The scoop on flavorful approaches to social media
NAME: Lyndsey Parker
TITLE: Managing Editor
COMPANY: Yahoo Music
Lyndsey Parker is a veteran music/pop-culture journalist, on-camera host, and professional fangirl. She is the long time managing editor of Yahoo Music, for which she also writes the “Reality Rocks” column that covers TV talent shows. In addition she is a regular music correspondent for Studio 11 LA on Fox 11 in Los Angeles and has appeared on numerous broadcast outlets including MTV, VH1, CNN, Good Morning America, NPR, The Insider, CBS This Morning, and more. She is a columnist for the venerated British music paper, NME, the author of the e-book Careless Memories Of Strange Behavior: My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan and former editrix of the fanzine Porkchops & Applesauce.
Keep up with Lyndsey as she recaps the final season of American Idol for “Reality Rocks” or on her Vlog chat show “The Day After” that she co-hosts’s with AI Season 6 contestant Brandon Rogers. The irrepressible Parker recently returned from SXSW where Yahoo Music filmed the fest’s coolest bands, and is just getting in shape for the start of the upcoming music festival season, starting this month with Coachella.
SOCIAL MEDIA URLs:
FACEBOOK: Lyndsey Parker on Facebook
LINKED IN: Lyndsey Parker on Linked In
YOU TUBE:Lyndsey Parker on You Tube
TUMBLR: Lyndsey Parker on Tumblr
GOGGLE PLUS: https://plus.google.com/+LyndseyParker/
SPOTIFY: Lyndsey Parker on Spotify
Q: We have access to so much news on a daily basis. What kinds of information do you consume at the start of your day?
A: I am a little embarrassed to say this, but the first thing I do every morning, before I check my email or even before I get out of bed, is reach for my phone and check my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in that order. It really helps me keep on top of big news, and I’ve learned of everything from the deaths of David Bowie, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson to election results this way. I do still use traditional news outlets, but more for big-picture stuff and post-news analysis. Breaking news I usually get on Twitter and Facebook.
One gripe I will mention is I hate how the celebrity media turns every tweet into a fluffy “news” story. Just because Miley Cyrus posted a photo of herself in an outrageous outfit, or Taylor Swift put up an Instagram of herself on vacation with Calvin Harris, or Iggy Azalea threw shade at someone in a bitchy tweet that she later deleted, or Blake Shelton sent a kissy emoji to Gwen Stefani – doesn’t mean it’s news. That’s exhausting.
Q: How do you use social media?
A: As far as getting the stuff I write out there, it has completely changed the game. I love getting feedback from readers (thankfully, it’s mostly positive) and interacting with them. I have a checklist of social media that everything I write has to go on: my Twitter, Yahoo Music’s Twitter, my public Facebook, my personal Facebook, Yahoo Music’s Facebook, my Instagram, and even Google+! But it makes a real difference.
Q: How has social media changed your life?
A: It pretty much IS my life now! Sometimes I wish it wasn’t — that I wasn’t so addicted to my phone that I feel like I’m missing a limb whenever it’s not with me. But it really is an invaluable tool for both discovering and disseminating content. It really changed my writing career, I have to say. I feel like I have a little inner circle of people interested in reading what I have to say, or checking out music I recommend. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes when I write something and post it, even though it’s on a big site like Yahoo, I feel like it’s just going out there into a void. But with Twitter and Facebook, the immediacy of directly posting it to followers makes me feel like I’m being heard — even if I only get a couple of RTs or likes. The feedback is instant, and that’s gratifying. Everyone wants to be heard.
Q: Do you think social media has enhanced or diminished our personal relationships?
A: A little of both. I think it can kind of hurt “IRL” relationships, as I confess with some shame that sometimes I have ignored friends, relatives, or dates who are standing right in front of me because I’m tweeting or Facebooking. This is a bad habit that I know I need to break. I also probably sometimes ruin a nice moment by being unable to resist the urge to whip out my phone and take a photo or video of it, rather than just be present. I also feel like I live in a perpetual state of “FOMO,” unable to enjoy the moment because no matter what awesome thing I’m doing or attending, I’ll check my phone and see tweets from Adele’s Wiltern show or some amazing Coachella party I’m not at, and I’ll experience a strange sort of ennui. Sometimes it’s best not to check your phone and see everyone’s humblebrags.
