Sunday, July 18, 2010

Social Media in PR (Basics)

This past Friday I was invited by a social media colleague Rebecca Markarian of The Social Method to fill in for he on behalf of the Orange County chapter of the Public Relations Society of America to give a presentation for Cal State Fullerton's Nonprofits Summer School. Completely unaware of what it was I agreed. Upon full realization of what it was I had a panic attack. But thankfully after turning to Devon Smith's recently slide shows and presentations I realized "Yeah I know this, I can give the basics, I can put together a slide show." It worked, it was terrifying, but people loved it.

If you want to check out my sideshow, it's below:

For those of you brave enough to watch all 30 minutes of my presentation that is here:

Friday, July 16, 2010

YouTube and Non-profits (specifically theatres?)

Did you know that; every day there are over 2 billion views on YouTube? Every minute more than 24 hours of video are uploaded? The number one most subscribed channel on YouTube has almost 2.5 million subscribers? More than half of YouTube viewers visit the site weekly or more often? YouTube has been listed as the #2 most used search engine (below Google above Yahoo.)? YouTube has a special program geared for non-profits?

How can non-profits, specifically theatres, utilize this website and the community in it to help their organization and gain exposure and increase the awareness and appreciation of theatre?

This past weekend I attended VidCon2010, a conference specifically geared toward youtuber users and watchers. I registered for the “Insider Track” which cost a little extra got gained you access to more business oriented panels and discussions. Most of the discussions revolved around making a career off of being on YouTube, helpful to maybe me personally but not my desire to bridge the gap between YouTube and non-profit organizations. However when the conversation shifted toward business partnerships, brand connection and copyright law I was able to bridge that gap, I’m going to share some of the things I realized and pondered about.

FIRST: If you’re a non-profit organization check out the non-profit program guidelines, apply for it. I’m not sure what the criteria are, (being on the site for a certain amount of time, a certain # of videos uploaded, a certain # of views) but it couldn’t hurt. Once you become a non-profit partner you get access to some really cool branding tools but most important you can put annotations and links in your videos that will take them off site (perhaps to a donate now, or a buy tickets page.)

The first instinct is because many of us work in theatre it’s about creating our own content, putting on the site and hosting the videos. But there is indeed a whole world and community of vloggers who are creating their own content, building their own audience, and they are all over the U.S. How can we partners with these vloggers to get exposure to their audience or to get them to help create content for our organizations? (FYI: In the YouTube non-profit program they do have a program that helps you connect with content creators to help your business get exposure on YouTube.)

Now I’m not talking about someone like Ryan Higa (The Number 1 most subscribed user on YouTube) or Dave Days (Another highly subscribed YouTubers who recently did a Pop tart related video) as these people might expect a nice hunk of $$ to do a video or review. After all, YouTube has become their jobs (some of them making six figure incomes.) But how about working with YouTube to meet some smaller vloggers who might be interested in seeing shows at your theatre company for free in exchange they record a quick review on their channel. Even if their subscriber base is small you have a review video that you can post on your own site, twitter or facebook.

Even encourage YouTube reviews from your audience, ask them to post video and then e-mail you links, create a playlist of reviews for a show and feature on your channel. By giving other video creators in the world the access to our organization gives them something to talk about. And their videos are great exposures and communication and PR tools that our organizations can use.

There are at least millions of registered YouTube users and many of them creating videos. Business and organizations need to start reaching out to them and inviting them through our doors.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mahjong - I'm so Chinese

This falls into that "Professional Personality" side of me...the Chinese side.

About once a month my mother, my brother and my cousin all get together to play Mahjong. It started when I was working at East West Players and produced a staged production of The Joy Luck Club.

Many people don't know or understand what Mahjong is so I thought I'd go over some basics.

To preface, there are many different types of mahjong play, different rules, points, etc come into effect depending on what style you play. My family and I generally play Cantonese style, so that's what I'll explain.

Mahjong is very similar to playing a game of Gin Rummy (or Phase 10) but instead of cards you are using tiles. There are about 5 different suits in mahjong, 3 main ones and 2 special ones.

