#Blaugust – A quick sign-off

It’s been the kind of busy week (or so) that makes me glad I didn’t commit myself properly to Blaugust as in previous years, and now I’m about to be off out of contact for the next week or so, as I’ll be away with the Rona Sailing Project until 29th August. However, I have enjoyed writing the blogs that I’ve managed to get around to, and I’m committed to not giving up and taking September off altogether – I’ve still got plenty of inspiration to work with – especially as I’ll be back with more on the music front (possibly after I move house though, since that is… imminent.)

Meanwhile, so this isn’t a blog entirely about blogging, I wanted to recommend another YouTube documentary series that I’ve been watching (following on from the recommendations in this post). Obviously, the below series is funded by a media website rather than being independent (they’re made for Vox), but for anyone interested in Chinese/British Imperial history, social issues or politics, I definitely recommend these videos on life in Hong Kong.

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#Blaugust and #Hootchat – Listening in

So, after a few days off from blogging, I decided to get some inspiration via #Hootchat, which is a Twitter discussion run every week by Hootsuite to discuss digital marketing, branding and other similar topics. It’s often a pretty useful place to pick up tips from other marketers and social media managers, and in the various tweets from this week’s questions (which were specifically about building and maintaining a brand), I started to notice a trend running through them.

Many of the recommendations, tips and comments were specifically about the importance of reading, rather than writing, listening rather than speaking, when on social media. Listening to your followers, reading what your competitors write – it’s actually something we don’t talk about a lot with social media, which is usually all about your content, your thoughts – so I thought these views were an interesting contrast.

#Blaugust – A New Direction

So, once upon a time, I used to write music, some of which ended up on my Soundcloud account here. I studied  composing, recording, post production, experimental audio coding etc. over several years, and have entire hard drives full of effects and samples. But somewhere down the line, I stopped. So I’d like to start again.

(This was an undergraduate track. The inspiration for this was Japanese Gagaku, James Clavell novels and a lot of artsy self-importance. I’m still proud of it, but I’ll be aiming for something a bit more easy-listening now.)

My friend Yoni (his Soundcloud is here) did a challenge a few years ago where he was putting out new new composition every month, and I think I’d like to do the same. It’s been a long time since I’ve used Cubase, or tried to compose anything, but I’ve been listening to various electronic/ambient playlists on Spotify and YouTube lately, and I know I used to be able to write music as good as any of the stuff that I’ve heard. Plus, when I move into my new apartment, I have some plans for the office space – getting my keyboard, guitars and microphones set up permanently and putting together a little recording studio space – or at least, that’s the dream!

So, after a brief panic in which I couldn’t find my Cubase USB authenticator, I’m getting started with some new synths, and starting to find my way around again. Restarting with Cubase is definitely worth a few more Blaugust posts, too.

playtime

#Blaugust – What’s next?

I’ve just paid for the certificate for my most recent Future Learn course – ‘Museums as a Site and Source for learning’. I haven’t done my usual round up post for all of my course posts, but here they are:

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m not going to jump straight into another course just for blog content, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Future Learn courses. Meanwhile, the next thing is to start committing myself again is Duolingo French. I’ve been at it on and off since January 2017, (blog post here!)

I’m also (hopefully) about to be finished on buying an apartment, so once the dust has settled on my bank account I’m going to start saving up for some solo travelling. Therefore, I’ll be posting a little bit during Blaugust about the start of some travel plans, as well as the usual social media commentary, some tech stuff, and hopefully more book recommendations too.

#Blaugust x #FutureLearn – Museums as a Source for Learning Part Five

I’ve made it to the final week’s worth of learning for Future Learn‘s ‘Understanding Museums as a Site and Source for Learning’.

Conservators

This section of the course focuses on the role of a conservator in museums, especially when working with contemporary art that might have been made from less-than-sturdy materials. How do you preserve and record, and do you need to preserve it at all in some cases?

