PLACES: Fido Is (kind of) Like Twitter Inception

I spent my Friday morning in a familiar place for an unusual reason: a business meeting.
Yep – for music! We’re really doin’ it, folks! But more on that another day.
My manager and I met with fellow marketing geek Ben Walls (glad to see we’re not alone in that category!) for coffee at Fido. Ah, Fido: A beloved Nashville hangout for record executives and exam-cramming students alike. You see, Fido has the two things that we’re all looking for in life: good coffee and free Wi-Fi.
But if you’re a Fido frequenter, you are well aware that the popularity of this place comes at a cost – if it gets too busy, they’ll turn off the Internet.
That’s right. 
The Internet itself! 
Ok, or maybe just their own Wi-Fi… You can’t really be sure. 
And the whole world disappears into the emptiness of that space where five bars of beautiful network used to be. 
Though this experience is briefly frustrating, it has brought to my attention a strange phenomenon: social networking continues without the Internet. I hear the chatter of aspiring musicians interviewing potential band members, the negotiations of food aficionados with restaurant entrepreneurs, and the excited giggles of newly-deemed bridesmaids with their queen bee; people connecting with one another in language that mimics tweets and status updates. Some I even overhear quoting tweets or showing each other their latest Instagram pictures. In my lifetime, as I was “born digital” as Mary Cross calls it, I have only ever thought of and heard the phrase “social networking” in reference to one of various online person-to-person connections. 
Not so! Social networking lives on in coffee shop chit-chat, post-church brunches, and after class “did-you-do-the-reading?-Me-neither” mingling. Nowadays it takes on a much briefer form than those occasions that I have heard called “networking opportunities.” Sure, that might be what we still name those Fido morning business meetings, but in truth, we are conversing through a series of Twitter-like expressions, the only way to keep one another’s attention.
“Today, the average human attention span lasts about 2 seconds,” Ben informs Margot and me. 
“Well, at least we beat the goldfish!” I remark.
I cannot speak to Ben’s source for this factoid, but this aspect of instant transmission of information goes beyond our cyber-selves. It penetrates our daily lives in even our face-to-face interactions. The cyber and the real are now intertwined.
I realize that Ben’s tidbit of info was shared with us in a verbal tweet: certainly fewer than 140 characters, poignant, and you can almost hear “#didyouknow” at the end of his statement.
So from this tweet-y conversation trend I cannot exclude myself.  If anything, this brief form of information sharing is magnified in the music marketing pool in which I find myself like a four-year-old learning to swim.
And if Fido is home to many of Nashville’s music business meetings, then Fido is home to the Twitter inception of the music world. 
Twitter inception is the strange existence of social networking, as it is online, within social networking, as it is in person. In case you are not familiar with Twitter inception, we’ll do some background investigating.
Ever since Al Gore (or whoever else would like to take credit) invented the Internet, our society has been lead-footing it up the steep road to “It’s a Small World.” Along the way, blogging and micro-blogging have gained important roles in not only the online persona (what I called the “cyber-self”) but also in the real world relationships of an individual.
Twitter in its infancy in 2006 was seen as a micro-blog outlet for those who had something brief to tell the rest of the world. Your friends could find out that you had a grilled cheese for lunch, were going to the Celine Dion concert, or had just finished reading The Kite Runner with only the click of a button.
We decided to cover up the human need to know better and be known better with the simplicity of knowing more. As our need to know more and know it now accumulated, we were no longer satisfied with just knowing about each other. We wanted to know about important people too. And celebrities found it charming that we commoners might be fascinated by their smallest musings. So Twitter became a marketing tool.  Tweets were no longer a way to tell the world the mundane mush of our lives that we wouldn’t otherwise verbalize, but breaking news from celebrity sources.
Now Twitter as a marketing tool strongly influences the music biz. If you don’t believe me, just ask SnoopDogg.  Musicians see value in being able to communicate to fans on a more personal level than going through a record label or management company. Unlike political revolution, where Twitter seems to be the key in one instance and not in another, the music industry as a whole has seen profit from the Twittersphere.
The heart of music industry communication is still largely face-to-face. And this is exactly where the “inception” part of “Twitter inception” comes in. In these real life Fido meetings, you’ve got to know your stuff – the latest project your contact has completed, the artists they work with, the sound they like, the last concert they saw, why they might want to keep up a business relationship with you, and more. So where do you find all of this? Twitter. Thus Twitter as a cyber entity becomes part of your conversation in the non-virtual world.
You’ve just been inception-ed (inceived?). By a little, blue, cartoon bird that carries whales when it’s not carrying your conversation.
  P.S. If you made it through even most of this post, pat yourself of the back for beating the odds. Your attention span lasted around 6 minutes. Congrats!

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