Posts tagged ‘social media’

April 10, 2013

Social Media Rockstars?

I’m out the door today to speak to some students at Quest Alternative School – it’s career day! Looking forward to it. Then it’s a day full of meetings all over town, closing files, opening new ones and hopefully meeting a mastiff named Betty.

Didn’t want to leave you hanging, so here is an excellent and timely blog post from Rebecca Coleman, who is a West Coast me, and a friend and colleague.

One of the questions I get asked the most when I am consulting with a client, or when I’m teaching a workshop is “how can I automate my social media? I want to spend as little time as possible doing my social media marketing.”

I get it. I’m a solo parent, I run my own business, and I teach. Of all the things in my life I wish I had more of, Time is at the top of the list. There are, simply put, just never enough hours in the day.

Here’s the part you’re not going to like, though: when it comes to building a real tribe via social media, there are no shortcuts. You need to put in the time and put in the effort.  read more

April 9, 2013

Quantifying the Qualifiable

A couple of thoughts.

I can absolutely appreciate anyone who doesn’t “get” social media and its value. I look forward to helping/facilitating them to get on the path to getting it. That’s a big chunk of my job. And I absolutely love seeing the nod, the light go on, the excitement about getting it.

What do they need to do?

Be willing to try to get it.  If you are not willing to try to “get it” – you won’t. And no matter what I say, explain, demonstrate – you won’t get it. And you will leave unsatisfied, and not getting it. You’ll be irritated, I’ll feel bad. Harumph.

Why do folks sometimes not get it? Lots of reasons: they’re in unfamiliar territory, they’re not quite sure, they’ve never really used it before, you name it. All viable reasons.

And some are trapped in quantifying qualifiable experiences. A horrifying place to be, I’ve been there, because they are counting beans, and we need to come up with some new ones to count. Because counting old beans with new counting mechanisms does not work.

Which leads to a  mashup repost today from two previous posts on this sort of topic.

Two articles from quite different blogs  – Seth’s Blog and Mission Paradox – that seemingly agree on the same thing – that unanimous is not an option and the devil doesn’t need advocates. Well timed.

An article for you to read on how to convince the AD/ED/GM etc that social media does work.

And a recommendation to pick up a copy of Counting New Beans. 

Or at least google the phrase to get an idea of what it means. Image and statement from the website. Hopefully it piques your interest.


We make art because we believe it makes better human beings. We make art because we believe it makes being human better. So why do we spend so much energy quantifying the economics of what we do, and so little time quantifying the impact?



March 20, 2013

You Should Nominate Someone! And Two Days of Guest Speaking

A quick reminder from TAPA that nominations for the following Dora Ancillary Awards are due Monday April 1, 2013:

Please click on the above links for nomination guidelines or to learn more about the Ancillary Awards including past recipients.
Harry-Styles-Fabulous-Magazine-2012-one-direction-32323652-1600-1299Spent Tuesday afternoon and will spend this afternoon at Sir Oliver Mowat doing a sort of combination social media career day kind of guest speaker thing for a friend’s grade twelve media classes. I met some of them at the field trip to Harbourfront a while back, and there were some new faces. I decided to play the questions game at the start – here is a piece of paper. Write down a question you want to ask about careers, about social media, about any combination of the two, because that way I have content and more importantly it’s content that matters to you. We had a couple good discussions about Harry Styles (how do you meet celebs?) and Justin Beiber and Lindsay Lohan (how do I get to be famous?) – well, what do you want to be famous for?
Those were a couple of fun questions that we managed to take seriously, but still have fun with. And now I know who Harry Styles is.  And we had a couple bigger, more thought-provoking questions  – I would like to know why I should get a degreeWhat was the hardest point in your life? Valid questions and we had good conversations.
What question came up the most? I thought there might be a couple duplicates of it –  but four out of maybe sixteen students…
How do you know when you finally realize what you have to do officially (in the sense of knowing that this is what you want to do)?
When did you know you were where you wanted to be?
How/when did you discover what you really wanted to do in life?
How do you know when you are where you should be?
Some questions never change. Back in today for a whole new group. We’ll see what questions get added to the list.
Many thanks to Ms. Morton’s Grade 12 media class – good to see you again, great to talk to you again, and you made me think as much as I made you think.
March 19, 2013

What Should You Write About?

