Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Everybody wants in. But not everyone knows what to do when they finally get there. That is, except for these bright individuals. This new podcast episode features a candid talk about social media with arts professionals whose job it is represent some very reputable institutions through these platforms. They work at: The Contemporary Jewish Museum, The Walt Disney Family Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. And I was fortunate enough to be invited to moderate a discussion with these generous folks for world famous Social Media Week. Listen to what they have to say below!
We cover some pretty worthwhile topics such as:
- The norms of social media
- Why are we on it at all?
- Retaining artist rights online
- Finding balance in content
- Marketing tips for individual artists
- And finally, the important stuff, getting to the truth behind that legend: Is Walt Disney really frozen somewhere?!
Download this from iTunes now for free! Please rate the series and leave a comment to join in the conversation. Thanks!
Social Media Brings Us Together
Kathy O’Donnell: Good afternoon everybody. Thank you so much for coming to San Francisco State today to be part of social media week. And welcome back to everybody who was here this morning, we really appreciate you guys coming. Just a quick note about this panel. This was an example — this putting together this panel was a great example of how social networking really does work, and how social media really works. I am a member of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and so I see their Facebook posts all the time. And when I was thinking about using social media for social good, I thought better social good is there than art, and thinking about how the arts market themselves for social media, I contacted Yerba Buena Center, and they were — James from Yerba Buena center was part of a whole network of people who do social media from around the city. So it was a great opportunity for us to get together a panel of folks who are all about working in the arts, and marketing the arts through social media.
When it came time for somebody to moderate the panel, again I went to my Facebook page, and I’m a follower of Intersection for the Arts. So I went to their website, and discovered Anthem Salgadowho not only works for Intersection for the Arts, but as I read more about him, found out that he has a blog called, “Art of the Hustle”, which is all about helping artists to market themselves and market their product. So I thought what better person to moderate this panel on using social media to market the arts. So without further adieu, I’d like to bring you our panel this afternoon. And thank you again for coming.
Anthem Salgado: Thank you everyone for being here. I think we’ll begin with a round of introductions. You’ve already heard — can you guys hear me okay?
Anthem Salgado: Okay. You’ve heard a little bit about me. And I’ll just repeat some. Louder. Okay, you’ve heard a little bit about me, and I’ll just explain a little bit more just to clarify some more of those details. The mic’s cutting in and out. My name is Anthem Salgado. I am the Director of Communications at Intersection for the Arts. It is one of the oldest alternative art spaces in the city, and we present, and produce a wide array of works from the theatrical to the literary, to a really robust range of community programs. You guys — is this cutting in and out? Should I use my theater voice?
Kathy O’Donnell: Yeah, it’s coming out.
Anthem Salgado: Okay.
Group: It’s going in and out.
Anthem Salgado: Okay. So I’m also the founder of a professional development program for artists called “Art of Hustle” which you can find at Artofhustle.com. And a lot of that was really inspired by my own experience as an artist. And my long history in nonprofits, and why I feel like a lot of sort of administrative skills, and other marketing skills can be really beneficial for individual artists as they are launching out into their careers. So I would like to pass the mic onto my fellow panelists who can tell you if you would please your name, your title, and your organization, where your organization is physically located, and what your organization is known for.
Kathy Jaller: Great. Hi everyone. Stand up comedian style. My name is Katherine Jaller. I’m a media manager the Contemporary Jewish Museum, which if you don’t know it’s just maybe a block away in a conspicuous and modern building on Yerba Buena Lane. And so our mission is to have captured the diversity of the Jewish experience, and make it relevant for the 21st century. So that means, our shows run the gamut. Just recently our show “Houdini Art and Magic” was on view. You may have seen the signs and banners around the city. We’ve also done shows on like Maurice Sendak, Black Sabbath: “The Secret Musical History of Black Jewish Relations”, and today actually we’re having the (inaudible) “Do not Destroy: Trees are in Jewish Thought”. So that’s based on a Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees, and have artists interpretations of the trees in general. So that’s me.
Andi Wang: Hello, I’m Andi Wang. I do marketing and communications at the Walt Disney Family Museum. We’re actually located an old Army barracks in the Presidio of San Francisco; it’s a national park right by the Golden Gate Bridge. And I guess the museum is all about the life and legacy of Walt Disney, so it’s from birth to death 1901-1966. So we don’t have things like “Lion King”, and “Aladdin”, and in there. So it’s “Jungle Book”, and everything before “Jungle Book”.
James Im: Can you hear? Is this on? I’m sorry.
Anthem Salgado: Can you guys hear?
James Im: I’m sorry, I can’t really tell.
Anthem Salgado: No?
