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.