not come to your concerts and buy albums right away, but with time and patience, the relationships you cultivate will likely bring people around to your gigs and buy your music!

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. Cheers!

~ Carla

Social Media Basics for Musicians – Getting a Handle on Twitter and Facebook

Since starting my work as social media consultant, I see many of my fellow musician friends and clients frustrated with their social media experience. They’re confused and overwhelmed with the various platforms, terminology, and constant changes.

So, I thought I’d write a post on some social media basics just for musicians. I’m also primarily focusing on twitter and Facebook because love it or hate it, these social platforms provide the best interactions and dialogue with your fans and followers — provided you know HOW to use it.

More often than not, I see musicians setting up twitter and Facebook accounts, posting status updates, tweeting once in a blue moon, and not following anyone. Lots of times, they rely on their immediate friends to like their page or follow their twitter, but don’t get the gist of building a larger audience and truly connecting.

Regardless of the platform, you need to establish a relationship with your followers and engage in conversation.

Yes, this takes time and a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the long run.

TWITTER
Twitter is a great tool for promoting your music, but it’s also an effective tool for interacting with your fans and followers. If you already have a twitter account, that’s great! If not…what are you waiting for?

Profile Photo
Choose a good quality photo that shows your face. It personalizes your page, lets people know who you are and believe it or not, it generates trust. Steer away from blurry photos, instruments, and the infamous faceless twitter egg. If you have a brand or music logo, use it as your background image.

Twitter Bio
I can’t express enough the importance of a good twitter bio. It’s crucial in gaining new followers and making you more searchable through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Describe your music with words that will help people find you and don’t be afraid to add a little creativity to it as well — a little spunk adds personality! Check out my twitter bio here: @carlitarocks

Just remember, you only have 160 characters available, so word it wisely.

Follow Who?
Start off by following your friends then search their follower list for people you think might be interested in you and add them as well. It’s also a good idea to follow any local venues, radio stations, other bands or artists similar to you, and people in your scene. But don’t just stay in the confines of your town or city, look outside the box and follow musicians both near and far.

Take note that following is just one piece of the puzzle. You need to remember quality over quantity. You want to create a true fan base and engage your followers, so don’t overwhelm yourself by following a whole bunch of people right off the bat.

Tweet Me Some Updates!

Tweet updates from the studio when recording, manufacturing process on your CD, instragram photos from your shows, album release dates, ticket giveaways, and other news.

Be Social.
As I stated earlier, you want to engage your followers. Social media is about dialogue and interaction. You’re not a robot and no note wants to follow one. Show your followers that you’re interested in what they have to say. Have a little fun and be personable, remember, you get what you give.

FACEBOOK

If you haven’t migrated to the new timeline already, you might as well, because as of March 30, everyone will be set to the new timeline on Facebook. Interestingly, while some people may complain about this new feature, you’ll see that it’s proves quite useful for musicians, especially when setting up an artist or band page.

Profile and Cover Photo
The new features on Facebook allow a cover photo option in addition to your profile photo. The cover photo is perfect for your brand or music logo. Take a look at this blog by Reverb Nation, 4 Bands With Killer Facebook Timelines, it shows some simple, yet eye-catching covers. It’s the first thing people see, so again I remind you of the importance in using good quality photos.

Facebook does have some guidelines regarding cover photos, so make sure you’re clear on that before posting anything. Check it out here: Facebook Cover Photo Guidlines.

About Me
Your about section is only 150 characters, less than twitter so again, be succinct and creative.

The description section allows for a much longer and in depth bio of who you are and what your music is all about, so take advantage of this and craft something awesome! Make sure you provide contact information, email, and website address too.

LIKE…it’s a good thing!
A lot of people send invites to like their artist page, but seldom like anyone else. Why this is so, I’m not sure, but if you’re going to build relationships, you need to stop thinking about yourself and share the love.

Build your community and reach out to other artists. Recommend their music and start a conversation. Post their accomplishments, videos, and music on your page. We’re all one big family here!

And it’s perfectly okay to post some other things that interest you — it’s fun, personal, and creates dialogue. Your fans want to know more about you!

Updates
Let me just state that I’m not a fan of linking your Facebook page to your twitter account or vice versa, and there are many other social media folks who agree. It’s redundant, robotic feeling, and counter intuitive since both platforms serve completely different purposes. You also risk overloading your followers and losing them in one, if not both of your sites.

The Facebook links also take up a good amount of your 140 characters on twitter which in turn, prevents people from retweeting your information.

Twitter is viral and meant for brevity and shorter interactions. A tweet’s lifespan is short in duration with interactions happening immediately after posting.

The lifespan of a Facebook status update however, can go on for hours or days after posting.

Facebook is an opportunity to create deeper dialogue with your followers and engage in more substantial conversations. You can also add polls, photo albums, and other music applications.

Think REAL-TIME versus ON GOING.

— — —

Whew! Are you freaking out now? I hope not!

Again, it’s important to remember that all of this takes time. Don’t expect to get it done in one day and don’t expect social media to fizzle out because it’s not. It will change again and you’ll have to keep up — that is, if you’re serious about promoting your music.

While these tips may seem obvious, I see many folks out there who are still struggling with the basics. Many of my musicians friends are creating accounts or adding several pages instead of cleaning up the one they’ve got.

Focus.

Twitter and Facebook are powerful, don’t underestimate it. Of course, we can go more in depth with these platforms and others, but hopefully this will help get you started.

I’m here to help you, so message me or comment below. If there’s something that’s already working for you, share it with us. We would love to hear your thoughts!

For more information and tips join me on my Facebook page!

facebook.com/carlamoreno

~ Carla

Introducing Melody Walker

As I listen to Gold Rush Goddess, a new album from my newest social media client, Melody Walker, I can tell you the inspiration to this post flows as easily and smoothly as her voice.

I met Melody a couple of years ago at the Northwest Folklife Festival here in Seattle. She was touring with the all female vocal group, AkaBella. A feminine powerhouse in their own right, it’s great watching Melody continue to expand her musical prowess as a solo artist.

Hailing from northern California, Melody’s globally-infused vocal stylings coupled with Jacob Groopman’s bluegrass roots from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia — create a superb amalgamation of musical energy.

Melody’s soft, but firm alto voice takes you on a transcendent journey into an ethereal existence. The track “Martinez” is a perfect example of her exquisite songwriting abilities and Jacob’s wistful, jazzy-inspired guitar playing. In addition, you’ll be blown away by her folk rendition of Blondie’s song, “Dreaming.”

I’m extremely happy to serve as Melody’s social media consultant expanding her twitter following and getting her more well deserved recognition throughout social media platforms. If you’re into Alison Krauss, Ani DiFranco, and Woody Guthrie, then I encourage you to check out this album and follow Melody on her musical adventures–indeed you will be dreaming too.

For more information please visit: melodywalkermusic.com

Photo by Robert Perry