Notes from Opera America 2010 Conference

Last Wednesday, I had my whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to speak at the Opera America 2010 Conference. I arrived in L.A. Tuesday night—and was amazed at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra mural during my cab ride to downtown—but I had to leave again shortly after noon on Wednesday. That meant unfortunately missing two of my co-presenters, some exciting performances, Placido Domingo’s address, and of course, all the networking and meeting and greeting.

That said, it was great meeting Ling Chan, Ceci Dadisman and Margo Drakos in person. There’s hope for the arts in social media.

I was on first in the seminar. I delivered a presentation on a framework for social media strategy. I got lots of interesting questions. I’m not sure if I answered some of them satisfactory. Things are usually clearer in my head than coming from my mouth.

Here is the presentation:

The biggest struggle perhaps is gauging the level of knowledge and experience in the room. I was surprised to hear the question “what is Twitter?” in the middle of my presentation. But those questions are good to gain back perspective. I don’t think they really didn’t know what Twitter was, they wanted to know the why and how.

The framework I provided contained perhaps surprisingly few mentions of actual tools. I like to stress social media is not about the tools, it’s about the interaction and community. But people do like to hear about concrete examples and tools, about tips and tricks. It was a good lesson for me.

On the other hand, the reason I didn’t include those concrete examples was because I keep thinking about what they are going to do with those examples. Are they going to replicate them? What works for one company, doesn’t work for another. In Amber Nashlund’s popular post Social media topics that need to die, she writes: “If you’re spending all your time building your cloned safety net based on other people’s situations, you’re already behind the game, and not focused on what your business needs.”

I will need to find a happy intermedium. Illustrative examples, but stress that social media and Web 2.0 are contextual and technological (respectively) frameworks in which you can be creative. We’re in a creative industry after all.

Furthermore, if I had included concrete examples, I would have picked the Vancouver Opera…

I couldn’t be happier then to listen to Ling Chan’s presentation about Vancouver Opera’s social media efforts. I already knew the surface of their efforts, but Ling provided the most creative case study of an opera company’s use of social media. I recognized a lot of the same key points I tried to make from a theoretical point of view in Ling’s practical demonstration. She described her own experience of the presentation on her own blog.

I wasn’t ready to leave, but had to catch the flight back to Chicago without seeing Ceci’s and Margo’s presentations…

1 thought on “Notes from Opera America 2010 Conference”

  1. Hi Marc,

    I was thinking the same exact thing when I was listening to your presentation. What you were speaking about theoretically was a great segue and supported what I also spoke about. I was delighted it worked out that way.

    So glad you enjoyed the presentation. When you had to go, I was also thinking how much you would enjoy Margo and Ceci’s presentations. I believe Patricia will either be emailing the slides to all attendees or providing the link if posted onto slideshare.

    It was great meeting you in person. Hope our paths cross again in the near future.

    p.s. Thanks for the kudos!


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