Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 things done wrong on Social Media

Hey there,

I posted this link Idealware shared, 10 Things You're Doing Wrong on Social Media and just wanted to share some thoughts I had posted on Facebook.

Personally, I would say numbers 4, 6, & 7 are the top three consistent issues I've observed...Would be curious to see how much others have observed the other issues listed?

And for my fellow social media managers, which ones are your biggest challenges, and what're you going to do to address it?

A friend asked what to do about fans/followers who get most of their organization's content via social media, but miss most of the updates because they don't check it at work.

To them I said I would personally recommend using Hootsuite or another program, to schedule social media updates when your fans/followers are not at work, and more likely to be on social media. If you know the bulk of your fans/followers don't log on during the day, then don't schedule most of your status updates during the day.

Also, from what I've seen, that's where various media related to your main post come in handy. If you're updating them on an upcoming show, share a different pic each time but still (if on FB) with the link to your event page. It's not that the goal can't be the same, just make sure you're switching up the content of the message.

Ah, I remember the sentence that really made the light bulb go off, and I know it's a bit of a Captain Obvious thing, but I heard someone say in a webinar, when posting for your org:

"Don't post when you're on social media, post when your audience is on it".

That's why most of the posts I do for my org during the day tend to be content for other arts organizations, artists, and nonprofits, then evenings and weekends are more for the people we work with and the public we bring our artists to :-)

- JR

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Being in a Greek chorus

Hey there,

So I haven't always been content with being a chorus boy. If you're not familiar, generally the chorus (or ensemble) is the body of performers who aren't "leads". The leads are usually the main characters whose story you follow and identify with over the course of the show. Now there are shows for which this isn't the case, so definitely don't think this is a required template, but obviously, I'm not referring to those.

But in olden times, the Greek chorus was the meat of the presence on stage, and any characters were backing up the story as told by the chorus. Now I'm GROSSLY oversimplifying things, and might even be preaching to the choir (or chorus, in this case, hehe).

If you've seen Legally Blonde: The Musical, they makes use of the greek chorus conceit. And while I don't necessarily agree with the sentiment of the image and caption combo to the right, the essence of what a greek chorus did was one of the exciting elements of the show.

Me personally, it's probably one of the most challenging chorus roles I've had the privilege of tackling. And I've been fortunate to be involved with productions which have pushed me to explore aspects of being a performer that I haven't before.

The chorus straddles this line of narrator, character, and audience that's lovely for me, especially with the work I've seen and been involved in with storytelling. And for me, it's a neat reconnection to the roots of modern theatre.

If you don't know, while we're working with original music, courtesy of Mariano Vales, the script we are working with is one by Euripides, "one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens" (Wikipedia).

Wikipedia also has an entry on Theatre of ancient Greece, and one of the REALLY neat facts? Theatre of ancient Greece, in Athens was "institutionalized as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honored the god Dionysus".
Theatre of Dionysus
Courtesy of Wikimedia

And we've come full circle. It's kinda meta...could you imagine The Bacchae, being performed at the Theatre of Dionysus?

While that's neither here nor there, it's pretty neat being part of a show that was first performed a little over 2400 years ago...

But I digress. There's a reason theatre and the performing arts is still around, and is a part of every culture (as well as the arts in general).  There is something timeless about the arts, and what we get from it, in experiencing it, in being part of it.

And it can be so easy to lose sight of that as artist or audience member, especially when sometimes you just want to be entertained, or do a fun show. I realize I might be projecting, but I remember in high school actually feeling like being cast in the chorus was a value judgement, in a not good way. Throughout college I realized that a strong chorus is just as important as strong leads, and professionally I relish being a member of the chorus or ensemble.

Being involved in WSC Avant Bard's production of The Bacchae, one of the two shows WSC is putting up in rep for 2012, has reinforced my chorus pride in a way that while I might've known, has never quite sunk in to such an extent.

So, if you're in the DC area between the middle of May and through June, definitely come check out this show at the Artisphere. It's an awesome marriage of ancient text and original music, with a great chorus, and some pretty spectacular leads, too.

- JR

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Navajo: Culture, copyright, and consumption

Hey there,

So I'm listening to Tell Me More on NPR today, and catch a story that is very much at the center of a number of discussions I seem to have been having with friends and acquaintances "in the arts". I put that in quotes, because that's also part of the conversation. As humans, everyone expresses themselves in some way, and at its heart, that's the essence of what art is, to me, anyway. The expression of something through some medium.

But how do we experience that art? What divides artist and audiences and why is there a divide in some cultures and not in others? how do we value art? how do people make a living from their art? I mean I could go on, but I won't.

In this, Michel Martin raises the profile of a recent incident in which the Navajo Nation is suing Urban Outfitters for over Trademark.  USA Today had an article about it at the end of February, and you can google "Navajo" and "Urban Outfitters" to find even more articles and blogs on it.

At this point I can't provide any information other than what's already out there. I will mention one question Michel Martin asked which really get to the foundation of this huge issue. Who owns culture? And I think it's an interesting case study to see exactly how the Navajo people have made efforts to protect theirs.