Somehow it’s already been a week since the Social Media Conference, but Chris and I wanted to share our reflections on last Saturday’s sessions and discussion. I’ll talk about the first half of the sessions, which included discussion of twitter and video production, and Chris’ll cover the second half. Dick Howe already did a great rundown of events, so I won’t recap, just reflect.
The first session of the day was Emil Kuruvilla (Merrimack Valley Sandbox), Yovani Baez and Liz Smith talking about the basics of using Twitter. I have an account, but I haven’t really figured out Twitter, so this was interesting for me. I’ve been using it mostly passively, following a bunch of local stuff. The best tidbit of advice I heard about using it that way was “don’t follow 100 people, follow 1,000”. Essentially, Twitter is a noisy place, and you aren’t meant to be interested in everything you see there. The idea is to spark interaction and connection.
The video session, lead by Danielle McFadden, Caroline Gallagher, Phil Lupsievicz, and Jessica Wilson was interesting partly because it wasn’t unified. Danielle McFadden, of the Chamber of Commerce, was of the opinion that video should be easy and accessible, and you don’t need anything special to do it. On the other hand, the other three were encouraging, but focused, sometimes a little pleadingly, on how to make videos more professional. They suggested getting involved with LTC to take some basic classes on production and editing, and maybe investing in some inexpensive equipment. Video’s not my cup of tea (I HATE being on camera), so I can’t say I have a strong opinion, but I do think it’s a good option for people looking to reach out.
One thing I wanted to mention is that two of the social media I use the most, Reddit and Tumblr, didn’t come up at all. Tumblr’s a lot like Twitter but more image based, and it tends to be organized around politics and fandom. Although there are exceptions, it doesn’t tend to be as local as some forms of internet connection, so it doesn’t surprise me that it doesn’t come up much in discussions like this. Here are a couple examples of Tumblr in action for the curious: images tagged “Lowell MA” and the Tumblr for the City of Boston Archives. I would encourage anyone who takes photos to consider setting one up, it’s a great way to connect with people.
Reddit’s another animal altogether. Reddit’s basically a million message boards, and it can be a great source of local info. For whatever reason there isn’t a great Lowell forum there (yet!) but r/Massachusetts and r/Boston are pretty active, and Lowell pops up on both with regularity. Here’s a thread about eating in Lowell that shows how the site can work. And another one about the latest snow parking ban.
I’d love to hear feedback from people if anyone uses those sites and has good ideas for making them better local spaces. I think it’d be especially good if we could get a subreddit just for Lowell active, but I’ve never started one, so I’m wondering if anybody savvier than me wants to spearhead an initiative.