Madonna may not be on Twitter, but she's got her social-media game face on in the lead-up to the release of her 12th studio album, MDNA — and we think she's doing a savvier job of promoting her album than most stars better known for their social-media presence.
While Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Rihanna have adopted Twitter as their forum of choice when communicating with fans, Her Madgesty has been ramping up her Facebook presence as MDNA's March 26 release nears. She's been socializing minute-long snippets of several MDNA album tracks — including "I'm Addicted" and "Gang Bang" — posting behind-the-scenes pictures of tour rehearsals and polling her fans about which back-catalog songs they'd like to hear when she hits the road.
Through Facebook, the Queen of Pop is teasing her album and tour by making fans feel like part of the process. And her mix of behind-the-scenes bravado and first-listen sneaks is creating a frenzy. Notably, she's done all this without having to say a word. She's psyching fans up without overwhelming them — a criticism Lady Gaga faced after her full-force media assault to promote Born This Way left many casual fans fatigued. The abundance of social networks, particularly Twitter, has made overdoing it all too easy.
The promotion process lends itself well to hyperbole, which sets up an impossible situation. When acts release albums, they are of course proud and often make grand declarations about quality, often in relation to their own previous efforts. "It's my best album/ song/ video" is a statement made by just about every singer for just about every release, and that opens the artist to immediate criticism. And it's easier than ever to make these overreaching statements now in our 140-characters-or-less culture. Twitter can also get celebrities in trouble.
Many celebrities have found themselves in hot water after shooting their mouths off on Twitter, often in response to criticism. Chris Brown is probably one of the most notable, having been criticized for, among other things, his use of homophobic slurs, his recent feuds with country star Miranda Lambert and WWE wrestler CM Punk and famously responding to criticism of his February appearance at the Grammys with a tweet reading, "HATE ALL U WANT BECUZ I GOT A GRAMMY Now! That's the ultimate F--- OFF!"
The point is that the unfiltered nature of the medium lends itself to major PR missteps. Rihanna, John Mayer and "90210" star AnnaLynne McCord (among many others) have found themselves in varying degrees of trouble following an ill-considered tweet. While we doubt Madonna would encounter the problems Brown has had if she took up tweeting — she's a total pro and typically pretty measured in any and all public statements she makes — since she doesn't tweet, she doesn't have to worry about this issue at all.
Instead, the pictures and song clips she's posted to Facebook and YouTube have received a decent amount of press pick-up and have kept the conversation about her album and tour going despite the middling reception to MDNA's lead single, "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
Additionally, by making clips of multiple songs available ahead of her album's release, Madonna has made many of the overwhelmingly positive reviews for MDNA more dynamic reads for fans. If you go to Billboard, you are treated not only to a flat-out rave, but to two full-length songs and four minute-long clips, making it not just a review but a preview. The preview experience is recreated on her Facebook page, with those same clips taking up space beside tour images on her timeline, creating what is, in our opinion, the ideal fan experience to kick off a new album.
In short, she knows MDNA is really good, knows it's not wise to say that out loud in our sound-bite culture and is using social networking to do the talking for her; still, she is keen to play it coy rather than overexpose herself.
Whether it will help her sell records when MDNA drops later this month remains to be seen.