Sean Hunt is a retired ex psychologist living in The Lakes District in England. He has been embarking on a new ‘Third Age’ vocational direction as a Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter, Ukulele Band Member for a number of years. He describes himself as primarily a musically-challenged lyricist.
His principal influence has been Leonard Cohen and he is often accused of a similar ‘darkness’ as his lyrics tend to investigate impermanence, hedonism, suffering, the nature of the mind, and the deceptive nature of reality.
He has been an active (sometimes too active) member of O.U.S. probably since shortly after it started.
I think feedback is a rather large issue in ‘Original Ukulele Songs’ our strange cyber-jam-space. Over the few years I have been involved submitting posts, sharing, baring my musical and poetical soul I have received a lot of feedback which has been very helpful. The feedback process itself, though limited has guided me in identifying areas of improvement. In a way this process is organic, not well-defined, and often appears tentative. Since I have not been savaged by any intentionally hurtful feedback, generally I would have to say this is a safe place to ‘bare your musical soul’ and that it works quite well, in spite of some limitations. I realize very well that my personal musical limitations have made many of my postings potential targets for such responses. Youtube for example occasionally invites self-indulgent nasties to try their best to ruin someone’s day by making hurtful comments.
I don’t know if any of the limitations in O.U.S. feedback can be altered without increasing some of the risks. There seems to be a ‘political correctness’ principle at play which works well. There are unwritten rules and principles for feedback which people seem to adhere to. I must admit that I may be making assumptions here because there is the possibility that hurtful or cruel feedback has been culled by the administrators before doing any damage.
Present Feedback Mechanism:
– ‘Likes’ or ‘Loves’
– ‘Non-Response’ I often impute indifference or dislike, especially if I know the person and have had consistent feedback from them previously (I know this response also because I use it myself)
– The optional creative succinct comment about a particular aspect of the posting, one’s voice, playing, the lyrics, the video/audio quality, the rhythm, etc.
– A potential favorable comparison with a successful player/singer
– Potential sharing or posting of one’s song (a high compliment)
– Potential cover of your original song (always a high compliment)
– Potential invitation to submit an application for the OUS ‘Artists Page’
– Potential invitations to ‘Gig’ perform publicly through this network of performers (This happens a fair bit, I imagine)
Alternative Feedback / Supplementary Feedback
This section presents only questions and suggestions, I do not pretend to posit answers or solutions. My intention is only to encourage some contemplation and dialogue. This may or may not lead to change. My hope is mainly that this little article stimulates some thinking on the general issue of feedback and that it is helpful to us individually. Whether or not it leads to any alterations to the ‘Feedback Mechanism’ is not that relevant to me.
I did wonder what might supplemental or alternative feedback look like if there were any. My initial response was to design an inclusive ‘Form’ that covered all the areas. I did come up with a few and it was a helpful process but I soon realized that it would be a cumbersome process and time-consuming. In our modern fast-paced world we measure our activities in nanoseconds and automatically reject anything that is cumbersome and eats up our valuable time.
My next thought was that what would be ideal would be a more exhaustive Facebook response system, instead of one-click ‘Like’ there could be one- click likes for songwriter categories … lyrics, melody, rhythm, vocals, instrumentals etc. or a one-click response for ‘Could Use Improvement’ in the same range of categories. This kind of feedback system would be optional, quick, elective and succinct.
I realized immediately that Facebook is set up as a generic system and these kinds of modifications are probably impossible today (maybe in the future).
My next thought was that a more extensive Feedback system would probably need to be presented in a private web page, and some kind of link would need to be made between the Facebook postings and that external Website that could extend the Cyber-Jam community and therefore enhance the feedback system.
So, what seemed to be a simple issue ‘Feedback’ is actually much more complex. What we have works. If we wanted anything different we would need to integrate the concept into a new ‘Platform’ or a new ‘Platform’ enhancement.
In summary, as I said previously, I think the Feedback system is safe and helpful. It could be improved. Probably it will be improved. This will take time and careful consideration.