BUT social media has kept me in touch with friends I probably would have otherwise drifted away from… and perhaps even more importantly, I have made friends – some of which have become “IRL” friends – on social media, especially via Twitter. I have noticed this phenomenon the most in the ‘American Idol’ and ‘Voice’ online communities. I’ve written about music and entertainment for years, but I never witnessed so much engagement and camaraderie from readers and fans as I have when I’ve covered those shows — and most of that comes from social media interaction, like live tweeting and post-show debating. I’ve forged friendships with colleagues, bloggers, super-fans, and even contestants this way.
Q: What organizations, brands or personalities do you follow? What makes them worth following?
A: Besides all of the TV shows I cover and my favorite singing-show contestants, and pretty much all of my favorite musical artists, I follow the “competition”: other music sites, music blogs, and music/TV journalists. I follow those just to keep on top of things, or to show support. Then there are some random Twitter handles I enjoy, such as Crystal Porn (pretty photos of crystals, seriously), ‘80s Don Draper (he stopped tweeting, though, which made me sad), and Kanye West just for kicks. When he gets going, his Twitter feed is pure gold.
Q: What kinds of posts spark your interest?
A: I think I use social media more for information than for entertainment, so I comb feeds for news and announcements. I do like people who live-tweet pop culture events with a snarky sense of humor, though. Comedienne/’View’ co-host Michelle Collins is great for that, as is ‘The Voice’ Season 9 finalist Jeffery Austin (my new host for a ‘Voice’-themed version of ‘The Day After’), who live-tweets ‘Idol’ and ‘The Voice’ really sassily.
Q: What is/are your favorite social media platform/s and why?
A: I love Twitter for its immediacy (plus I have the most followers on that one, over 18,000) and newsiness, but lately I’ve been more Instagram-obsessed. Scrolling through my Insta feed puts me in a nice trance. A picture says a thousand words, while a tweet is just 140 characters.
Q: Favorite hashtag or one you’d like to see?
A: #nodisrespecttobenaffleck is a classic!
Q: What advice would you give to a brand about how to get started with a social media program or make their existing one more effective?
A: The one thing I’ll say is it’s very obvious to fans when celebrities are not handling their own social media (like if an intern, assistant, handler, or manager is doing it). Fans follow public figures like Lady Gaga out of the hope, even if it’s totally misplaced hope, that she will see their tweets and one day actually reply. So if you’re a music artist, be authentic and approachable: handle your own social media and don’t make it a one-way communication thing. Reply to some people once in a while and make their day!
Q: If you could follow any historical figure on social media, who would it be?
A: Sorry to be lame and not say Martin Luther King, Jr., or Joan of Arc or someone like that, but I really wish Twitter and Instagram had existed in the early ‘80s. I would have followed Duran Duran, just WAITING for Nick Rhodes to post #OOTD photos of his outfits or John Taylor to tweet selfies of himself riding an elephant in Sri Lanka. (And, of course, waiting for them to reply to me.)
I envy that today’s kids now have access and connection to their teen idols. It would have blown my mind. I admit even now when an artist I admire tweets me, retweets me, or shares something I wrote about him/her, I still get excited and flattered.
Q: Cone, cup, or straight from the container?
A: Yogurtland, straight from the dispenser to my mouth.
Q: Favorite flavor?
A: Root beer float ice cream from Baskin Robins (the root beer yogurt at Yogurtland is also insanely amazing, but they NEVER HAVE IT, except for like two days a year).
Have something to add or share? Please leave a comment in the section below. Feel free to like and share on social media. And be sure to join us next week when our guest on Ice Cream Social is Benjamin Bryant, a Washington DC-based communications pro and sought after consultant to high-level government working groups and commissions on subjects including the Fort Hood Shooting and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.