James Im: I will share. I’m James Im. I’m the New Media Manager at YBCA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. We’re down the street there across from the Contemporary Jewish Museum. We’re a multidisciplinary arts center that we show performances, (inaudible), films, we curate around a few big ideas under sort of like conceptual frameworks for understanding these words because we don’t want people to kind of silo themselves so like, “Oh I’m a film person or something like that.” So we try to give a broader understanding or the kind of programing that we put on which is largely local. A lot of it’s actually has a really explicit (inaudible). Very explicit sort of mission to bring international artists as well to like sort of — to infuse that sort of energy in the local artistic community. And yeah —
The Truth(s) about social media
Anthem Salgado: Fantastic. Can I borrow your mic since mines not working that great either. Okay, so we’re going to invite you as the dialogue to join us. If you have any questions at all, definitely feel free to raise your hand and chime in because we want to hear from you. I think at the moment, I’m just going to open the conversation because we’ve come a long way from social media. I mean how many people are on Facebook by a show of hands? Almost everybody. Twitter? How many people were, don’t be embarrassed. Were on MySpace? Friendster? Even fewer. But I think that’s amazing right that how far we’ve come along in social media. We have a thing called that we’re participating now which is social media week. And so I would love to find out from the panelists what things you might consider just factual, and true about social media? Like what is a foundational truth about it at this point in its evaluation?
Kathy Jaller: Okay, my little fortune cookie bit of wisdom that I just came up with is so don’t just ask people to come to you, but go to where your people are. This just resonates right now. I’ve been experimenting with putting images of artwork on Pinterest and using Instagram. And these are visual communities, and it’s just kind of like clicking that visual, it’s a visual medium, you should go to where visual people are. And we’ve had some success even with these relatively new platforms.
Andi Wang: And I think one thing that might seem pretty obvious but I did see a few of you didn’t have your hands raised. Everyone needs Facebook, and everyone needs to get on twitter. I mean, it’s not only a good way to connect with people you know, but also it’s really how people get news kind of this day, this is how people interact with each other. It’s nice to go out and spend time with your friends in the sun, but when you’re bored at work you have your friends. But also I read a really interesting article before about twitter, before how actually there were sort of sort of emergency, people don’t listen to the radar or watch TV for those kind of emergencies, they check twitter because it comes up almost of instantly, and everyone knows about it I mean within a minute of it happening. So Facebook and twitter, everyone needs it.
Anthem Salgado: I totally agree with that, I check my earthquake; earthquake news is great to find out on twitter before it actually appears on the news.
James Im: I guess my truism would be don’t listen to the numbers or don’t trust your numbers too thoroughly. I know that social media’s metrics, and analytics and everything or sort of the thing right now. But I feel like at least maybe it’s just my perspective coming from this industry and it’s not like a straight like commercial kind if industry that there’s no sort of agreed upon or really reliable metric of measuring the success of your social media or whatever. And I know that’s a huge industry too. Oh let me measure this, Klout, blah, blah, blah. But really most of it I found to be sort of helpful to glean maybe I don’t, I don’t know really what from. It’s kind of interesting to watch but really kind of unreliable as kind of a motivator or what your plan or what we get out of it.
Why are we on social media?
Anthem Salgado: Thank you James. So if that’s not a motivator then what is a motivator? I mean, if you can’t measure the return on interest, investment, sorry, then why are we doing it, and what are we looking for as far as signifiers of any success in social media?
James Im: I — well I think there are kind of two kind of reasons for or sort of motivations for it. One is that everyone’s there, so you kind of have to be there. They’re like, “Oh we’re not there.” Like everyone’s on Facebook, why aren’t we there? It’s like okay, it kind of seems strange if you’re not there. And so you know, you come in and you try to bring value to the community because you have a reason to be there because you’re spending everywhere. We’re not like you know joining corporations or anything, we’re nonprofits with like budgets. So you really have to be careful about you’re putting your resources. Yeah, one thing is, is everybody’s there.
The other thing, it’s interesting, I remember seeing that there’s a discussion that I think in my organization, probably a lot of others in our field probably should have is what the value is of an online audience versus your on site audience because like I said, there’s no real way to measure. A Facebook post lead to this many box office sales. There’s no one to one. It’s really like random or community engagement or something like that. But I mean, those are really hard things to quantify. And so I have certain feelings about it. Like there is a value to having an online audience, and 20% of your followers are not even in your state, it’s like what value is that actually when you’re putting a lot of stuff out there? They have a different view of your organization; you kind of exist in a different space, right. And it’s something that organizations I think really have to consider. It’s something that a lot of people are not used to especially when things are really (inaudible), and stuff like that.
Anthem Salgado: True. You guys?
Kathy Jaller: Yeah, maybe 1/6th of our fans are actually in the area, the rest Jewish folks. Generally it’s spread all over the country, New York, LA, East Hopes. So yeah, it’s kind of — listening is a little bit — I mean, in social media are you listening to you audience, are you thinking about what they want and it’s pushing me in the direction of something more editorial which is to create kind of how do I like capture the exhibition and put it online without the assumption that everyone’s going to come into the building? So that means kind of like posting a lot of pictures, and doing the delegate negotiation in a museum of posting pictures of the artwork on display. That I’ve been working for three years with CJM, and that even has changed so much. It used to be — I mean, to post pictures online because of a risk of them being reproduced was very sensitive before, and now have gradually, it’s written in the, to contracts that we are allowed to use them on Facebook because otherwise how else do we talk about a visual show without showing images. So it’s changed a lot. And yeah, well in marketing, but I think that’s also reflective of like it’s turning from — I don’t know, it’s in the space between marketing and editorial. And I think some places are it should be more towards editorial, towards interpretation, towards kind of going where things are interesting instead of being so focused on numbers. It’s more growing pains.