People sometimes ask me how I think of things to write about on my blog. The answer is:

1) I write about what I know (a good general rule of writing)
2) I write about what I want to write about. That sounds very simple, but sometimes you really have to think about what it is you want to say, convey, and have people read and react to. If you look at my tag cloud, you’ll see that I write about the arts – primarily theatre, but the arts in general. If you look at my tag cloud, you can see what I write about mostly by size of tag.

Great article this week about what you write, and what you might not want to write, and how there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s OK if You Don’t Want to Write Controversial Blog Posts

But can you be non-confrontational, non-provocative, and still be a successful blogger? No question.

And if we are talking about blogging for business, especially in a business-to-business context, a confrontational, snarky style may actually be counter-productive.
Many excellent, well-regarded blogs are characterised not by their being provocative but by being consistently informative and/or entertaining.”

Agreed on my part. I think this also applies to other forms of social media and I love that I’ve got a new terms now – “coat-trailer“.  I think if what you’re trying to do doesn’t fit the style of confrontational provocative posts, you don’t need to write them.  One post of mine that had the most traction, most reads, most shares was Dear Rob – it’s not confrontational. It’s not mean – in fact when I saw the stats on it climbing I was extremely thankful it wasn’t mean. You want to be confrontational, mean, whatever you want to call it – you need to be prepared to deal with that.

I mentioned this a while back when I first heard about it, and now it’s opening and I am really excited! The Toronto Tool Library is opening next week! AM absolutely going to go see what’s on offer.

I’m off to Sir Oliver Mowat High School this afternoon and tomorrow as well to talk to the grade 12 media classes about social media. I will report back later on the youth of today.

Excellent CDAM-101 class last night – intro to social media with lots of good questions lots of good answers and much participation. I’d assigned something from my blog for folks to read about Facebook invites and last night one pf the participants said she had torn apart my blog looking for it, and was there somewhere a search option to find things on my blog?

And I thought, of course there is, I use it almost daily, and definitely I search Sundays for the roundup posts….from the back-end of the site. There is a way to search if you administer the site. Not if you’re just looking for something. oh, maaaannn…

There is now – top right hand corner. Thanks for pointing that out, Maureen. I forgot people might like to search something on my site rather than google it. 400+ posts later –  Lesson learned.




February 11, 2013

I Didn’t Know the Pope Could Quit

well, I didn’t. I assumed he had to die in office, so to speak. And now I’m thinking again about the fantastic movie Habemus Papam that I saw at TIFF a couple years back. You should rent it.

Anyway – here we are on a Monday morning. Looking forward to a busy client week, starting off with a meeting at OCAF, and seeing the DeChardin Project tomorrow night and 4.48 Psychosis opening Thursday.

I’m also tweaking and fine tuning the course description for the class I’m tag-teaching in March/April, which leads to two links I found last week

Avoid Lazy Language – Say What You Mean
27 Phrases to Slash from Your Copy

wise words in both – pun intended. New phrase I learned:  déformation professionnelle (looking at things from the point of view of one’s profession) which applies to Maslow’s hammer, which I did know about, but now have the origin of.


Got five? Take a look at your copy and play a bit of buzzword/acronym bingo with it. Just so you’re aware of it.


January 29, 2013

Plays and tots and language and acronyms

from Kardionic TA Gambarotto

from Kardionic TA Gambarotto

Let’s start right off with the fact that Totsapalooza is sold completely out. From the email I got: There won’t be any more tickets at the door, or anywhere else for that matter. We’ve simply hit venue capacity. Period.
500 tickets is a remarkable and fitting gift for the 5th anniversary of our annual DIY Kid Culture festival. Thank you, all, for your ongoing support. Much appreciated.

THRILLED for them. How wonderful. Looks like it’s going to be a great day for all involved and attending.

Attended a reading last night of Brad Fraser’s new play Kill Me Now. It’s funny and thought provoking and sad and has a lot to say about any number of topics. Here’s to its future. I think people were tweeting under #killmenow.

Of course you’re bound to run into people at an event like that, and I was delighted to see one of my favourite artists Geoff Simpson and make plans for lunch and an art chat next week, and run into another new friend (shared a cab? you’re friends) who as it turns out is the artist being featured at Pentimento this week. I was going to the opening of Kardionic to begin with, now I have to go, and it sounds extremely interesting:  Kardionic (2010-11) is a hybrid media work exploring various scientific and cultural expressions of the human heart. Views into the work include a multi-player audiovisual performance; a series of large-format, high resolution c prints; a fixed video program; and a fixed audio program.