The main suits are Circles/Bubbles:



Think of these as the Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs & Spades. Each suit you have tiles number 1 - 9, similar to Ace - King. The difference to mahjong pieces as cards is that there are 4 of each piece. (i.e. 4 tiles that are #4 Circles or 4 tiles that are #7 Sticks).

The other two "suits" are the Direction Tiles: East, South, West, North:

and the Honor/Dragon Tiles: Center/Red Dragon:, Prosperity/Green Dragon, Empty Space/White Dragon:

There are also 4 of each of these tiles.

You are dealt 13 tiles at the beginning of your game. And throughout the game you draw tiles that are face down on the board, and discard tiles face up for everyone to see. A basic winning hand must have 14 tiles, 4 sets of 3 and a pair (or as we call them the "eyes.")

Sets of 3s are made up of either runs, or 3 of a kinds, but they must fall in the same suit. Runs are like #3 Bamboo, #4 Bamboo, #5 Bamboo. A 3 of a kind would be a 3 tiles that are all the #2 of Circles. The types of sets you collect effect your points when you win.

With the directional/wind tiles (E,S,W,N) you must get 3 of kinds, you can't technically have a "run" with those. Same with the honor/dragon tiles you can only collect those as 3 of a kind sets.

Your "eyes" or your pair can be a pair of any tiles they just must be exactly the same.

You can SEE some of these sets and a sample winning hand in the video above.

So that's a background of the pieces and how to collect "sets" to win. There actually game play is pretty intricate as well as there are customs of picking seats, bonus points based of where you're sitting and what tiles you pick up, etc. If you're interested I'll actually get more into those that.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30th - Social Media Day

So Mashable announced it and I had no idea. Today, June 30th is officially Social Media Day. And in honor of this The Orange County Register hosted the #SMDAYOC Convergence. A panelist of Social Media professionals and experts who all talked about their experiences and expertise in working in social media.

Honestly I would have completely missed it if not for my supervisor who originally noticed it because she saw an e-mail or post that announced, "Social Media Taco Trucks Gather!" Which caught her eye. Reading on she realized this was more then just a buffet of Tweeting & Facebooking Taco Trucks, but rather an actual list of speakers and panelist who would be talking about about Social Media.

Now I was surprised by the number of people who sat in during these discussions and panels who had their attention placed firmly on the speaker, I expected some if not most to be on the PDA's and smart phones typing and texting away (as I was, checking into FourSquare and tweeting about how one of the speakers was hot.) But what also caught my attention was how they spoke about social media. I give more of my reactions to that in my video above.

When it comes to Theatre & Theatre companies on Social Media I feel like I have a grasp on my company's community but I'm just starting to get more involved with the bigger network of people, introduced mostly by Devon V. Smith (whom I've followed quite closely only about a month into my Social Media job, if you're in theatre SM check her out) and David Loehr who was someone I knew about, but was amazed that even following over 1,000 people he engaged and communicated with many on a regular basis. (He must have some pretty well sorted lists & groups on his TweetDeck.)

However I thought I'd just put down into words/on paper (inter-paper?) some my general feelings, beliefs and theories, as they raced through my head while hearing many of these experts speaking. As anyone should believe, I'm aware that social media is a growing beast and I'm still learning many things and my beliefs and ideas can change as my horizons broaden, but until then Well here goes.


Okay, this is rather bold statement and It's not a 100% true. But I've heard so many different professionals and experts say that SM is only for certain things: "It's a place to sell." ~ "It's a place to communicate." ~ "It's a place to listen." ~ "It's a place to connect." I honestly believe you can do a bit of all of it. But certainly it is a place that makes your company accessible and offers a place to engage. Specifically in the theatre world, the purpose of our industry is to create content for people (what that content's purpose is and leads to takes us to a "Why Art" conversation, which is a very subjective opinion and I'll stay out of that for now.) So go for it, Sell: me on the "content" going on your stage. Sometime I want to know what new show is coming up through a facebook status or a tweet rather then a postcard. Or I could use that discount you're putting out there. Communicate: about theatre or specifically your theatre's work, tell me some interesting tid-bits that I may want to reply to, or retweet. Listen: to what I have to say about your company or what I do or don't like. I like to believe that I'm being heard by you and will invest more in our relationship. Connect: with me by following me. Sure you may be following 15,000 people but it's sort of a reassuring feeling when something I like follows me back, that they acknowledge that I followed them.

