Eularee Smith
Writer & Educator

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It's A Bird. It's A Plane! It's Social MEDIA!

Sweet mother of mercy! All I have done for the past few days is immerse myself in the den of social media. From Facebook to Twitter, and now Instagram and Snap Chat, not to mention the online revolution of subscription software and data management. I need a week of decompression in my garden, where the only buzz I hear is from the bumblebees.

These necessary tools of evil have driven me to the heights of excitement with the challenge of something new, to the depths of despair on the learning curve from hell. The only question that remains is WHY??? The Univeristy of Oregon School of Journalism spent the last couple of months putting together social media projects for the non-profit Upstart Crow. I am the Executive Director there, and as chief cook and bottle washer, it is my job to use these projects to promote our work.

The projects have been downloaded into Dropbox (an online filing system/depository and yet another password to remember) so we can use them in our strategic social media content calendar. My daughter, Jala is the CEO of Embark Creative and social media guru. She is spearheading this massive launch of radicalness, promising waves of brand awareness and buzz feed for our upcoming show School of Rock. Ideas are flying everywhere between her, my Creative Director, Heidi, and myself. What if we did this? How would we do that? What is a geo tag? Do we need Instagram? How do we encourage Snap Chat? We need to update photos and videos on our only one year out of the box web site ASAP.

The one thing that frees me as well as freaks me, is the fast pace of all this. Snooze you lose is definitely the correct mantra for Social Media. You have to be on it and either moving with the tide or creating your own tsunami to stay ahead of the game. I have no skill or desire to learn all the social media jargon. The trunkcated verbage, the acronyms, the misplaced, misused and certainly absense of grammar is appalling and frankly impossible for me. It is like going against everything you have been taught since Kindergarten! It is engrained in my writers soul to not speak in forked tongue and yet, everywhere you turn the language I was brought up to revere and respect, let alone celebrate in written form, has been abolished for the faster pace of the social media verbage. Good news or bad news, I have no opinion. Language at its worst is still our human form of communication. If we can no longer communicate because of our resistance to its evolution, then what have we left as writers, or even as a society?

All leading to the excitement of learning new things. It is a challenge to determine a 140 character tweet that both communicates and engages an audience. To fill a social media calendar with content that will resonate with your Facebook and Twitter followers. To use that content to increase awareness of your brand while providing education and entertainment. To choose images that excite and draw audiences to your web site, or your event and have them at the ready for that quick draw McGraw tweet.

Don’t get me started on Instagram. I do not understood exactly how that plays into the big picture. Apparently, according to Jala, unless we use it regularly and with purpose, we are wasting time on launching that social media pillar (again with the jargon!) Snap Chat (what???) I don’t even know where to begin with that app. It is instaneous and not a sharable platform. So whoever sees it, sees it in an instant and then it is gone. It is really a young person’s game and by that, I mean, even Jala feels out of the mix. We are talking teens, although Heidi tells me it is being used by the Broadway Theatre crowds for show promotions. So the challenge is to get the cast members to Snap Chat a series of backstage scenes from rehearsals at School of Rock, contradicting our teaching policy of NO CELL PHONES! My suggestion at the Summit of Social Media yesterday (which consisted of Jala, Heidi and myself on Skype) was to provide a 10 minute time during rehearsal break and say ready, set, Snap Chat!

Frankly, this old fool is quickly finding she doesn’t want to be on this learning curve monster and her garden is speaking much louder than 140 characters!

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