COM0011 – Your Digital Identity – Blog #6

One of my colleagues googled me last week. It turns out I had 682 results. I never realized I was so prolific. There were mentions going back more than 10 years.

I expressed my surprise and my colleague rightly reminded me, “What’s on the Net, stays on the Net.” It took me back to the question in Graded Discussion 2, “How does a social media expert separate their personal and professional personas?”

Easy, you simply can’t. No professional can. Many organizations, mine included, now vet potential job candidates online even before the interview


Thousands of videos of people skolling drinks and nominating a friend to do the same are circulating on social media. (Deckland – Hobogestapo)

Keeping that sobering thought in mind (pun intended), it behoves individuals to maintain professional social media posts rather than posting photos of binge parties or other behaviour that would come back to haunt you

COM0011 – The Power of Social Media follow-up – Blog #5

So this past Wednesday was a very emotional and surprising evening not only for me but unexpectedly for others. 2015 Oct - with FlorenceMy friend from Israel was in Ottawa to give her lecture “In Memory and Remembrance” Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the ‘liberation’ of the Jews.

We went to elementary school together and kept up until she moved to Israel. We found each other  through Facebook a few years ago.

The reunion on Wednesday was very moving. A short time later I see my friend walking up to someone again all emotional and teary. It turned out to be another schoolmate from our past. She was a friend we also found through Facebook. 2015 Oct - with Florence and RonnaDuring our 3-way bear hug over squeals and tears suddenly someone else showed up. She had gone to high school with the other two (I went to a different school).

The event took on even more significance than the serious subject matter as it evolved into a school and family reunion. Several of my friend’s relatives that she hadn’t seen in 30 years had come from Montreal and Toronto for her lecture. It was surreal – Facebook happening in real time because of Facebook…

My two friends posted our group photos on their respective Facebook pages immediately after the event. Names I haven’t heard since elementary or remembered commented how they wished they’d been there and plan on going next time. This event became an unexpected and very positive chain of consequences and the very best example of the power of social media.

COMM011 – Blog 4 – Donation Campaigns through Social Media continued


2015 TD Jazz Youth Summit participants

Programming an exciting and diverse music festival is expensive. Fundraising for not-for-profit arts organizations is inescapable and can involve several approaches. That’s certainly true for the Jazz Festival. While sponsorship and grant applications are pursued throughout the year, 3 traditional events will support the overall fundraising campaign:

  1. Shaping the Next Generation – this is a membership drive to raise funds for the TD Jazz Youth Summit and JazzEd programs to train aspiring young musicians.
  2. Annual live auction and benefit concert with Basia Bulat – a great way to find unique gifts for the holidays.
  3. A Charlie Brown Christmas – A Christmas classic for the past 50 years, renowned drummer and original member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Jerry Granelli, recorded the famed soundtrack to the animated classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is a rare opportunity as he recounts the stories behind this legendary classic along with performances.

Last week I expressed concerns about competing for attention for a social media campaign. After much research and deliberation with colleagues we have decided to go ahead with a dedicated social media campaign in the New Year.

Still in development, rather than supporting one of our existing campaigns, this campaign will be through social media only and be competitive in nature with a unique prize. While there’s still much work to be done I feel relieved and optimistic that we’re on the right track.

COMM001 – Blog 3 – Donation Campaigns through Social Media

photo: Brian Goldschmied

photo: Brian Goldschmied

For most of my career I have worked in the arts for not-for-profit organizations. One of the realities of working for the arts is fundraising. You simply can’t escape it. So I found Lesson 3’s reading extremely pertinent to me personally as I prepare for my organization’s annual donor campaign.

Our donations pretty much take on a traditional approach with a printed brochure mailed to past donors. Of course a donor page on the organizational website and social media messages solicits new donations and encourages online payments. If you look at it dispassionately the campaign is pretty static.

After the brochures have been mailed out staff follow up with hard calls to past donors. We remind these supporters that they should have received the brochure in the mail and ask them if they would like to renew their donation. Ultimately we hope to take a pledge with a credit card number right then and there.

While we all deeply believe in what we do, it’s not fun to make these calls especially when someone’s just come home from work and wants to sit down for dinner! But without them it would be impossible to present our youth programs during the Jazz Festival.

Recently I have found several articles (here’s only one–beginner—104-5-ideas-for-your-online-fundraising-campaign-that-will-help-your-nonprofit-marketing-plan) detailing how to create or the best examples of social media donation campaigns. But while I deeply believe in our cause, training young future musicians, how do you compete with all the other significant and competitive causes like natural disaster relief, hunger, safe water and ill children?

