Social Media Timing in the Age of Despair

I have words but they are jumbled

We’re in this vicious cycle now:

Tragedy

Outrage

Tears

Thoughts and Prayers

We need more than just thoughts and prayers

Think Pieces

Action items you can take

Reactions to Think Pieces

New Tragedy

Outrage

Rinse and repeat

 

After the Sandy Hook massacre, I created a social media policy for handling mass shootings in progress, tailoring it to each of my clients at that time.

It took me until Tamir Rice to create a policy for when an unarmed Black person is killed by police.

After Charlie Hebdo attacks, I adjusted the mass shootings policy to include terrorist attacks. Why that didn’t start earlier and why it mostly only focuses on attacks in the western world is a topic for another post.

What to do when we wake up each day to horrible news, or at the very least, weekly?

How to continue business on social media outlets when you need to acknowledge, or at least respect, but life also must continue?

How to let some light into the dark, either through happy photos, good news or commentary?

How to continue your work and your life without sounding like you are ignoring the devastating news of the day? Without sounding selfish, or privileged enough not to be confronted with the fear every minute, either because of where you live or the color of your skin?

I think about this a lot. It even makes me pause sometimes from posting the cycle of gun control, of Black Lives Matter, of how to raise a white child without white privilege: because in a matter of days, I can start to sprinkle more photos of my happy toddler or outreach advice or activism through art.

And then a new outrage will occur.

Rinse. Repeat.

It’s much too easy to ignore before the next horrendous headline enters my morning Facebook feed.

 

After the brutal month of June and early July 2016, I decided the only solution is to stop letting myself ignore it on days that it isn’t in my face. Many people fight these inequalities and face these horrors every day. I need to make the real effort to be more than an ally, and I need to make it every day. There are times for self-care, but I cannot retreat into it. I need to not only post “What You Can Do” articles, but hold myself accountable and post when I actually do make those calls to Congress and inquire/fight for proper police procedure. Feeling jumbled, as in my July 8 Facebook post, is not enough. I also greatly respect those who are not as public with their feelings or actions. Silence is complicity, certainly, but just because I don’t see you touting your feelings or actions on social media doesn’t mean you aren’t doing the work in real life. Posting something just so you are seen as aware often makes it sound trite, no matter how genuine the feelings behind it. I worried about that with every other post that ran through my brain on July 8th, and so just focused on my exact feelings at that exact time. I still worry it could sound trite, but at least I know it was the truth and not me trying to make something more out of the truth that I felt at that moment.

Now this is only for my personal social media platforms. What about brands, entrepreneurs, businesses? There are ways to mirror mission with current events for nonprofits, but others? Right now,I just take it case by case. In much of my work, I ghost write social media posts for people, and I take my cues from their personal pages, or send that all too familiar email:

“In light of recent events, I would like to post something along these lines:” and then I say something relatively simple without making any real statement: the brand version of “Thoughts and prayers”. For a local Orlando business, I barely even mentioned the actual massacre, but focused on the helpers in Orlando and particularly helping Orlando businesses.

I take it day by day, adjusting social media protocols as necessary but mostly winging it, collaborating when I have a team. Sometimes it is best just to stay silent. You don’t want to feel like you’re trying to draw attention to your brand through tragedies, even if it is to express sympathy. Yet, with these events happening so often (or at least our awareness of them amplified by access to media), how can you stay silent?

There are no real answers, just conscience and judgement and the ability to feel ignorant and ask questions of those more knowledgeable more I.

How do you handle your personal social media and business accounts lately?

So I Got a Passion Planner

passion planner

Right around January, that beautiful idealized time when everyone re-evaluates their life and dreams, I followed up on something I’d bookmarked a few weeks earlier:

The Passion Planner.

I checked out how it works, and printed a few free sample pages to see if I could better organize my February workload if I used it.

It requires a lot of dedication, a lot of planning to the minute detail and date as to how you will accomplish your goals. It takes a focused amount of time every week to not only organize your life by the half hour, but also to evaluate how successful you were in implementing your plan.

Here is the main thing I saw from using a Passion Planner that no other planner thus far has done for me:

It helps me understand exactly  how much time my various activities take and how much time I have left.