Andi Wang: I think along the same lines, it goes back to the argument of quality versus quantity. Yes, it would be nice to have a huge number of followers and fans but it’s also about the quality of the experience of our audience. I think a lot of people are looking for a more community engagement. So even it’s 20 people, at least they have a way to interact with you, and a way to interact with each other as well.
Anthem Salgado: I’m going to add one more thing, and then we’ll take a question from the audience. Speaking to quality over quantity, I think too one of the motivations possibly for engaging in social media might to view is at a sort of customer service department. That’s my personal opinion. And the reason is, you can’t really quantify it either for good customer service. Like when someone smiles at you when you walk in the door, you can’t really say, “This smile led to this sale” or “This smile led to a membership.” But just good old-fashioned customer service is what I think social media makes possible again. And yeah, you’re right, there’s no one to one, it is there in that respect. Question?
Retaining rights in social media
Q: Regarding rights (inaudible) of reproductions, you have contractual relationship with the (inaudible). But you also have a contractual relationship with (inaudible). Do they retain certain kinds of rights? Are you family with those rights, and how can you identify or describe (inaudible)?
Anthem Salgado: Can you repeat the question first?
Kathy Jaller: Oh sure, he’s saying — so there’s the contract with the artist, and the institutions that we’re taking the images from, but then Facebook also happens to retain some rights to the images as well. So he’s asking what are they. That’s a really good question. And actually I guess it speaks to kind of the (inaudible) stage of this that it hasn’t been acquired by any of our learning institutions or the sophistication of — I don’t know, that request, they don’t ask, that hasn’t come up yet actually even in our institution. How about you?
James Im: Right. Actually no. Most of the permissions have gone through the artist or the representative of the gallery or whatever. Actually like our approach is to reiterate like all the terms of service, stuff like that, and we have giveaways which are or whatever not (inaudible) policy, which everyone. But the point is that our approach at least is that we just follow the community standards of the network we’ve chosen to join. Facebook, I mean people share stuff all the time without copywriting. I mean, we have to be more mindful of it because there are legalities involved and stuff. But Vimeo is the kind of platform we’re on that there’s a certain community standard, and that standard is that you only put up stuff that you’ve worked on that you’ve produced. So it’s very like artist and creative driven place. And for that, we’ve sort of read the actual regulations, because that seemed to be important for that community. Facebook, I mean it feels like we’re offering within the norms of what’s going on Facebook. Because we’re not, (inaudible) breaking laws here and stuff. I don’t know, it’s just kind of respect the community you choose to join. And when it’s gone kind of (inaudible), you have to read regulations, it’s because you feel like you’re going to need to. But that’s our approach.
Andi Wang: I think also because social media is kind of new compared to other traditional marketing and communication methods, a good standard to follow is do it until you get in trouble. I mean, it’s something that I think a lot of us have done. If we get in trouble, you just say, “Sorry” I mean, it’s social media, it’s really easy to put things up but it’s also quite easy to take things down too. So I think that’s just the way to go as well, off the record.
How your social media strategies match your particular goals
Anthem Salgado: Yes. Can we talk goals for a second? I mean we all represent very different institutions, different kinds of art. And I would be curious to know how your social media strategies match your particular goals within your departments, within your organizations?
Kathy Jaller: We had an expedition recently, it was 5,000 years of anti questions with questions which is kind of like this, it’s a Jewish thing or so it goes, so the story goes. But so I think yeah, we’re super big on questions, and the Jewish Museum kind of reflects our education, values, and it perfectly suits the medium of social media. So we’re being generous, we’re giving, we’re not just saying like I don’t know; I personally have a problem with like just asking a question. I feel like you need to be giving as much as we’re asking from our audience. But yeah, definitely making it as engaging as possible.
Anthem Salgado: Do you have an example?
Kathy Jaller: So holiday’s also big in our particular institution. So I’ve recently comminuted myself to not just the rhythms of our exhibition calendar, which we’re a non-collecting institution. So actually it’s all Houdini for months, and then Houdini’s gone we never talk about it again. So that’s a little bit — it’s tough for us because we don’t — (inaudible) does this really wonderful job. They have a piece of art for any occasion, they can link to it, and it’s great, and it’s always there. Whereas with our contract, we can’t use, we’re just like Houdini after Houdini’s gone. But — so I want to do the rhythm of that calendar but as I drew a line kind of the rhythm of the Jewish life as well. So on holidays, I’ll be like, “How are you celebrating your holiday?” We had a Mah Jongg tournament recently. So I asked people for their memories of Mah Jongg. And with this trees exhibit, we’ve been getting a lot of feedback on peoples relationships with their favorite trees, and we’re working on some kind of interactive for that. So yeah, asking a lot of questions.