While this may sound less than altruistic, I strongly believe in all of these causes and still I have to figure out how to stand out from the crowd. So in the next couple of days I have to bring our annual campaign into the 21st Century. Because it’s not so much the tools but the message. Wish me luck.

The power of Social Media – COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media Post #2

Even though I haven’t been a huge social media user, the power of the medium has significantly affected me. A few years ago I started a Facebook account. I was stunned with how many rediscovered old friends and even a long lost distant relative I found.

One of these people is my oldest friend going back to elementary school in Montreal. A few years after getting married she and her husband moved to Israel. Eventually I moved to Ottawa. Distance and life got in the way and we lost touch. About a day after I signed up on Facebook I got a message asking if it was me. And so we found each other!

My adorable mom

My adorable mom

After a while I became tired of posting photos of the cake I baked for New Year’s Eve and seeing photos of the soup someone else brewed in another city. I realized I actually needed to spend real time with my family. My dad passed away and I regretted not recording his stories. I didn’t want to miss that opportunity with my elderly mother. And so I’m afraid my Facebook account grew some cobwebs.

The last few years I’ve been scanning family photos and documents. After a good meal with my mom, we’d sit and she’d tell me about her remarkable life as I inconspicuously recorded her on my i-Phone. My mom is a holocaust survivor (as was my dad). They escaped Hungary and communism during the 1956 uprising under harrowing circumstances.

A few days ago I received a Facebook email from my friend in Israel. So I dusted off the cobwebs from my account and checked it out and rediscovered her a 2nd time. It turns out she went back to school and received her PhD as a Holocaust researcher.

She’s coming to Ottawa very soon in October to give a lecture “In Memory and Remembrance” Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the ‘liberation’ of the Jews. Now I would never have known that without social media. And on top of everything I’ll get to see her again in real time after- well I don’t want to say how many years!

Getting over social media anxieties – COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media Post #1

I remember way back in 2006 or so when a friend emailed that I should check out Facebook and invited me to become a friend. With literally hundreds of emails waiting for replies I remember thinking, “I don’t have time for this!” Fast forward to 2008 and this same friend introduced me to a 15-year old girl who it turned out started a Facebook page all on her own and on behalf of the Ottawa Jazz Festival without telling anyone at the festival. As the director of marketing and media for this very organization it was the first time I really came to appreciate the significance of a medium that was sending out messages on our behalf and I didn’t control the messages!

I decided to get to know this girl and invited her to take control of the festival’s modest foray into social media under my supervision. I don’t think I was even aware of the terminology ‘social media’ yet. We’ve come a long way since those early days but I still have personal anxieties about actually taking the plunge into this fascinating and pluralistic form of communication.

I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very clever people to direct our social media. Unfortunately this has resulted in a double edged sword for me personally because while I’m aware of the tools, I don’t actually know how to use that screwdriver. I’ve been interviewed by media several times, sent out literally hundreds and hundreds of media releases, overseen media requests for artist interviews, worked with several website developers and film production companies but when it comes to sending out a tweet I get sticky fingers.

photo: Brian Goldschmied

photo: Brian Goldschmied

My primary excuse is that I’m busy. I know, I know, I think ‘busy’ is the most overused word since the advent of emails (this article was written for me!). As I sit and watch the reams of emails come in, many people wonder why I’m always so busy when the festival is over for 2015 and 2016 is a long way off.

This is a question many in the festival industry regard with amusement. While long and exhausting hours during a festival is relatable, few realize that the work really begins for the 2016 Ottawa Jazz Festival as soon as the stage lights are turned off after the last concert in 2015.

It begins by immediately (and I mean immediately) gathering and analyzing survey results, several analytics, media coverage, photos, reports from advertisers, research about the tourism industry, etc., etc. Analyses of all this information is then tabulated and assembled into reports for funders and sponsors and a comprehensive media marketing report.

Come September we must be ready and prepared to liaise with new and established sponsors, organize a concerted fundraising campaign for next year’s festival all while promoting fall and winter programming.

This past Festival I picked up Instagram and had so much fun with it and a eureka moment. Besides doing my own posts it was much more effective to get others in the organization involved. So it dawned on me, it’s not about one person controlling your out-going message. Like in-coming messages it’s actually more powerful to work with a savvy team within your organization to send messages from diverse points of views