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Case Study: Northgate Rapper on Facebook

About This Case Study

This case study could also be called “We were supposed to be at Warwick Folk Festival this weekend, but of course we can’t be. Here’s a photo of our bottoms to make up for it!

As this suggests, in this summary of the Northgate Rapper’s use of Facebook Edwin Dyson feels that having a humorous approach is a key factor in its success.

About Northgate Rapper’s Facebook Page

The statement “We were supposed to be at Warwick Folk Festival this weekend, but of course we can’t be. Here’s a photo of our bottoms to make up for it!” just about sums up the attitude of Bath’s Northgate Rapper to its promotional activities. As in, they don’t take anything very seriously, and you’ll never catch them saying ‘Here we are tonight in this pub, special offer, buy one get one free, BOGOF, please join us or we’re going to die/fold/keel over etc.’ 

Northgate’s chunterings on social media generally consist of one or more of the following:

  1. Taking the piss out of themselves
  2. Being rude about other rapper teams
  3. Disrespecting their musicians
  4. Developing memes like Lightbulbs, Stickman and Be Like Bill
  5. Declaiming rapper as the one true path to self-enlightenment
  6. Publishing team photos where they deliberately exclude Edwin
  7. Promoting their events and our attendance in certain pubs and at certain festivals

In terms of promotional stuff, Northgate have a website, a Facebook Page (for public facing activities), a private Facebook Group (for nefarious purposes) and apparently a Twitter account (though who the hell has the logins for that, no-one knows!). Posters on said Facebook Page are usually Martin and Edwin, mainly because they think they’re really funny, but usually because no-one else wants to do it.

Northgate’s Page was ‘founded’ on 11th November 2007 and currently has 897 ‘Likes’ and 932 ‘Followers’. Quite what these numbers mean, Northgate don’t particularly care. What they do care about is hammering Silver Flame Rapper in the numbers stakes, because contrary to what the Flames will tell you, size is everything and it does matter. For reference the Flames have only 616 Likes and 671 Followers Quod erat demonstrandum.

The Page is branded as rapper so is apparently easy to find. Northgate didn’t think about that, they just wanted the Page name to fit on a business card. In landscape format, in not miniscule font sizing.

How are their Facebook posts structured?

Check out their most popular post –

So what was their thinking behind this one? Firstly, they chose a suggestive and ‘clickbaity’ title / first line. I mean come one, who on earth would want to see Hanley and Dyson in Bath? Let alone together in the bath. See what they did there? Which also brings you straight back to Buy One, Get One Free, BOGOF etc.

Then they deliberately listed musicians last in line behind the public, dancers, and hangers on. Why? Because they know that this makes their musician’s eyelids twitch and their teeth itch. Northgate do honestly love their musicians, even if they can’t dance. Or won’t.

Then they take the mickey out of their moderately beloved rapper friends ‘Mabel Gubbins’. Why? A pre-emptive strike, because they’ll do something similar back.

When promoting, Northgate like to use a big word or two. On this occasion they used ‘hyperbole’.

Then, and only then, did they give the details of the event.

Or look at the post from 8th June 2021 – ‘A rare tablet…..’

Why? Because Martin Hanley found an old stone tablet that had what looked like swords in it. Well, they were swords, but the ‘joke’ was that these could have been dancing swords. Lordy, a joke isn’t funny when you write it down is it?

But it reached 866 people and had 150 engagements, meaning further clicks, shares, comments etc.

So what is the point of Edwin and Martin wittering on like this?

They see their social media stuff as a chance to have a giggle, and to make people giggle too. Smiling and laughing releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which creates a sense of euphoria and controls pleasure, and pain.

Basically, Northgate are not hugely concerned with educating people on what rapper is all about, or to advertise that they’re dancing over there in this pub on that particular day. They say that promotional material needs to be fun and silly, so that people notice it and interact with it.

The team hopes that people will come and watch one day with a sense of moderate anticipation: ‘Oh look, it’s Northgate Rapper. I wonder what they’re going to do this time’.

Status of this Document

Document created: 6 Sep 2021

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the “Case Study: Northgate Rapper on Facebook” document by Edwin Dyson and published by the Morris Federation.

About the Author

Edwin Dyson is the son of a clogger and a Cotswold Morris dancer. He dances with Northgate Rapper and with Snark. Also MC at various folk festivals and co-organiser of Dancing England.

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