Andi Wang: So at the Walt Disney Family Museum, it actually started to tell the public about the life and legacy of Walt Disney. We have ten permanent galleries because he’s dead so things don’t really change. But ten permanent galleries, and it’s pretty high-tech. We have some really cool media in there; touch tables, and fun interactive things. But I think, I mean, with the Walt Disney Family Museum, it’s more about Walt Disney the man. I mean, a lot of his life had to do with Disney because he did start the Disney Company. But the reason why we actually started was because a lot of our generation and the generations that follows our generation don’t know that Walt Disney was a man. They think Walt Disney was made up, a made up kind of person to represent the brand. But he was a person; he was a father, a husband, a dad. And so I guess with that, we have a huge Disney community of fans, hundreds and millions, and thousands of people that really like Disney. But not everyone is in the San Francisco Bay area so social media was a way to reach out to them. They’re all over the world, but it’s just — also another way to tell people about Walt Disney because a lot of our content has to do with Walt Disney the man, not the movies or the company.
Anthem Salgado: And do you have particular campaigns or strategies that you that are ongoing?
Andi Wang: We do have some particularly strategies. We actually have a blog that we started and a lot of our twitter and Facebook links back to the blog. But the blog we interviewed people — well we have Disney historians and authors on staff that write for the blog. But we also interview people like John Lassitier or Pete Doctor, people of the future that are in the animation industry today, and we ask them about how as Walt Disney influenced your life? So everything that we do always relates back to Walt even into the present.
Anthem Salgado: And a lot of them are questions? I mean I’m not noticing that. That might be a recurring thing that we’re asking a lot of questions via social media. Would you consider that the case?
For the record, Walt Disney isn’t frozen
Andi Wang: I think with our audience, a lot of them aren’t really questions, they’re like, “Yay, Disney, I love you guys. Mickey Mouse, whoo.” But we do get questions sometimes, but a lot of times, I think this will relate to something else we’re going to talk about, but there’s statements of facts that are not true. So rather than saying, “Hey, is Walt Disney frozen?” It’s like, “Hey I know where his frozen body is.” So for debunking truth or statements that are said rather than answering questions. And for the record, he is not frozen.
Anthem Salgado: Thank you.
James Im: So YBCA, our mission is really to put contemporary art at the heart of community life. I mean, what that means is there’s a place, a really important place for that contemporary art in people’s everyday lives. It doesn’t have to be a central space of your life and everything. It doesn’t have to revolve around it. But there’s a really important part that I think the art scene played within the community. And I guess how our social media strategy as it were, sort of addresses that. The way that Facebook, and twitter, and all this stuff again is meant to be not so much a marketing channel as it is a way to kind of give a YBCA flavor view of life the creative, life of the city. I know I got some flack internally sort of early on talking about it. The people of that division who set bars, and which is totally understandable. We have a lot of people working day and night to put on these programs and we have this promotional (inaudible), “Why are you talking about my shows?” Well you know there are other things in the city that actually really resonated with our theme that comes with a broader view of how you can actually experience the arts in San Francisco. So our sort of mission kind of aligns with how social media seems to be best used by the institutions of art of our kind. And a really sort not marketing a kind of conversational way where you can kind of — I mean, the fact that you’re an institution like say the Jewish Museum or Disney or whoever you are, I mean, you have a certain brand, you have a certain perspective, and you have a lot expertise on a certain area. And the fact that you, let’s say you’re talking about or pointing out something going on, I mean, it’s something because it has that extra piece that sort of like voice and understand behind it. So I think that’s how we sort of managed our social media to align with our mission.
Anthem Salgado: Kathy (inaudible)?
Kathy Jaller: Always (inaudible).
Anthem Salgado: I want to answer that actually. And I think if you pointed out an important thing, which is, we need to continue to serve our missions, the mission of the organization. Which if you look at the actual mission statement it will say something very poetic and wonderful about arts, and community, and with these kinds of things. It’s not about in (inaudible) driving ticket sales. I feel like if you serve the mission then people will show up. But to use social media strictly as to drive traffic towards buying DVD’s from like the organization is really about. In that respect, all of our organizations really can I think should be talking about other art forms that are relevant to their mission, that are as aspiring as the stuff that they are presenting. And when that happens, we get a more sort of interesting, and as we mentioned a couple times already, unsilo’d world. And that’s really more representative of sort of social media, and where we’re at today. Question?
Finding the balance in just talking about your organization versus things that you may be related to, other arts
Q: Yeah. It’s kind of along those same lines. I was curious. A couple of you had mentioned there’s blog through your organization that you curate. And I was curious what or how you found the balance been just talking about say your organization versus things that you may be related to, other arts, and that sort of thing. Like how that balance comes about?
Anthem Salgado: So the question is in blogging or other platforms, where is the balance between talking about what your organization produces and presents, and just things that you’re sort of curious or interested about?
James Im: Take it away.
Kathy Jaller: Yeah well I kind of set kind of a proportion for myself. I know various social media (inaudible) have different proportions of how you should be talking about yourself versus how much you should be talking about other people. And actually, like I wrote down this quote, this (inaudible) quote which I think about all the time when I mention social media because he talked about in radio or just like in media, just like be like a cool person. Be like a good person, a good conversationalist in conversational mediums. So that means you speak interestingly and engagingly about yourself, and then you ask other people what’s going on. So it’s like don’t — like if you’re a narcissist on social media, then remember that you’re coming into peoples feeds between their grandma, their cousin, their best friend from college. You want to kind of be a real full person as an institution. So — I’m sorry, what was the question?
Anthem Salgado: No, no that was it. Balance it between your own content and other content that already exists out there.