I gained a real understanding of my limits, but more importantly, I clarified my priorities. In order to continue with both my Outreach Nerd consulting, revising my novel-in-progress, keeping my toddler and I active, and eating as healthily as possible, I had to get real on my time commitments.

In no particular order, here are my concrete takeaways using the Passion Planner:

  • I have to focus on one writing project at a time. Decide whether I want short term gratification (blog) or to get absorbed into revisions, and plan my writing time that day accordingly (even if it is only an hour).
  • Schedule time to prepare food and eat it.
  • Plan on Sunday for the following week and discuss the work schedule with my husband where it overlaps with our time at home together.
  • Plan on 1-2 days where we don’t take the car and enjoy the lack of structured activities to let my son lead our playtime. This also means his nap isn’t overlapping with driving time and I then get at least an extra half hour of work time.
  • Take pleasure in highlighting the items I finish.
  • Schedule time to shower.
  • Perhaps most importantly: This is not a to-do list. Each line represents a half hour of my life, and some tasks take longer, some take less time. Adjust accordingly.

If you need better time management in your life and have multiple projects to juggle (including household and relationship ones), then I strongly suggest downloading some sample pages and testing it out for at least a month. I ended up buying the undated planner and it is working very well for me.

I am in no way associated with the Passion Planner and was not solicited to write this review in any manner. If you do want to try one, I would appreciate it if you say you were referred by cindymariejenkins@gmail.com and I’ll eventually get a discount. 

 

Can’t We Just….?

Outreach Consultant

I hear it a lot.

After I detail the work needed to accomplish a client’s goal, whether that be attendees at an event, audience at a show, Facebook Likes, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers…..

“That seems like an awful lot of work.”

Then I hold in a sigh and brace myself for the inevitable question:

“Can’t We Just…..”

  • Blast to our email list?
  • Post it on Facebook?
  • Put out a bunch of tweets?
  • Offer free tickets?
  • Throw out a Facebook Ad?
  • Ask people to Retweet?…….


My answer is always the same.
If you want the same results, then by all means, keep doing the same things.

However, you hired me so that you, and your business, could accomplish more. You know you need more.

The truth is…..

Right now, we are marketed to all the time. Day and night. What used to be interruption marketing is now simply our existence.

Blasts, tweets, status updates….they all serve a purpose. The main thing to remember now is that relationships matter. The personal touch matters. Making your audience feel as though they matter to you and are not just a number, not just a sale.

I know it sounds like a lot of work. That’s because it is.

Audience/customer development is a lot of work.

Just getting people’s attention is a lot of work.

You must invite people to the party. Invite them as an individual, and have reasons why that person would like what you offer, not why just anyone who follows you on Instagram should buy it. Then you convince them to stay, and keep them interested.

It’s work. Consistent work.

The same old blasts won’t do the job.

It takes time to find and nurture new customers, and even more time and care to make them feel like more than just a sale, and get them to feel part of a community where they are wanted and valued for more than their checkbook.

So the next time you feel the words “Can’t we just….” about to come out of your mouth, please stop and consider whether what you are about to suggest is exactly what hasn’t been working, exactly the reasons why you felt you needed my – or someone else’s – help.

Then let’s talk.

 

 

My 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival Picks

I’ve enjoyed attending the Hollywood Fringe Festival since it started, and always searched for more ways to let audiences in on the fun. Now living in a new city, I understand even more how it’s hard to just jump into a Fringe Festival, even if you’re really into it.

These are the shows that I would put on my #HFF16 Dance Card during this first week of previews and through opening, if I were in town. Click the title to find the show on the Fringe website.

Enjoy!

Cindy Marie Jenkins, Founder & Consultant of See It or Skip It LA

From Reputation

Neva  “People are dying of hunger in the streets and you want to put on a play?” I saw this NEVAplay (different production) at CalArts REDCAT in 2011 and was thrilled to see Diana Wyenn directing it now.

Patriot Act is written and performed by Michael Schlitt, whose show Jesus Ride I adored a few years ago at Fringe. He is incredibly sharp, funny and theatrical. I would not miss this if I were in town.

