Perspective

How Twitter helped save the legendary London venue The Social

One of the best things about communities on Twitter is how they are there when you need them most.

A great example of Twitter communities is when iconic London music venue The Social () desperately needed help when it was faced with closure. 

What did it do? 

It sent a Tweet. And the Twitter music community responded. 

Bands, DJs, and fans got behind campaign. The Social is a venue that has seen a ‘who’s who’ of major acts take to its small basement stage. The list includes the likes of The Chemical Brothers, the Doves, Fatboy Slim, Beth Orton, Vampire Weekend, and Bon Iver, among many others. 

But the clock was loudly ticking for The Social, which opened in 1999 and has become one of the capital’s most beloved music venues. It had just two weeks to raise funds or face closure. 

From that first Tweet, it took just a week to get the job done and secure The Social’s future, and raise the £95,000 needed to secure the lease from the controlling shareholder. The alternative had the campaign failed was to turn the compact bar and music venue into another London cocktail bar. 

And it wasn’t only musicians who came out to support the bar, writers like Caitlin Moran () Tweeted their support. 

From that first Tweet, the whole response to the campaign took the team behind  by surprise. 

Car Gosling, programme manager at the social, said: ‘We didn’t think that a week later, we were going to have raised the amount that we were asking for. It just had a life of its own.”

Robin Turner, co-founder of the club, added: ‘We found that people felt the same way we felt — that the bar is something is good, and it shouldn’t go. And so thankfully we had a few people with large reaches pick it up.

In the end, the venue went on to raise over £145,000 and celebrated with a special show to thank some of those who had come to the venue's aid.

This was thanks to the power of the Twitter's vibrant music community, which we recently identified as a part of a groundbreaking research project2 into understanding the audience on Twitter in the UK. The study uncovered the communities that thrive on Twitter and drive conversation.

Twitter’s groundbreaking study into its subcommunities

The study,1 using a combination of cutting-edge data science analysis and traditional market research, identified 75 subcommunities. It examined each one to find out what motivates them as a whole and how brands can best engage with them. 

The music community on Twitter is vast and interconnected. It brings together people who meet at the intersection of culture — for example, where music and fashion meet. Alongside this, smaller close-knit groups like ‘sound production’ — a network of music professionals — connect as well. Music Twitter is also the place where musos interact around every genre from country to grime, jazz, and heavy metal, each reflecting their own cultural norms.

The music community on Twitter consists of several different groups

Our research identified several groups that make up the music community. These include: 

  1. Pop culture: The , , and the stans who come together to geek out about their favourite bands. 

  2. Discover new artists and bands: The ones who gather around ‎ to share first impressions of new music.  

  3. Music makers: Made up of professional and amateur musicians who use Twitter to help further their music career.

What can brands bring to Music Twitter?

The music community on Twitter is positive about brands getting involved. These are the key ways that brands can best interact with the community.

1. Support grassroots talent: Most of all, people want brands to help aspiring musicians, acts, and local gig venues. People realise this support is vital if they want to continue to enjoy and discover up-and-coming talent and go to local gigs.

2. Discovery and access online: People want to continue to use Twitter to discover new artists, find out about upcoming gigs, and access live music online.

3. Use music as a vehicle for change: There is a clear desire for brands to use music as a vehicle to drive wider social and environmental good; for example, powering stages with eco-technologies or sponsoring children’s community projects. Twitter is the perfect platform for brands to engage music fans to make this happen, as has done with its campaign.

Sources:

1. Jaywing, Join The Dots, and Twitter, 'Flocks — Uncovering communities on Twitter', June 2019, UK

2. To conduct the research, Twitter partnered with data-science agency Jaywing (‎) and insight agency Join the Dots (‎) to crunch and analyse the data based on follower graphs and Twitter bios. It combined this work with online diaries from each community, in-depth interviews, cultural analysis, and a quantitative survey (total n=1,500) to ensure the most robust results.

The analysis uncovered the unique roles that Twitter plays within each community and the reasons people engage with their communities. For brands, the research identified what they can do to make sure that when they get involved with these communities, they can be successful.

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