A winning ratio?
Kathy Jaller: Right so I try to do 30/70, that’s what I decided on. And I love like —
Anthem Salgado: Wait, which is 30 and which is 70?
Kathy Jaller: Oh sorry, 30 us, 70 other people actually.
Anthem Salgado: That’s fantastic.
Kathy Jaller: That was my — I don’t know, and it’s just like a lot more fun. Like you’re a building an arch, a (inaudible) arch in YBCA, and I was like, “Over at YBCA, they’re building an arch over there.” So I had to get a little testament, it got retweeted a bunch of times. So just give you anew filter on kind of the content you’re probably already sick of working with like honestly.
Andi Wang: So I think we really lucked out with our institution because Walt Disney touched a lot of lives. Not only of people, who knew him as Uncle Walt, but also just the entire animation industry. I mean, there’s nothing really in the animation industry today that has happened that Walt didn’t touch previously. So it’s really to talk about others because it always relates back to Walt Disney. So I’d say probably 90% of the time we talk about Walt because it always relates back to or we can find a way to relate it back to him. Probably 10% of the other time is interacting with these two or just other museums or cultural institutions in San Francisco. But we also do try to engage the audience. On our blog we do profile, we profile some staff members. We also profile our audience. We pick a member each month to highlight, and ask, and interview them. But it of course relates back to Walt too. Like, “Why are you a member of this museum?” And we also try to send people out to also spread the world. So we have something called “Where in the world is Walt?” and we ask people to take photos of themselves wearing our logo gear just around the world, and then we ask, “Hey, where do you think this person is?” So I mean, I think we’re just really fortunate that everything can somehow be related back to Walt. So most of our topic is about Walt Disney. And also there’s the Disney Company too and they have tons of (inaudible) and they’re current, and they’re constantly changing, and moving forward. So we’re able to retweet them or Facebook them, and they reciprocate as well. So I mean it always relates back to Disney somehow though.
Anthem Salgado: Fantastic.
James Im: As far as ratio, I think it’s fluctuated back and forth on our feeds. I think when I was starting out it was probably like 50/50 depending on the week. I think the fluctuation really kind of has reflected. I mean, in the recent past it’s changing kind of like every quarter, every season. Sort of the internal questioning, and the sort of grappling with the idea that social media channels just in the time that we’ve been doing it have become way more mainstream. You know what I mean; first I mean it started out that no one was on twitter like what four years ago. And its become this mainstream thing, and the expectations for it to be a marketing tool because it’s sort of — I mean a lot of people almost started from being on your email list which is incredibly important still to get your word out to just being a Facebook fan, and then you have that sort of pressure of again, why aren’t you like pushing our programs? You have to be in the (inaudible). So a lot of the fluctuation are our social media output is reflected back. I think there are sort of that — I think the way social media develops sometimes favors one side or the other. Like I think about three months ago or so Facebook changed up their algorithm and stuff with (inaudible) feed and stuff that it kind of like just went a sunder to any of our, like our engagement. Like okay, this isn’t working. Like whatever this strategy we have where we have to market so much, it’s not working. Like let’s turn it into goofy tumbler or something. I don’t know. We have to do something where it’s fun. So I think it’s actually Facebook that needs to be because it’s not responding to what we’ve done before so it’s kind of gratuitous for us to move away from that because the Facebook machine doesn’t actually work in that way. Twitter on the other hand, I kind of — I like that it’s a little bit under the radar still because it’s my little like free reign were I can just kind of like do what I want. But yeah, so it’s a struggle, it’s back and forth.
Is email social?
Anthem Salgado: Yeah. Kathy may I? I have a question, because whenever we mention social media, a lot of times people go to the two big ones which is Facebook and twitter and then those might be followed Tumblr and then Pinterest is now gaining traction. And I wonder if our friend email is completely not considered social these days? I mean, what would you say, where would you gauge that as far as importance email marketing, and messaging and do you consider that social for your organization?
Kathy Jaller: It’s — or you were just were your point about email so —
James Im: Oh okay, it’s brief. Yeah, email is probably the most important marketing tool that we have I’m going to guess for one of them. Still is, it’s not social. You don’t have to (inaudible) to somebody and send an email from (inaudible) going, “Hey what’s up?” Or you send them a postcard in the mail. But yeah, that’s how people find out about it. It’s still incredibly important. It’s incredibly important for your social media stuff because that is the biggest driver of fans, likes, whatever to social media channels. But as far as being social, no it’s just a promotion of (inaudible) sending an email, no. It’s really important.
Anthem Salgado: It’s one-way communication for you?
James Im: Yeah, and it’s traditional marketing. But it’s like (inaudible) language, dah, dah, dah.
Kathy Jaller: Yeah, it’s still really important for us as well. We recently added a perspective session like getting rid of video, and audio up and coming. We have a podcast that’s based between. Check it out. But yeah, we have a perspective section that just highlights all of this. It’s a little editorial oasis. And it’s all other messaging. But yeah, still super, super important.
