Today’s social media session focused on the development of a project management plan so that the students are ready to cover the Maho Rasop music festival. What we needed to decide first, was what the story, or stories, might be that they can cover on the day.
We used the 5W’s technique to identify what was potentially going to happen at the music festival, and to start thinking about how the people who will be supporting the event, and who will be attending the event, will be carrying out different roles and functions.
For example, being a sound engineer implies a certain type of technical capability and awareness of the needs of the bands, while being a fan comes with a certain expectation that they will get into the spirit of the event and move to a state of joyous euphoria – well that’s the plan.
We mapped the different stage of this process as a linear progression, from the set-up phase, to the arrivals phase, followed by the participation phase, leading to the peak euphoria moment when the headline act peaks and ‘brings down the house’, as they say.
What we needed to focus on, then, was the small stories that tell the human interactions and reactions as the events unfold. Focussing on the people involved, the students own personal experience, the experience of other volunteers, is what we decided would be more interesting.
First we needed to practice. We needed a venue or an event that the students could visit and make a story of their interaction with it, and what they discover by it. I have to admit to being sceptical that a visit to a Moomin themed bubble tea café would work, but the student’s didn’t miss a beat. They took it as seriously as if they were at a top end event, and had been commissioned to promote a venue.
It was helpful that the next group of customers, a group of middle-aged men and women proceeded to pose for and take more photos and selfies than our group had done. It is quite common in Thailand, apparently, for people to take lots of pictures of a café and your friends. I explained that in the UK they would be frowned upon and that excessive social media posing is regarded as antisocial.
When we returned to the classroom we undertook a more detailed analysis of the festivals website and the way that they use social media. The links to the social media feeds are tucked away at the bottom of the page, and the Instagram and Twitter posts are almost exclusively banner-style adverts. There are no images of people interacting with one another, or doing things.
This was very helpful, because it confirmed the approach that we had developed, which was to focus on the details of what people do, and how they behave in a public situation. The contrast between the different styles of promotion couldn’t be more clear. One is about advertising, the other is about establishing and developing relationships with people.
I was really pleased that there’s even a video made as a mash-up of the live posts to watch. These students are using social media in an intuitive and collaborative way, and I’m pleased to see that they are a few steps ahead and are using their initiative when they are creating and sharing their content.