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Start Me Up: The Stones Get Social
By: Greg Dorn
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Those who have come of age in the era of social networking and constant connectivity certainly know a thing or two about navigating through this virtual world. They say anyone born now or in the last couple of years — frequently referred to as “millennials” — will be even more competent in the intricacies of the Internet. However, if you thought dear old mom and dad have remained in the dark regarding the power of social media, think again. Just ask four old geezers who clock in at 65, 69, 69, and 71 years of age — otherwise known as The Rolling Stones. If you’re a teenager, these guys might be closer in age to your grandpa than your dad. And yet, despite this reality, the world’s greatest living rock band has worked the social atmosphere better than blokes a third their age.
In the world of rock and roll, it’s long been a joke that The Stones would never stop touring and drop dead on stage. Mick Jagger famously stated in 1981 that he’d “rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45.” Thirty-two years later, the band will continue their "50 & Counting..." tour that teased the world last year with only six shows. And wouldn’t you know, Mick and Keith know how to use a smartphone.
It began during the first few months of 2012, as The Rolling Stones approached their astonishing 50th year together. After taking a five-year hiatus from touring (a rarity for the band), rumors started to circulate about when, where, and how The Stones would celebrate their milestone.
Months went by without a word. Then, without warning, six blowout shows were announced in London and New York. With the minimal number of gigs came an official Rolling Stones app for iOS, as well as heavy Twitter activity from all four band members. The Stones not only utilized their app for breaking news and entertaining videos, they sewed it firmly into the fabric of the tour. The application heavily promoted the pay-per-view broadcast of their final stop on the compressed trek. The band brilliantly used the app to let fans vote on a song to play, LIVE during the show. Needless to say, the old men were running circles around younger, media-savvy bands.
But in true Stones fashion, everyone knew the party wouldn’t stop there. Since founding member Charlie Watts technically didn’t join the lads until 1963, a full-fledged tour in 2013 was inevitable. And once again, the guys turned to social media. Just five days ago, anyone who had the RS app installed on their iPhone (now also optimized for the iPad) received a mysterious notification that read “Five Days and Counting…” And of course the next day, “Four Days and Counting…” appeared. An announcement was obviously in the works, and The Stones knew how to build it with feverish anticipation. Even up to the last minute, with their official Twitter handle reading “#Stones50 IS COMING IN 5 MINUTES!,” we were left waiting on the edge of our seats. Now, the greatest rock and roll band in the world will rock on in 2013.
When was the last time any band received this much hype for a tour? Who knew it would be four old geezers using an iPhone?

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About the Author
Greg Dorn is a blogger, writer, and obsessed with everything technology and social media. Greg is absolutely captivated with the recent advancements in mobile gadgets, making our world more seamlessly connected. You can learn more about him on his own blog here
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