Andi Wang: I completely agree. I think email is great. We have newsletters and I mean press lists, things like that. But it is I guess a direct way to interact with people. But I think the issue with email is it isn’t social, people can’t stumble into an email and be like, “Oh that’s what’s going on.” Whereas Facebook and twitter you got to click-thru or somehow share links with people. If you forward an email to people it’s different than also just sharing a link and seeing what other people think about it. I think a lot of us these days are narcissists to so we kind of want to show people what we’re interested in, and what we’re looking at, and why it’s cool. And I don’t think we can do that through email, at least socially. Yeah.
Too much access to fans and patrons?
Anthem Salgado: Next question. There’s something wonderful about social media in that it gives us access and opportunity to have conversations with our fans and patrons. I wonder too if you guys have any fun and worthwhile nightmare stories about having that floodgate wide open? And how you handled it?
Kathy Jaller: I’m so glad you asked. Yeah, I mean, this is like the story of the (inaudible) bomb for the rest of the like my social media life. And in thinking about this, and thinking about independent artists, social media’s tough. I’ve noticed myself, I’m very introverted, I thought that I was not the social media type, but I just managed to find a way to make social media work for me, and connect with people in a way that’s authentic, and all those buzzwords that we like to throw around. But with — it’s hard because you get stuff (inaudible) all the time. Did anyone hear of the handholding incident at the Contemporary Museum? So a couple, remember that. So we have Gertrude Stein exhibition during the summer. And what happened was on the weekend a contract guard we brought in just for that day told two women who were holding hands in the gallery that they could not hold hands. And they challenged this. There was a scene, the manager of security came and they said, “Oh absolutely, that’s not a rule” and they removed the guard. But this got, there was a story, and it got to paper. So The Chronicle wrote this story, and like the reason it’s so — it was like a (inaudible) social media story. The reason it’s so sticky is because it was ridiculous. It was in an exhibition about Gertrude Stein a famous lesbian who was in a relationship with Alice B. Toklas. It gave like their relationship prominence. There was a lot of — so it’s just like totally ironic. But it makes a great social media headline, it makes a great tweet. So it was in Gawker, it was in Huffington Post; it was like (inaudible). It was the most viral we’ve ever been. And unfortunately it was like with headlines like, “Jewish museum kicks out lesbians.” So it was just like completely ridiculous. So a lot of people stay out of the fray but I, because I was in social media I saw, I had contact with many, many angry, angry people who were just getting the facts wrong. So it was a really rough week on me. But it gave me the opportunity. People were angry and they were used to feeling angry and getting a response. Now on social media, and thank goodness I was able to give them a response, give them our directors official condemnation of this event, and then later we already had scheduled an LBGT family for that very week. So we turned LBGT family day into handholding day, and were able to kind of change the story in a way and that also kind of made headlines. Lots of all the networks covered it locally anyway. But it’s just like, it was such a nightmare. It was kind of your worse nightmare, and then at the end it wasn’t that bad and was an incredible opportunity, and at the end people were just grateful to have someone listen and respond. So it wasn’t that bad. And there’s an opportunity. It’s a total privilege to be able to address peoples concerns that directly.
Anthem Salgado: Fantastic. Thank you.
Andi Wang: I don’t really have a horror story but this happens quite often to us. As I mentioned before, people don’t ask questions, they make statements. So on Facebook and twitter, we will get quite a few people just random people who have already made up their minds about Walt Disney and everyone thinks they’re a expert at Walt Disney. Whatever is on Wikipedia apparently is true too. So they make statements on Facebook and twitter and I guess the best way how to combat it is we, I mean, we have a lot of things in history even in our galleries that’s pretty much proof of why these things are not true whether it is like a death certificate of him getting cremated, and being buried, which means he’s not frozen. Or World War II propaganda in one of our galleries for the American Government. There are just so many things that are already in the history books, and there’s just visual or written or photographic proof of why these things are true. So I guess we just have to constantly with our blog usually have to push that truth out. Other times when it gets unruly, I mean, there is a delete button, there is a ban button. We just do that, and that’s kind of the easy way out, but it is quite effective. Yeah.
Anthem Salgado: Thank you.
James Im: Let me see. I guess my horror story, not as giant, and Huffington Post in covering and Blogger didn’t catch onto it. It better (inaudible). But I guess — it’s about learning how to use that ban button I think and like the importance of being a community manager like on your social media. We had — this is probably the second or third incidence where it sort of — the one that I could set my mind on it. And it’s really goofy, I mean, we had some posts, we were (inaudible) on tradition that had this medical marijuana public program thing, they had a neon pot leaf on the window. I think it’s, it was great. It was really educational, so it was hilarious as far as everything, the puns you could come up with for that post, and so we did another one. And then somehow in the comments, someone started commenting in this incoherent sort of way, which I figured was a joke and someone playing along with the pot joke. And but as the conversation sort of spiraled down, this whole where this guy had, was saying that he had broken up with his girlfriend, and he was — clearly it was someone who was in some dire straights or something, some emotional peril here, and coming to our wall and everything. And he named this girl. And so I’m like, okay, wait I’m not sure — like a part of me is like, the human part, partly the one that awaits, that really wants to support this community, keep it open and everything was like, “Oh my god, do I have to assume it’s like (inaudible) or what do I do?” And then when he names the girl, I did my sort of snooper kind of Internet research thing; I’m like oh this is a tradeshow model or something. I’m like okay, wait — I have this sense this is on BS detector, got to go now. I’m like, um, okay. I figure this conversation cannot end well. Whatever happens is like — and he’s responding to every single one of my things and not understanding the turn of the conversation or anything like that. And he’s just kind of ranting. I’m like okay, I’m going to ban him, okay that’s it. It’s like I had to have this moment with my PR and stuff who I usually don’t go to for social media. That’s another truism, don’t go to PR. I’m sorry. But the thing is, yeah so I was like, “Okay, this is your page, this is your conversation, this is your community, and you want to — this is like the story you’re trying to tell.” And if someone’s going to totally take it out of whack, and stuff — and we do open, we do allow, I mean, we want that sort of like interactive kind of thing. But if some things really kind of like not smelling right, it’s like okay, just cut it, this is your community. This is your in charge of it.
