I set up OUS almost 3 years ago with the purpose of bringing together ukulele artists interested in creating original music. The FB site was the initial platform and then we set up this main OUS site. This was from what I see the first site dedicated to this end and its a fair amount of time and money investment to keep it all live. In fact a few months back the main site crashed due to traffic as we blew the bandwidth.
I have always adopted a policy of thanking people for their work, no matter how busy I am or where I am on the planet. On average I am in a different country every 6 weeks, often in different time zones. Alan Thornton and Cody Reeson help administer the FB site. On the main site we welcome artists in having their own pages and to date 127 have taken up the offer. We also invite guest blogs and articles and many have contributed thoughts including Phil Doleman, Mike Turner, Percy Copley and many others.
The platforms are advert free and there is no pleading for PayPal contributions to keep this all live. OUS has also sponsored uke festival stages, give away samplers, live charity events, musician travel, musician accommodation and many other initiatives. All this is done to encourage new music creation. I think some people would be surprised at the amount of financial investment in creating artist opportunities, but I am happy to do this as longs as there is enthusiasm for people creating original songs.
Next year we’ll be launching “Music for the Head and Heart” which is much bigger than OUS and not confined to any niche instrument. Of course, neither OUS or new the platform will be to everyone’s tastes and that’s fine. In the uke world, there are all kinds of politics and of course commercial interests that shape opinion. This is often the main focus of social media, but its not the focus of OUS. I mostly stay away from all that nonsense but will always stand up for OUS if people hurl negative posts and especially when these are fabricated.
I always welcome discussion and of course, people can pm any comments rather than try to be the centre of attention in some flame war online that serves no positive purpose. There are plenty of online groups for all that stuff. There is also a small group of characters who seem threatened by the whole concept of OUS, which is a bit odd to say the least. The often fostered image of one “ukulele community” is IMO total fiction. In reality, there are many completing commercial and artistic interests and all too often there’s not plenty of selfless actions and genuine encouragement, which is a sad reflection. Fortunately, there are a few beacons of hope and that’s the good news!
Some of the comments on social media defy belief and at times it’s like watching the lastest walk back in current Trump based White House with a number of fabrications spouted online.
One recent example from a character who criticised OUS, was on the platform, left and then tried to apply again but was refused because of his history of online behavior commented –
“I was thrown out, because I didn’t agree with him.”
NOBODY has ever been “thrown out” or off the forum for not agreeing with myself or anyone else.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Discussion and debate are always welcome as is honesty and good manners. I don’t think its too much to ask for.
I blogged about this earlier this year on my personal site and little has changed – http://nickcody.co.uk/diary/2018/01/welcome-to-planet-crazy-social-media-behaviours/
I think it’s important to call people on such behavior as its the polar opposite of good manners and encouragement
The FB platform is growing faster than ever and the approved artist applications for this site are also at an all-time high. Part of the reason for this is that OUS is more than just an FB group that ebbs and flows, its a bigger creative movement for artist expression.
We will continue to promote artists at all levels interested in creating original music. OUS is inclusive and the FB page is a friendly place to share content.