From the standpoint of my work on twitter, I value when someone follows me even if they are following thousands of people. Yes, they're probably a company or corporations who are hoping for a "Follow 4 Follow" but at the same time, someone at some point is going to be looking at that feed. And if for that brief moment they happen to catch one of my companies tweets and decide, "Hell yeah, I'm buying at ticket for that show!" Well then great. However I appreciate a hundred times more the person who follows us because they want the latest shows reviews, they want to hear our humorous conversation about our shows, they want the background news through twitter or facebook.


At this seminar I heard this quite a few times. Yes and no...When I buy toothpaste, I'm buying toothpaste, not the 4 out of 5 dentist that recommended that toothpaste (although if I could I would, who doesn't want to buy a dentist who's opinionated?) However I understand that people of influence do sell, and in the world of marketing if you can shape your company into a personality people will listen to you, you gain more influence.

(NOTE: I'm aware this is an unorganized blog, with scattered life is generally like this, and I apologize, I'm a bit ADD.)

I'm learning that developing a voice for my company's Social Media (SM) or even infusing a bit of my own personality into the work I do helps give our outreach A personality, and hopefully a personality people like and want to connect with. I've been surprised by a couple of private compliments from followers of "Likers" who've told me they really enjoy the content that I put up on our SM. (BTW I'm not sure what to call people who "Like" SCR on facebook, it was easier with fans...but "Likers?" They're one letter short of being an NBA championship team [Yeah a sports reference, I impressed myself but not calling it the MBA]) Now these are generally people who work in SM or understand that it's a PR & Marketing tool. I wonder myself if there are those who aren't as aware of the "person behind the computer" bu are still falling "in-like" with SCR's Social Media. If so then I have to give myself a pat on back.

So...this non-liner, randomly purposed blog ends...with a bit of uh, "What was the point of that?" sort of feeling. And I apologize for that. I hope to get better at this. But for'll have to put up with my random ADD nonsensical babbling. Sorry.

P.S. I've been asked to talk at a Non-profit PR workshop about Social Media...20-minutes of talking...eeep! I'm excited cause I think I have lots to share but a little nervous. I'll follow-up with that at some point.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Peter is a Theatre Maniac

Yes I'm a theatre whore, and yes I'm directing, writing, and working in the theatre, and yes there are plenty of opportunities to check out my work. Here are two of them. I love your faces so I hope to see your faces there.


Thursday, June 24 @ 8:00pm
8:00 – On the Porch One Crisp Spring Morning
8:20 – Check Please
9:00 – Baby Food

9:10 – Wake-Up Call Directed by Peter J. Kuo

Jim’s girlfriend is asking him for a favor, to help her kill her father. When the situation turns awkward Jim suddenly finds himself in his bed awoken from a nightmare. His mother rushes in to calm him down, but something tells Jim she has other motives on her mind.

Location: 321 E. Chapman Avenue,
Fullerton CA 92832 – Bronwyn Dodson Theatre
Tickets: $10 Each

Purchase tickets on-line:

Or over the phone: (714) 992-7150


Saturday, June 26 @ 1:00pm
Three Steps Back by Peter J. Kuo

Buddy Christ has started following Cassandra on Twitter. Danielle is seconds away from going Lorena Bobbitt on her adulterous husband (unless he commits suicide first). The same 35 minutes told from three different rooms. Once you think you've pinned down everyone's quirks, a new perspective will have you retracing your steps in this dark comedy.

Featuring Daniel Blinkoff, Julia Cho, Rebecca Davis, Jeridan Frye, Tamlyn Tomita, Greg Watanabe
Directed by Julie Briggs

Location: 120 Judge John Aiso Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 – East West Players
Tickets: Free ($5 suggested donation)

More information: