Sunday, May 1, 2011

Clarity Up Ahead

Originally Posted on September 9, 2010

Well, I figured it out – my plans after graduating Saint Mary’s. Getting there, however, will be half the fun.

So far, I am learning a lot from my Residency with the One Voice Mixed Chorus. Doing Social Media is not as easy as one might think. For one, using an “organizational voice” helps keep some continuity in relaying instant information to an organization’s “fans” on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Secondly, the challenge is to not only keep engaging with those watching the page, but to have them engage with the organization at the same time. Sometimes, it is like pulling teeth – but the payoff is still eminent.

The Residency is still young. I have yet to do any of the videos One Voice asked me to do for the audience development project for the first concert. This should hopefully take place by the end of the month. I am also ramping up for my first on-site marketing effort in two weeks. Once I get things going, hopefully I will be to yield good results for One Voice by the time the January concert is over.

The idea of audience development and marketing have always intrigued me. What I am doing with One Voice may be a back-ended way around a Marketing degree at a business school. Yet, a marketing class was part of the Arts and Cultural Management curriculum, so I was able to gain enough knowledge from that course to employ into my Residency. Even in my work through my various stops in the GLBT community and further in my undergraduate study, I’ve attempted to use various forms of marketing to bridge a service, product or movement to its intended audiences. Frankly, I’m no expert and certainly I don’t use formal platforms to achieve results. Still, understanding these concepts, as they apply in my Residency, helps in framing a future beyond the Capstone finale.

Another area of my future I am exploring through my Residency has been the ideals of multicultural programming. As a gay man, I understand that presenting programming reflecting of cultures that are hot topics in mainstream society will always be an uphill battle. What content will the audience “get” versus “inside jokes” and stories – these are just a tiny speck of consideration in developing programming for a community or general society. I’ve witnessed plenty of programs geared towards a mix of audiences and always considered who might see or hear anything presented in front of that particular audience. When I participated in these programs, I had to also choose material that would be amenable for the audiences the program already attracted.

This creates two different tracks: One of a marketing/audience development person with both traditional and social media skills and the other of a multicultural or arts program developer.

So, where would I do this? Being a writer and photographer, I would like to work in a literary arts center or photographic arts center. Being someone with a history of GLBT community organizing, I would also like to explore working at gay community center. Yet, I am open to plenty of options, such as educational institutions and other non-profits. I’ve learned in my professional life is to be as open as possible because one may find a great position at a place one may never think of working at.

There is one slight challenge I have in attaining such a position. Without going into detail, I may find myself locked out of the Twin Cities market. Through organizations that I have not had good relationships with, organizations still rebuilding or have gone away due to the current financial crisis or organizations that simply are non-existent here, the path towards fulfilling my future may be elsewhere. Exactly where, I am unsure about at present. Again, I would have to be open to the possibilities.

It’s good to discuss these options in my future. It is good to understand the evolution of this path towards this higher degree. To execute it is another thing entirely.  Before getting to that point, I need to complete my Residency and Capstone. As always, first things first!

Ah, but one can prepare for the future, you know…

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