TAPA. TAC. OAC. Freelance. show going up. These are some of the everyday phrases I use that I forget are acronyms and jargon. Had a great time yesterday speaking with the students in the first year of arts management at U of T Scarborough, and we realized there were a lot of phrases I use that others might not know. Considering I profess to hate jargon…We almost turned it into a game of buzzword bingo, with Anne (their professor) catching me on jargon and we’d stop to explain what it meant – after the first few I started catching myself. Something to think about. In one sense, it’s a commonality of language, in another sense it’s exclusionary.  I think we had a good time, I liked talking with them, they had good questions of the thoughtful variety and I wished I could have spent more time there as they are bright and smart and heading into our field.

Om that same subject – A User’s Guide to ArtspeakWhy do so many galleries use such pompous, overblown prose to describe their exhibits? Well, there’s now a name for it: International Art English. And you have to speak it to get on. Andy Beckett enters the world of waffle.


Read these five tips and make sure you aren’t guilty of any of them.

5 Social Media Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking I KNOW, and how can people not get this yet, it’s so BASIC. Well, every year in December there are articles on how to beat holiday stress, and every July there are articles on frizz-free hair and beating the heat, so it’s a reminder in a similar vein.

January 17, 2013

b[ART]er workshop last night and upcoming teachings

So I had a fantastic time speaking at the b[ART]er  – Social Media Edition last night –  a great group of people with questions and answers and my co-speaker Ricardo McRae (Wedge 15) was ever so smart and a blast to work with too. You should follow them on Twitter @bARTerSEC to keep up on their events.

How much was it to go? someone asked me. It cost two hours. In other words, no money exchanged hands, but in the world of artists and entrepreneurs, two hours is an expensive thing, and I thank the participants for spending it with us.

I was also delighted to see four people there who took the same OSEB course as I did – I refer to it here as “Entrepreneuse School” so congrats to the latest group of grads and best of luck.

We kept recommending things to read and blogs to follow so here are the two main ones we talked about Mission Paradox and Seth Godin.

Had a meeting yesterday with the folks at Ryerson (The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, to be very specific) about a course called Communication and Promotion for the Arts (CDAM 101) that Jacoba Knaapen and I will be tag-team teaching in March/April. Here’s the official blurb: Understanding and researching the components of a marketing strategy is vital to positioning individual art, a creative service, or an organization. This course covers pricing the creative product or service; identifying, reaching, and engaging an audience; required human and financial resources; and how to evaluate efforts for improvement. Social media and digital technology are incorporated along with traditional techniques.

As soon as registration details are available, you shall have them.



December 28, 2012

2012 Round-up Part Two

Yesterday was about the top ten posts y’all read the most. Today is about what went on in 2012 that mattered to me. By the way, I’m doing this one because I saw the Facebook “Year in Review”  – A look at your 20 biggest moments from the year including life events, highlighted posts and your popular stories and was strangely unmoved by its contents. I guess I didn’t share my biggest moments properly. Anyway.

Number of interviews/articles –  2
an interview on being the Producer of Proud with Live with Culture, and a first person article for Charlebois Post on marketing. It’s still the most-read article for the month of December. Which is  extremely cool.

Number of workshops –  7
#Consultancy – Why Arts Consultants Need Their Own Online Presence Social Media for ArtistsCompass Camp Workshop,  Tools For Your Tools: Social Media Workshop for artists Technological Innovation: On and Off the Stage Shopping, Gossip, Trends and Friends – How Women are Shaping the Social Media Landscape and Parkdale Connected.

Number of Arts Marathons  1 
see – Art Is Too Expensive and There’s Nothing to Do Anyway
I had a blast doing my marathon, and even though it wasn’t in the top ten clicked on posts, it was the one that generated the most in-person conversation. I might do it again.

Number of Political Days 3
Day at the Hill in Ottawa (October), Day at the City here in Toronto (November), City Hall Deputations (December).
Politicians spoken to about the importance of Arts and Culture:
Senators 1, MPs 1 City Councillors 4.

Number of Field Trips and Guest Speaker Engagements 3
The visual arts students from Jarvis Collegiate, the Media Arts Class from Sir Oliver Mowat, the theatre students from George Brown – thank you all for being bright and talented and relieving me a bit about the future.

Corin Raymond has raised over $6000.00 in the Great Canadian Tire Money Caper. I am utterly impressed and proud to know him, both for his musical talent and business acumen.

Memorable Books Read
The Art of Racing In The Rain, Counting New Beans, Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers, The Master Butchers Singing Club, No Culture, Before I Go To Sleep, The Power of Why, Crossing the Continent, The Cocktail Waitress.

