Sara Hagen, Valley City State University
Chair, Committee on Instructional Technology
The mission of the New and Emerging Technologies Committee (NET) is to help the Society evaluate technology options as they emerge and develop and to provide guidance as to how the technologies would best serve to support the mission of The College Music Society. Dr. Sara Hagen accepted the appointment to chair the committee and selected five members: Dr. Frank Clark, Dr. Scott Deal, Dr. James Frankel, Dr. Gena Greher, and Dr. Brian Shepard. The committee met several times via videoconference to discuss a number of questions regarding social media posed by the Board. In preparation for the meetings, the members were asked to read the book, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant.
The NET Committee defined social media as a natural, genuine conversation among people about something of mutual interest, built on a shared experience. The momentum of such media is largely from the ground up, rather than distributed as a top-down structure. Therefore, the committee suggested that the Society develop an objective to increase participation and engagement to build shared experiences among its members.
Shared experiences can be built on a number of platforms, but four main options are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Facebook is accessed by young and old alike and Twitter is growing in popularity. Pinterest and Google+ are also growing and gaining popularity as meeting and sharing places. The NET committee suggested that these may be a good starting place for further exploration through a manager such as Hootsuite or Joomla’s extension system.
Youtube is another important media. The YouTube Channel offers promise for members’ participation, so bringing Dr. Steven Kreinberg, the Video Publications Editor, into the discussion would be beneficial at this time. By tagging member videos, the Society could build a powerful resource of examples, performances, and lessons. Care would need to be taken regarding copyrights, of course; but a group of editors might be amenable to this task, particularly if they are recognized as official members of an editorial board.
The maintenance of social media requires daily input or it is in danger of becoming the “elephant in the room.” NET suggests that the Music Vacancy List (MVL) notice be maintained and pushed also to Pinterest and Google+ through a manager. In addition, a quote or question of the day or link to one of the external resources mentioned below might spur response from the members if nudged regularly to check it out or subscribe to the posts. A suggested list of outside resources and links: the arts sections of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Other alternative sources of content might be newsletters and journals of collegial organizations.
Twitter is an active social media site, with “tweets” often incorporated into presentations or other aspects of the Society meetings and conferences. The @College Music Soc is established and pushes the MVL weekly. The NET committee suggested that a hashtag, which is essentially an unmoderated discussion forum, be created to allow members to use their own Twitter feeds to promote their presentations, open discussions on topics of interest at the conference, or plan meet-and-greets. These hashtags are rather loose in nature and rely on the users to maintain adherence to professional principles. Hashtags may be retired at any time. As an example, #cmsmus or #cmsdiscuss are available at this writing. Another idea using hashtags is a monthly chat on Twitter once a month, in the tradition of #musedchat on Monday nights. SIGs could be in charge, hosting a special guest speaker or moderator of interest on a topic of interest.
Another question posed by the Board regarded where the Society should get its content for social media sites and what resources might be needed. The NET committee suggested that resources and links might be fed daily through the established channels by a central office employee spending approximately one hour per week, using a manager to distribute the interaction “nudges.” The YouTube Channel would be an excellent opportunity for member-driven content to be shared.
The Board is concerned, rightly, about time management involved with monitoring and servicing social media. Volunteers are difficult to count on; but perhaps a formal agreement could be made with nonpaid members to serve the organization in many of the capacities suggested in this document. Members seeking tenure or promotion may be able to capitalize on their service if the relationship was more formalized. Time allotments are difficult to determine. Management software like Hootsuite can mitigate the time for input. Dr. Frank Clark offered his services on providing consult for Joomla extensions for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Finally, how will the efforts toward social media inclusion and expansion be measured? The NET committee believes that measuring is important and would recommend Google analytics, which provides a wide variety of metrics from which to select for specific tracking information. If Hootsuite is used (though some issues with Facebook may be a factor), this management system would provide data. NET would be particularly interested in tracking interactions with members and hope to see an increase if these ideas are implemented. “Likes” and “followers” are also helpful to track regularly, especially in relation to posts or push-outs. The Society could better track interest with these tools, which in turn could help steer decisions for implementation, time spent, money spent, etc.