Making the conference rounds

Just a couple of days ago, I marked my seven-year anniversary of living in the United States. That is more than a quarter of my life. Nearly five of those seven years, I have been blogging (I launched the first version of Dutch Perspective in September 2005).

The first three years weren’t focused. I hadn’t found my niche yet. But they sure were educational. Now ever since I started blogging with a more defined focus on culture, and orchestras in particular, and social media, beginning with a series in July 2008, I have noticed some gears turning. Not entirely coincidentally, this was paired with more engagement on Twitter.

I admittedly still don’t have an audience of thousands, but I do have a specific audience of cultural managers. Clearly, there was a need for information on orchestras and other cultural institutions and their usage of social media, and when I started filling that need; I started noticing a shift in my blog’s audience and my online network. I came in contact with some great people.

Perhaps a first validation and verification of this shift came in the form of an invitation to speak at the stART.09 Conference in Duisburg, Germany via webcast. Then, in March of this year, further validation was my four-day residency at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where I presented to students, staff and faculty on classical music and social media. That was a tremendous experience.

Symphony Magazine quoted me in an article, due to my survey on how and if orchestras use social media. Drew McManus invited me to write a guest entry for the Take A Friend To the Orchestra project, in which I laid out my learning from the book Flip the Funnel.

And this year seems to be turning into quite the year. I have three more conferences coming up in which I will talk about my findings and writings on classical music and social media.

Opera Conference 2010
June 9 – Los Angeles, CA.
Making an Impact with Social Media and Technology

There are some obvious parallels to my writings on orchestras and social media and the world of opera. But there will also be some interesting subtle differences. I will be one of the seminar speakers along with Ling Chan, Vancouver Opera; Ceci Dadisman, Palm Beach Opera; and Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos, And you know what? I can now forever claim that I spoke at the same conference as Placido Domingo…

Association of California Symphony Orchestras
July 23 – San Francisco, CA.
Contemporary Connectivity: Social Media

I am very excited about speaking at the ACSO Conference. Not only does it directly tie to my writings and experience, I will have the opportunity to speak alongside Beth Kanter. This is also slightly intimidating; Beth is of course the go-to person for nonprofit social media! San Francisco Symphony’s director of public relations, Oliver Theil, will moderate the session. The SFSO is doing some great stuff with social media, so that will be an interesting conversation.

stART.10 Conference
September 10 – Duisburg, Germany
A Framework for Social Media Strategy

This time around, I will actually be in Duisburg in person, so that promises to be a much better experience. I will be one of the key note speakers and will try to summarize all that I have learned over the past years into a framework for social media strategy. I can’t wait to finally meet the organizers of the stART Conference in person; they demonstrate that when it comes to culture and social media, things look very promising outside the English-speaking world. I’ll also be able to visit the family back in the Netherlands, just an hour or so away from Duisburg!

Good things all around and a busy summer and fall. I just hope I can miss my beautiful newborn Elli for those days!