Baltimore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Enriching lives through organ and choral music


From the AGOYO: Self Promotion on Social Media

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Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic region! With so many new faces on the board, we are very excited about the coming year for our region and for AGOYO as a whole. Throughout the academic year, the Mid-Atlantic chapter will be focusing on promotion, networking, and wellness. There are many ways to form connections in our field and those possibilities have exponentially grown since the advent of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Using these platforms effectively can drastically influence your professional network and provide opportunities that might have otherwise been missed.

The first thing to consider in this discussion is the level of privacy that you want to maintain. There are certainly risks involved in having too much personal information (i.e. phone number, address, travel plans, etc) on the internet. Privacy settings can always be changed as you become for comfortable but you should be fully aware of the privacy policies in place for each platform that you use. The second point is to consider how much time you realistically want to or can afford to spend on developing your social media presence. These useful tools can quickly become massive time-wasters. In reality, it does not take much time to maintain an active presence but as that presence develops, you may find that you have to budget your time more effectively. As with anything, that comes with practice and experience.

Facebook seems like a natural place to begin our discussion of developing a social media presence as it is the oldest and most ubiquitous cross-generational platform. Despite the many downfalls of the platform, there is no better place to post content that you want to be easily visible and sharable. One advantage to Facebook is the ability to operate a public ‘Page’ separate from your profile. If privacy on your personal profile is important to you, this is a very simple way to still reap the benefits of this platform. Posting music lists from church, photos or videos from recitals, and upcoming events are all easy ways to maintain an active presence on Facebook. The most useful of these features is the ability to create and share events. As the event gets shared and more people mark that they are interested or attending, the event will become increasingly more visible to other interested parties. Liking, commenting on, and sharing your colleagues’ posts are crucial to strengthening your network. One of the greatest advantages to social media is the ability to meet people who you do not yet know but should know. The only way to bridge that gap is through sharing the successes, art, performances, and questions of your colleagues.

Facebook pairs very effectively with YouTube, and in fact many Facebook posts are links to YouTube videos. Creating and maintaining a YouTube channel is a fairly painless process. The obvious advantage to YouTube is its ability to host large videos that are too cumbersome for other platforms. This is ideal for posting video recordings of full recitals, church services, or other concerts however, YouTube is also a wonderful platform to share smaller videos. There are several different levels of privacy including the option to disable comments or posting the video as ‘unlisted’ so that only those with a link can view it. Having video recordings easily accessible on YouTube is a wonderful asset when it comes to applying to a recital series (more on that coming soon!), creating a website (that too!), and sharing content via Facebook.

Ultimately, your social media presence has to be comfortable, easy, and useful for you. It is all about trial and error and there are other platforms that will be addressed in future posts. The important thing is to make the most of the tools at your disposal and begin to make the internet work for you! Go forth and post, like, comment, and share art with our great network of friends and colleagues!

Jordan Prescott is the Chair of the American Guild of Organists Young Organists (AGOYO) for the Mid-Atlantic Region, a member of the Baltimore AGO Chapter, and Organ Scholar at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Mt. Vernon. He is in the second year of his masters program at Peabody Conservatory.

Louis Gephardt