Thug Tunnel by Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party. They had a great show last year and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint: In the not-so-distant-future, greed, pollution, and The Ancient Fire of Death and Despair have made Earth’s surface uninhabitable, forcing the human race to survive underground in a criminal society known as THUG TUNNEL.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) with an all female cast who are incredibly funny.

Simon Coronel: Alien of Extraordinary Ability. That’s how he’s designated by the U.S. Department of Immigration. An Australian Illusionist who often frequents the Hollywood Fringe, Simon always entertains. Sometimes, he throws his knowledge of Mandarin in there, too.

All the Best Killers are Librarians. I mean, the title. Then I learn it is from Serial Killers, the late night serial competition at Sacred Fools, and I’m hooked.

Bull and Smoke are both by Rogue Machine, who never seem to disappoint with new plays.

 

Just Because I Dig This Kind of Thing

Troy Before I knew it was a Fountain Theatre production (looks like part of a development series), this is a rare instance of the play description gripping me. (It should be noted that I am a Greek geek to the extreme.)

Photojournalist and war correspondent, Arthur Hess, has made his living taking photos of some of the world’s most violent places. But when his eldest daughter is publicly murdered, it is the photo he takes of her corpse that threatens to destroy both his family and his name. Inspired by The Oresteia, TROY is a play about the perplexity of grief in a war that is happening both far away and in our living rooms.  

Fairy Tales Against Humanity Like children’s theatre gone horribly wrong, “Fairy Tales Against Humanity” is a new half-scripted/half-improvised show. This is one of those big Fringe #ChanceIt shows. It could be horrendous but it could be hilarious. I’d probably #DrinkBeforeIt.

Here There Be Dragons: A Journey from Fear to Freedom with Ukrainian Dog and Shredded Cheesedid you read that title? Taking chances on shows like this are why Fringe Festivals exist, in my opinion.

50 Shades of Shakespeare – Twelfth Night with four actors. It’s been done, but you, the audience, picks who plays who. I’d easily give this show 45 minutes of my life. Learn More at www.lanewcourttheatre.com

Keep up w/ See It or Skip It LA Correspondents’ Picks here

Webinar: Harvesting Leads using social media

Harvesting Leads

using social media

APRIL 24 (11:30-1pm PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

So you have cool content, but don’t see butts in seats as a result?

We’ll cover: 
—Generating leads for your audience beyond family and friends
—Create a fun calendar to attract new audiences
—How to follow through and invite them to your show

More about Cindy

—————-

$50 for live individual training

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 17: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein

Webinar: Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

Twitter & Instagram Tutorial

APRIL 17 (10-11:30am PST)
with Cindy Marie Jenkins

Is “Hey! My first tweet!” also your only tweet?

Not sure how to use Instagram to connect with audiences?

Have questions but scared to ask them?

We will:

  • Run through Twitter and Instagram Basics, step by step, so you know the correct set up and tools at your disposal.
  • Review Best Practices and Common Missteps so you feel like a power user from Day 1.
  • Plan how you will use each platform to accomplish your short and long term goals.

$40 for live webinar if you register by April 15

$50 after April 15

REGISTER HERE

More Webinars:

APRIL 24: Harvesting Leads using social media

MAY 1: Pitching to Press with Diana Wyenn

MAY 8: Crowdfunding Prep with Madeline Rosenstein

Voices From Chornobyl

2012 was the first year since 2005 that my April hadn’t been all about promoting awareness of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. The history of the project is longer than the piece itself, and explore this site for more information. I adapted the play from 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s book Voices From Chernobyl.

For the thirtieth anniversary of the accident, I’ll tweet the entire script during the month of April. Follow @VoicesChornobyl to read.

Below is a sample of the script and a demo video we produced for the 2007 International Chernobyl Conference. We used to promote awareness and raise funds for Chernobyl charities by doing readings around Los Angeles. If you are interested, please contact me.

