My friend, Roch Parisien has been doing this a long time.

By this, I mean writing and talking about music. He’s one of the top music journalists in Canada, and in the 20 or so years I’ve known and worked with him, he’s interviewed just about everybody who’s anybody in music. I’ve been fortunate to have been along with him on some of those rides, as his producer for the cable TV show “Soundtrack”, which ran for 27 years on Skyline Cable/RogersTV Channel 22 here in Ottawa. Not only was I able to meet some of the most amazing people in music (Richard Thompson, Barenaked Ladies, and Charlie Sexton were some of my personal highlights), I was able to witness Roch doing what he loves – talking music with the people who create it. Roch’s at the top of the game as a music journalist – he’s one of the best interviewers I know and his knowledge of the business and of artists is virtually unsurpassed.

As a communications professional and journalist with many years in the game, Roch is taking this whole social media thing quite seriously. He’s seen the opportunities this new medium offers to people in his field, and has successfully moved his brand into the online space, through sites like LinkedIN and Facebook, and with his contributions to our site over at Ottawa Tonite. But most of all, it’s his clever use of Facebook that has particularly piqued my interest.

A couple of months back, Roch set up a Facebook Page, Rocon Communications, where he shares news, reviews, and interviews with musical artists of all kinds. He also uses it to promote his work as programmer for the Galaxie Folk/Roots Channel. He provides a diverse and relevant range of music news and information on his page, and I highly recommend you check it out.

But here’s where it gets really interesting.

Roch has taken his passion for music and his amazing interviewing skills and combined them with the most social aspect of Facebook – the comments – and created “The Facebook Interviews”, a series of interactive chat sessions with musicians, facilitated by Roch and open to group members.  The interviews generally start with a post and possibly a YouTube video of the artist performing, and some backgrounder by Roch. Then the artist hops on the comments, and a Q and A session commences between Roch and the artist. Others are invited to post questions in advance or join in the session real time. The whole thing takes place in the Facebook comments, creating a real time archive of the session, so should you happen to miss it live, you can go back later and read the posts.

Why is this clever? First, it brings the artists to the people directly. So far, Roch has interviewed, biographer Paul Myers and others on Long John Baldry, Javier Escovedo on his new album “City Lights” and Jim Bonfanti of Choir/Raspberries/Boxer. It’s done in real time, so people in the group have the chance to interact and ask questions of the performers. Second, it provides an amazing transcript of a conversation that is created “on the fly”. It’s piles of fun to read through the interviews after they’re over. And last, but most definitely not least, it provides a way for music lovers to connect with each other. Even after the interview portion is done, people can continue the conversation.

This is how I want to see more people using social media – coming up with creative ways to use the tools to tell stories. I’m really looking forward to more in this series of the Facebook Inteviews. Roch is archiving all of the interviews in the Notes section of the Rocon Communications page, so you can see the full conversations there if you miss it live.

Tonight marks the fourth installment of The Facebook Interviews, and I urge you to check it out. Here’s the info from Roch himself:

Tuesday evening beginning 7pm Eastern, “The Facebook Interviews” continue on my Rocon Communications page with Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Dave Gunning, whose album “We’re All Leaving” was #1 on the Galaxie FolkRoots Channel’s Canadian chart for January. Post some questions in advance on the Rocon Communications page, and/or join us at 7pm E for the interactive chat session!

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