W hen Jason Schmitt, our communication studies professor, assigned my social media class a paper on Amanda Palmer’s social media strategies I had no idea that we would be Skyping with her a month later. Knowing how resourceful Palmer’s techniques are, Jason opened the Skype session to the entire campus.
If you don’t recognize Amanda Palmer’s name, you may recognize her voice as the female singer in the band The Dresden Dolls. In 2008 the band went on hiatus, and Palmer’s focus shifted towards her solo career.
In 2009, Palmer made the decision to leave her record label, Road Runner Records, and break from labels all together. Palmer doesn’t need a record label to be heard. She uses social media to spread the word to her 743,000+ Twitter followers. Last April, Palmer created a Kickstarter project to help raise funds for new album. The project was supported by 24,883 backers for a grand total of $1,192,793, the most funds ever raised for a musical project on Kickstarter.com, at that time.
At the beginning of our Skype session with Palmer, she asked how many of us have Twitter accounts.
Referring to the few students in the class who didn’t raise their hands, she said, “You don’t have a Twitter account, but you don’t feel like you have to have one, right? That’s the way people used to feel about email; it was a way that people communicated but it wasn’t a necessary thing to have.”
Palmer explained that email quickly became a necessity, and that Twitter seems to be going down the same path.
We learned that Palmer does not only communicate for professional goals; she does it because she has a hunger for connection. When she got her first email address in 1994, she understood what a valuable asset it was.
“Email was amazing because it was immediate and it was free,” said Palmer.
Thus, when social media platforms began to arise, it was no surprise that Palmer fully emerged herself into the world of social media.
She is an avid blogger and Twitter user. Reading her blogs is like reading a diary; as Amanda Palmer shares her life with the world, she listens and responds to her fans as they share their lives with her.
She told our class that she makes no distinction between her personal life and her career.
“When do you feel that you’re more like yourself, when you are in the classroom or with your friends? I am Amanda Palmer both in my personal and professional environments, but there are different versions of myself.”
There are no formalities separating Palmer from her fans.
Student Russell Stone ‘15 said after her talk, “Amanda has a big personality and is very into everything people have to offer. She is friendly, helpful, and ready to do anything for her fans.”
It is no surprise that her fans, precisely 24,883 of them, would do anything for her as well – including giving her $1,192,793.