CHARACTERS (and ensemble members)

Katya Shimanky, young girl at the time of the accident (Kappa Victoria Wood)

Vasily Shimanky, Physicist (Brad Beacom)

Irina Shimanky, Doctor at a Radiation Hospital (Katie Sweeney)

Anna Sushko, Resident of Chornobyl (Enci)

Arkady Filin, Clean-up Crew Member (Aaron Lyons)

Grigory Brovkin, Former Soldier, Leader of a Clean-up Crew (Michael Laurino)

Stepanov Morozkov, Vasily and Grigory’s Supervisor (Brian Sparrow)

Sergei Gurin, Cameraman from Minsk (Shawn Macaulay)

Ludmila (A Solitary Human Voice), Wife of a Fireman (Kristin Mochnick / Carolyn Blais)

Valentina (A Lonely Human Voice), Wife of a Clean-up Crew Member (Daryl Dickerson)

NOTE

At times the characters speak to their Interviewer and at times they are back in the moment. If there is a slash (/) on one line, then the following line should overlap at the point of the slash (/).

 

VOICES FROM CHORNOBYL 

Adapted by Cindy Marie Jenkins

From the book by Svetlana Alexievich

 

KATYA

You’re writing a book, but so far no book has helped, explained it to me. No more than the theater or the movies. I figure it out without them. By myself.

ANNA

There was no sign.

KATYA

We’re all going through this alone, and we don’t know what to do.

ANNA

Anna inspiration

Inspiration for ANNA

Sometimes, your palm itches and you know to get ready. But today, no signs.

KATYA

We don’t know what to do. I want to love, I try to love! I pray for my love! And—-

VASILY

My first reaction was to call my wife and warn her. But all our telephones at the Institute were bugged. That eternal fear, beaten into us through the decades.

ANNA

The first fear came out of the blue, over water—

VASILY

My family didn’t know.

KATYA

My father is particularly bewildered.

VASILY

My daughter – at this moment she would be walking to school. With friends. Outside.

 

KATYA

He always taught me to live by books. And suddenly books cannot help. My parents are confused. My father does not know how to live without the counsel of books. Without Chekhov and Tolstoy, and the old Greek masters.

Remember? I want to remember and at the same time I don’t.

VASILY

Shut the windows.

KATYA

I remember my mother’s phone call in the early morning.

IRINA

There’s a fire at the atomic station. Orders are to keep the radio on.

KATYA

We lived in Pripyat, just three miles from the reactor. I was born and bred there.

VASILY

Listen to me very closely.

IRINA

What are you talking about?

VASILY

Quiet. Shut the windows. Put all the food in plastic bags.

Put on rubber gloves and wipe every surface with a wet rag. Then put the rag in a plastic bag and get rid of it. The laundry drying on the balcony has to be washed again.

IRINA

What’s happened ther—

VASILY

I hung up. She was in medicine. She was bound to understand.

KATYA

Remember? Perhaps it’s better not to. Just in case. We saw the fire—

ANNA

–and we figured it was temporary, and no one was worried about it. We didn’t know about atoms, I swear! One nightingale sang all night—that means a sunny day.

LUDMILA

In the middle of the night, I heard a noise. I –I don’t know what to tell you about! Death or love? Or is it one and the same? What shall I tell you? We were newlyweds. We still held hands in the street, even if we were just going to the store. I told him: “I love you.” But I didn’t even know how much. I had no idea. We lived in the hostel of the fire station where he worked. Below us, on the first floor, were the fire engines.

Red fire engines. That was his work. That was all he ever wanted to do.

(Takes a deep breath) In the middle of the night, I heard a noise. I looked out the window. He saw me and said, “Shut the windows and get back to sleep. There’s a fire at the reactor. I’ll be back soon.”

(pause)

I did not see the explosion itself. Only the flames. Everything seemed to flow.

ANNA

fire truck on fire

KATYA’s drawing from 2011 production: Voices From Chornobyl Jr.

People took their small children outside, lifted them up and said, “Look, how beautiful! Don’t forget this.” We stood in that horrible black smoke.

LUDMILA

The whole sky. The flames were high. And smoke. Horrible heat.

KATYA

The smoke over the station was not black or yellow, it was light blue.

ANNA

We did not know that Death could be so beautiful.