Anthem Salgado: Can I ask a question? Were you under the impression that was an automated sort of advertising machine?
James Im: No, no, no. He was just replaying to my jokes with like — because I thought he was joking at first. To come back, it’s dah, dah, dah. And then he’d be like, “Weren’t you listening to me?” I’m like, “Oh my god.” So this is like is this for real. And yeah, I mean I felt that it was like 50/50 and then I was like I did my little research and like it just cured me of a (inaudible). And I have couple times besides him.
Anthem Salgado: The ban button?
James Im: Yeah.
Anthem Salgado: Okay.
Andi Wang: I think another thing too is that people just want to be heard sometimes whether it’s by you or by the world. Sometimes — so we’re not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. We work really closely with them, and we share the same name, but we’re not actually affiliated with them. So a lot of times we’ll get random requests like, “Oh can you move the 9 p.m. fireworks to a little earlier?” It’s like, “We don’t have fireworks here.” But a lot of times I think people are just looking to get heard and they’ll say whatever they can just to get heard. Sometimes before or after deleting, I will just go on my personal Facebook account, message that person or direct message them on twitter and say, “I’m so sorry you’re having these problems or you feel this way. I’m the social media manager here at the Walt Disney Family Museum. My name is Andi. If you want to give me a call or send me an email, and I put my personal information.” That way it seems like we actually care, I mean, we really do care. But we let them know that there’s a person behind that social media account, and that we are listening and that we do care about what they have to say and we’re being proactive about solving this situation.
Marketing tips for individual artists
Anthem Salgado: Fantastic. Are you guy’s individual artists as well? No, no? Only Kathy admits that she is. How many individual or independent artists do we have in the room? A good handful. I’m curious to know how in what ways you guys market for individual artists or artists in general and if you feel like any of those methodologies translate to the independent workings of artists out there?
Kathy Jaller: Okay. Well our current exhibition, (inaudible) story Trees, Art in Jewish Story. It’s putting the contemporary back into contemporary Jewish Museum we like to say, so it’s all different artists. So it’s like, I can’t, tag Houdini’s Facebook page, Facebook fan page for that exhibition. But I mean credible, I mean I get to tag real artists now. So Vin David (phonetic), and Lisa Congdon, and other artists who have developed their presences. So if you have a Facebook page, it’s on you kind of to build it out, and push it out. But it also allows people you’re working with to identify you and connect with you digitally. So I mean, that’s just been really fun being able to hear about some of Vin David’s like plane delay through twitter. And it’s like, “You have to get here. Install starts at this time.” Like — yeah opportunity for conversation.
Question: So I’m pretty familiar with Lisa Congdon’s work and I know that she has a huge following in social media. Can you kind of explain to the people who might not be aware of her efforts to get herself out and how those venues have led to her getting shows, and now being in a museum?
Anthem Salgado: Can you repeat the question?
Kathy Jaller: Oh sure. She’s asking about one artist in particular Lisa Congdon who’s in our current show. You should look her up. It’s Lisa, l-i-s-a C-o-n-g-d-o-n dot com. I can’t speak for anything except for the CJM. I’m not exactly sure how she was identified except to be known in the community. But she has an incredible blog. She wrote today about how this is her first museum show, and how important that is to her. And of course, we were like, oh, this is heart wrenching. We tweeted about that, and posted it on our Facebook page, our individual. Our curator you know also posted it because it’s like so personal. Yeah, she has a very active Pinterest, which if you don’t know it’s just a collection of all her inspiration. And that’s one of the like the key parts of content we like to share is kind of like before the artwork is created, what happens? What are the references, what are the resources? And so she has that out for everyone to see. Very active on twitter and Facebook. So yeah, I would just like take a look at her as a model. And what’s going, doing well.
