Confessions of a Twitter-Phobe
August 31, 2010
Every day I read articles in the press about how important it is for anyone involved in the arts world (or indeed, any world) to use social media as a way of marketing one's "product". I know how useful tools like Twitter and Facebook are from what I'm told by others. And technologies that enable organizations to mail out information to select members of their mailing lists or entire lists at the touch of a button has revolutionized the way we spread the word about what we're doing, reach new and familiar audiences, generate enthusiasm and even build funds.
What I struggle with though, is finding the time and mental capacity to both keep track of others' social media outpourings and develop my own. I've been feeling a bit stressed about it lately because I keep getting emails from Twitter telling me that someone wants to "follow" me via the tool, but I just can't bring myself to add tweeting to an already overwhelming amount of daily activities from writing this blog and filing articles to newspapers and magazines to doing all the fundraising, producing and hosting of a weekly public radio show and teaching.
I have a Facebook account which I rarely visit. I also have a Twitter account, which is an even bigger joke. I set up the account about 13 months ago as an aid for a class I was teaching to a bunch of teenagers on a summer school program on writing about theatre using different media. I haven't been to the Twitter website since, figured out how to send Tweets, or signed up to receive anyone else's.
The long and short of it that I'm swamped and don't have the mental capacity to add more regular activities to to my already buckling brainload.
I just about manage to keep up with this blog five days a week. VoiceBox, my weekly public radio and web project, has a Facebook and Twitter presence. But luckily for me, my wonderful intern, Victoria Lim, handles updates via those tools. If I were responsible for keeping people informed via Facebook and Twitter of what's going on with VoiceBox, I would very likely forget because I'm extremely overextended as it is with the business of producing and hosting the project. Maintaining the project website, remembering to send out an e-letter to my mailing list once a month updating people about the upcoming shows in the VoiceBox series or spreading other news is about as far as I can go at this point with the slim resources I have. I am so glad at least to be able to outsource the social media part the project.
I suppose the solution is to get to a point where I have enough money to hire someone to handle all the communication aspects of the project. But that's probably a way off. It's sort of a chicken and egg situation though, because if I were more actively using social media, maybe I'd be in a better position to generate the funds I need to actually be able to hire someone to take care of this stuff for me.
Facebooking, Tweeting, maintaining an active website and sending out emails to mailing list members are important activities in today's world. I just wish that I could understand how people manage to juggle all of this stuff though without feeling completely overwhelmed.