IRINA

The police and the military set up roadblocks, they were letting no one out. We spent all day watching TV, waiting for Gorbachev to speak. The authorities were silent.

KATYA

I stared all day out of the closed window. It was just an ordinary fire, being put out by ordinary firemen.

LUDMILA

And he was still out. They went off to the fire without their protective gear, just in their shirt sleeves. They were summoned as if to a normal fire. I sat and waited. Four o’clock.

VALENTINA

I’d go to church, where it was so quiet.

LUDMILA

Five……

VALENTINA

The way it is in the mountains sometimes.

LUDMILA

Six……..

VALENTINA

So quiet. You can forget your life in there. But in the mornings, I’d wake up. I’d wake up and feel around for him. Where is he? I’d shut my eyes and think about him until I fell asleep. In my sleep, he would come to me, but very quickly. Vanish immediately.

LUDMILA

Seven o’clock.

VALENTINA

Where is he? I can’t tell you what it is like. I don’t know how I manage to stay alive.

LUDMILA

At seven they informed me that he was in the hospital. I ran over there, but police would not let anyone in. Only ambulances could drive in. The policemen shouted: the ambulances are radioactive, don’t’ get close. I was not alone, all the wives whose husbands were at the reactor that night, were there. I grabbed onto a Doctor as she walked by—“Get me inside!”

IRINA & LUDMILA

I can’t. He’s in a bad way. They all are.

LUDMILA

Pleas! Just to see him.

IRINA

(Hands her a form)

Sign this.

Do you have children?

LUDMILA

I thought, I have to say yes. If I say no, they won’t let me see him.

Yes.

IRINA

How many?

LUDMILA

A boy and a girl.

IRINA

Now listen. The central nervous system is completely damaged, the bone marrow is completely destroyed.

LUDMILA

AL right, so he’ll be a bit nervous…….

IRINA

And listen—

IRINA & LUDMILA

If you cry, I’ll throw you out right away. You may not hug or kiss. Don’t come close.

LUDMILA

I’ll give you half an hour.

VASILY

That day, April 26th, I was in Moscow. On a business trip.

ANNA

The first fear was…..in the morning we found dead moles in the garden. Who killed them?

KATYA

We’re all going through this alone, and we don’t know what to do. I cannot comprehend it with my mind. My grandmother said she had no childhood. She had the war. Their childhood is the war and mine is Chornobyl.

GRIGORY

I had just returned from Afghanistan. I wanted to live, to get married. I wanted to get married right away. And instead I got a notice with a red stripe

Meaning “Special Draft.” Show up with your things at the following address within an hour. My mother started weeping. She thought they were sending me to war again.

ARKADY

At the time I was thinking about something else. This will seem strange to you.

GRIGORY

(To ARKADY) Get in the van.

ARKADY

But just then I was getting a divorce from my wife. Everything else seemed minor. They would come suddenly and a special van was waiting downstairs. Just like 1937.

VALENTINA

I loved him madly. Maybe you shouldn’t use my name.

VASILY

I called once, two, three times, but they wouldn’t put me through.

VALENTINA

There are secrets. People say prayers in private. Whispering.

VASILY

I found an assistant. “I’m calling from Moscow. I have urgent information. About an accident!” As soon as I started talking about the accident, they disconnected me.

VALENTINA

No, use my name. Say it to God.

STEPANOV

I heard that there was a fire there, and it’s been put out.

VASILY

That’s a lie! Deceit!

It’s a serious accident. According to my calculations, the radioactive cloud is moving towards us. Towards Belarussia. We must immediately give prophylactic iodine treatment to the population and move out everyone living close to the station. People and animals within 100 kilometers have to be moved away.

STEPANOV

Had a phone call. From the Kremlin. From Gorbachev. Something about not starting a panic in Belarussia. The West are making too much of it already.

KATYA

At the foot of the hill puffs a tractor

At the top of the hill a reactor

If we hadn’t heard it from the Swedes

We’d still be eating all those seeds.

Shawn original

Actor Shawn Macaulay in front of his painting for original 2006 production, Open Fist Theatre

clean up crew

Actor Aaron Lyons painted this image of the clean up crew for original 2006 production, Open Fist Theatre.