James Im: I can’t — I guess I want to tread carefully here because I’m not a curator and I can’t really, I feel like I can’t give advice on how individual artists get shown through social media. But what I would cite as an example, it’s in New York, I mean, it’s someone I follow. A guy named William Powhidi, that’s his twitter name too. It seems like he’s kind of built a huge following, and a huge reputation for himself on line. I feel like its been like primarily through online channels. And its come from his sort of online banter in community with a group of his local art critics, bloggers, and other artists that are so entertaining just to watch, just to watch conversation in public and on twitter. I mean, a lot of his work is about or most of it seems to be about critiquing the art world. So it’s really juicy stuff anyway. But kind of fun his way interesting. But just to watch that conversation between him, Patty Johnson, Artifact City, and then Rob Vertiana (phonetic), and (inaudible) and all these things. And a lot of times they’ll have this conversational community online. And they vote for themselves like through — especially William Powhidi, this huge promise. And actually I almost saw him in or (inaudible) Miami, he was going there with a contingent of other artists to do this performance and (inaudible) stuff critiquing the entire thing. And what I — the things I hear back from it was that kind of some people kind of thought that he would have a much bigger contingent or something because he had this huge profile he built online. And I’m sure that all seemed professionally (inaudible) and everything like that.
Kathy Jaller: And as our work is so much about words, like very word based, so it’s like an extension of his artwork and not like this separate artificial marketing voice. I mean, that’s what I’m super interested in. I mean, artists who — like it’s super painful for me to be like, “I got a show at Indi Mart this weekend, come –” I don’t cover myself, it’s hard to talk about yourself as if you’re in the one who’s making the art but maybe think about it as what can you do different with twitter that —
James Im: Yeah, as long as you guys institutional art world critique thing has made it like really easy for us to like retweet his stuff, and share it. I mean, part of writing about being in the art world wherever you are, this one is self-reflexive kind of critique that you do on yourself sometimes. And I think it’s something that — I mean, sometimes I even try to push on twitter, I’m like, oh they’re easy. Right there, nice, good one. It’s like okay, that’s done playing around with it.
Anthem Salgado: Fantastic.
Question: So I know that Pinterest has become very popular especially I’ve used it — but the demographic of it is primarily mothers, people looking for wedding stuff, how to redecorate their home which is what I use it for. But like there’s actually a tool, and I don’t know if any of you’ve tried using it. It’s called Capsule, and it’s actually by the Kedese (phonetic) foundation created it. And it’s specifically for artist organization and curation, and it’s sort of set up very similar to Pinterest except for it’s very much arts focused. So I — we’re using at zero-one, but I don’t know if you guys have heard of it or thought about it because it actually is San Francisco born. And I don’t know, do you —
Anthem Salgado: Do you use capsule? So the question was whether we are familiar with another tool similar to Pinterest, that same organization is called Capsule. And I’m not but now we are. So we can spy on that after the presentation. We’ll take one more question, and then we have to wrap up.
Do you spend a lot of time trying to convince your supervisors of the value of social media?
Question: So in your guy’s organization, I imagine that a group of the people there that work there have been at your organization for quite a while. Do you guys have to spend some time to help them understand the value of social media to actually get them to go on board? I mean, as you guys have mentioned, you guys have a limited budget. Unlike a corporation, you guys need to make sure that your funds are allocated appropriately. Do you spend a lot of time trying to convince the value?
Anthem Salgado: Are we spending a lot of time still trying to convince our bosses that social media is important?
Kathy Jaller: Well I been at the Contemporary Jewish Museum for three years. I started as a marketing coordinator, and I just have had to like — it’s a combination of like, “I’m going to do this. Is this cool, is this cool? Okay, I’m doing it.” And then a senior design in social media, a part-time design, part time social media, and now I’m totally the media. So that’s only in three years, the value has become increasingly apparent. And yeah, we used to talk about things in terms of spirit of ignorance in terms of what you can do under the radar. You know do it because it’s important to you, and do it because you know something important is happening. And focus on how they don’t care anyway, so you might as well. But there was a turning point for us that maybe is a rather big story. Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Tolkien “Paper Dolls” posted on Facebook, and then I got picked up by Jewish (inaudible) Forward, by Jezebel, and then The New York Times on their blogs. And so after that, it was like, I guess people are reading this aren’t they? So yeah, three years it has already changed, I’m sure it will continue to. So now it’s just a matter of like I want to do more training so people who don’t know social media in an organization to be like, “Yeah, it’s confusing. You don’t have to be on it all the time. But this is what I do. I am doing something all day, not just being on Facebook.”
Andi Wang: So I think it’s a little different with our institution. The Walt Disney Family Museum opened in October of 2009 and I’ve been with the museum since June 2009. So the whole intention to bring me on in the first place actually was to just for the whole social media thing. I think we’re also very fortunate that although quality is more important than quantity, we do have the numbers to back up what we’re doing and say, “This is why it’s effective, and this is why it’s important.” So no, I don’t have trouble with my bosses.
James Im: I was lucky in that I had, my marketing director who was my direct supervisor at the time was really, really on board with it. And she and the executive director were the two that were really championing this. Like this is what we need to do and like it gave me a whole bunch of cover from any potential critiques about what’s the use of this thing. But I think as time has went on people understand like oh we do this, the thing like oh why aren’t we there if we’re not there? So I think it’s much less buy and issues now. It’s more like explaining strategy stuff. Like explaining to them why the newsfeed operates this way so we have to post this stuff. It’s more strategic. As far as mission, and reasons, I think it’s (inaudible).
Anthem Salgado: Yeah I would echo that that it’s more about how rather than why or why not. That concludes our panel. Thank you guys so much for witnessing and for being here. Obviously, we’re all very available online so feel free to catch up with us there, and in real time as well. Thank you.