CategorySocial Media

Get Offline to Go Online

People socialising in a cafe

I read this post by @documentally recently.

He talks about going to a conference about online interaction and discovering that the real interaction took place on the ground, with the people rather than in the brand-heavy conference space or its associated online space.

It led me to think about what we actually use social media for. There are so many of us (myself included at times) who spend hours online being ‘social’. We’re sharing ideas about digital media, we’re talking about building Facebook pages, we’re updating each other on the status of our websites. The trouble is, does any of it actually mean anything?

From my point of view marketing the arts, I know I need to be using the online social space to communicate about and around the physical experience of live art that we present. There are some brilliant online projects, like the RSC’s Such Tweet Sorrow project, an online telling of the story of Romeo and Juliet, but the main bulk arts events and performances are offline, relying on a very tangible interaction between performer, audience, people and a space.

We use the digital to help us build communities, and to facilitate interactions that may not be possible when relying solely on the people on the ground, but at the end of the day it’s still a community that we’re building. By the same metrics as Documentally’s conference experience, it is not enough for an arts organisation to have 10,000 followers on Twitter. If we’re not socialising within our online community enough that they become our offline community (i.e. paying audience) then we’re not using the tools correctly.

At the end of the day social media websites and new technologies are just tools. It’s up to us to actually be social.

Overwhelming

social media girl

So this blog is part of my attempt to construct a clean, organised online portfolio for my professional world. A blog is an obvious place to start, and I have my own domain. So far, so good.

Now, what about other blog-esque social publishing sites, social networks, microblogs, curating and multimedia websites? There are so many brilliant sites out there, it’s hard to know where to start.

Here, so far, are my choices and thoughts:

1. Twitter
It’s easy, it’s quick. There’s a lovely iPhone app which lets me tweet about anything and everything when I’m out and about. It’s also a great forum for taking part in local (or worldwide) conversations and joining in with ideas.

2. Linked In
The professional networking website. Unfortunately, at the moment, I wonder if Linked In is more something I’ve been told I need rather than something I’m convinced of. Still, early days, and I’m happy to keep working it out.

3. Flickr
I’ve been a Flickr user since 2005, not long after it started. It’s a great way to share and enjoy photography and, if you have a Pro Account, useful for storing original-size images online for backup.

4. YouTube
I’m not a vlogger, though it is something I’d like to look into doing when I have the time and equipment. I have a YouTube profile so I can curate a collection of favourite videos from other users and share them easily.

5. Posterous
This is very new to me. I used to use Tumblr to post and store links and photographs that I wanted to keep, but the modern outlook of Posterous and its ability to multi-post across several networks seems to be really useful.

You may notice the conspicuous absence of Facebook. I have Facebook (what did you think, I was a crazed cavewoman?) but I really feel that it’s a social thing with limited professional value. Apologies if you were looking forward to embarrassing pictures of me at university.

What do you use? Do you have any recommendations for me? Comment below!

Image from iPhone Wallpapers HD app, artist unknown.

© 2017 Jen Thornton

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