Some of My Favourite Posts: just four. If you’d like five, then you can pick one too.

Things Cost Time and Money, Quit Devaluing Both

Cook a Meal. Do Laundry. Experience Art.

Testing Your Website in more ways than one

The Future of The Non-Profit Arts

Sunday Roundup this week will look a little wonky and full. And I’ll do some client-related highlights on Monday. And then it’s a New Year – we can talk about that when it gets here. Like, next week.

December 27, 2012

2012 Round-up

top-10-listI confess that I love year-end lists and round ups.Grat sense of satisfaction in them for me, they’re orderly, I like seeing if I agree or disagree, the whole thing.

I’ve read most of the Toronto culture (theatre) round ups – delighted to report that Proud has held its own Michael Healey was nominated for a Menschie (GridTO) for Proud, Proud made the Star’s top ten list, Maev Beaty made its top five list of artists, Proud made NOW’s top ten list of theatre productions, and Maev made NOW’s top ten list of theatre artists. I am – so very Proud. And maybe a little weepy.

With this in mind I present to you the top ten posts of for 2012.

Dear Rob
Hands down the most popular post of the year, with literally ten times the number of
views as an average post. Given the controversies he’s faced this year, perhaps he’ll see it, read it and take it to heart.
He Said, He Said, She Said, We All Said
More controversy. More on this later.
A Picture Is Worth a K.I.S.S.
A Pinterest post – I think my second. Though I personally still don’t partake in pinning, I absolutely see the value in it for other folks and my clients.
On Family vs Public
More controversy. More on that later.
Can’t See What He-She-They Said for the Words
Word cloud of controversy. More on that later.
I’ll Take Director Fury’s Advice
Still wise words – keeping it simple. Working around things.
Did Churchill Really Say That? Has Anyone Said Anything Since?
Apparently not. Apparently there are no more good quotes about the arts. We should make some.
SWF Seeks Basic Website – must be attractive, clean and open to sharing…
Y’all loved this post. Pure information.
Who Has the Keys to the Customers?
I felt like this was an incredibly practical post that came out of a moment of sheer frustration.
My Thoughts on Starting a Theatre Company
A combination of three ideas/posts in one, all of which occurred in my life at the same time.  These sentences speak to me: “if it is in your heart to start an organization then you HAVE to do it.  The world may need it. But if your heart isn’t in it.  If you aren’t committed.  Don’t even think about starting.” 

So! About that controversy! It was an angry year this year. 2012 – year of anger and hurt feelings. A lot of it. Not without reason. A lot of tempers flaring, and walking away or being sent away and arguments days, weeks, months later. Folks who couldn’t take a side, folks being forced to take sides, folks who wanted to be told what side to be on, and a lot of divisiveness throughout.I said, you said he said she said.

“You know I can’t take sides but-”

This was a public statement, that was a private one, she told me this, I told him that.

Exhausting. I will say some good thought and opinion pieces came out of this year, that we all learned something, somehow, somewhere. I just wish it didn’t take such controversy to bring us all out to the table. A lot of fiercely smart talented people out there – I’d like to hear more from them on other matters.

Tomorrow – kind of another list, but with pictures and things that made me happy. The above list was what you all clicked on the most – tomorrow will be the things that clicked inside of me.

December 10, 2012

Linky Monday

makeupforever_44artist001I’m off to City Hall for budget deputations today – I’m number 44 on the list, so I don’t know when I’ll be back. So, not unlike the Mom who leaves you money for dinner and warns you not to watch too much TV, I present four links to keep you occupied. But no money for pizza.

The Toronto Theatre Database has now gone live! The Toronto Theatre Database is a new online project, dedicated to the recording and preservation of the production histories and performance dates of Toronto’s professional theatrical productions. It will be a hub through which professionals and fans of the Toronto theatre community can explore Toronto’s theatre past, present and future.

We should do this too. Case for culture: 100 voices – interactive

Arts leaders clashed with culture secretary Maria Miller even before George Osborne announced DCMS cuts of £12m in 2013-14 and £22m in 2014-15 in his autumn statement – here 100 people who work in or with the culture sector tell the Guardian why they think UK arts and culture are worth continued investment.

So the Sunday Read in this week’s Charlebois Post is by –  me. Enjoy!

And finally a great video by Che Kothari on the Billboard Tax. Listen up people – we want funding for arts and culture? It’s been found. Contact your councillor and let them know you want this new potential source of revenue used where and for the people who found it.


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