The main function of a conservator is to look after the artworks in their organisation’s collection – so proper installation and storage instructions are very important. A wide range of skills are necessary, and an understanding of a huge range of possible materials. The course didn’t mention it, but I assume you would also need to know may specialists in this job! We are asked the question – when it comes to caring for an artwork, who’s opinion is more important, the conservator or the original artist? I feel I would slightly come down on the side of the conservator, as their organisation is in a position of responsibility – frequently to the public, if an artwork is purchased and maintained with public funding.

There was a discussion around conserving the installation ‘Inner City’, which I mentioned in my previous blogpost for this course. This was able more than preserving the physical aspects – there were sound files on obsolete disc technology that had to be recreated, and a lighting system that needed updating for current health and safety regulations. In a digital age, these kind of issues will be more and more common in the future. However, there is also the issue of whether the degradation of an artwork is a part of the artwork’s history, or whether you should keep it exactly as it was when first created.

The next section revolved around the basics of how you would create a collection and the basics of an exhibition. This was really interesting to read, but harder to write about! Plus, I’m about to pay Future Learn/University of Glasgow to have this course accredited, which as well as getting an exciting certificate, it means that unlike some previous Future Learn courses, I get to go back to this course whenever I like!

This has been a very different, fascinating course for me to do, and while I promised myself that I wouldn’t be taking any Future Learn courses just for the sake of Blaugust content, I may have to sign up for something else verrrrryyyy soon…

Blaugust – Low Season for Content

A short post tonight, but another social strategies post – leading on from this one I wrote last week about scheduling content.

My job is marketing live concerts and events, which is a job with seasonal peaks and troughs – obviously Christmas being the most busy one. At the moment, we’re in the longest trough, because there are almost no events between now and the end of September for me to market. This means that when it comes to posting on social media, there is simply less to talk about, and it would be easy to become repetitive.

I certainly do ease back on the posting, one or two per day is fine at this point so as not to bore the audience. Some people have suggested that it’s better to simply switch off altogether instead, and come back at an appropriate point, but I feel you only have to stop posting for a few days before it starts to look odd. Plus, you will end up missing any number of opportunities for organic engagement.

So I’ve developed a few strategies for dealing with this.

Regular weekly hashtag use: A lot of #tbt to share old news posts, photos and videos – it’s the perfect time to go back to old content without it seeming out of place. #Fridayfeeling and #HappyMonday are particularly good for sharing audio tracks relating to the new season as a way to suggest daily soundtracks for followers, and to engage with them. #CharityTuesday is one that I use infrequently, but as I do work for a charity, it’s a good way to remind people of this. A number of other organisations I work with do #TuesdayThoughts quite often.

More focus on sharing other people’s content: Writing fewer social media posts means a little more time for research, so I have the opportunity to find news and articles that would be relevant to our audience, even when it’s not specifically about us and our events.

Be a little jokey or more off the wall: It’s summer! People are bored at work! It’s the perfect time to make bad puns, do caption competitions and make a lot of references to the weather.

 

#Blaugust – YouTube Documentaries

I’ve only just started to write a post tonight because I’ve mainly been occupied tonight with watching mini-documentaries on YouTube – in fact, I fell down something of a rabbit-hole of YouTube channels about abandoned buildings.

It seems like YouTube has cycles of videos that are the mainstay of it’s platform. From around 2009-2012, when I started watching YouTube, most of the biggest channels were gaming related (specifically Let’s Play series related.) After this, it was the era of lifestyle vloggers – challenge videos, tag videos etc. Many of the YouTube channels from that time also seem to have stalled or faded, as advertising revenue from YouTube shrank.

Even on YouTube’s Trending page, which is mainly occupied by music videos and film trailers, the other videos are news reports and docs from companies such as Vice News. And it seems that below that, there has been a growing taste for niche independent documentary-making and reporting – often funded by small numbers of enthusiasts via outlets such as Patreon and Ko-fi, as well as podcast-style sponsorships like Squarespace and Audible.

It is also notable that YouTube used to be much harsher on use of short pieces of copyrighted film footage and music – after the early 2010s, this was allegedly relaxed which allowed a rise of cultural criticism (previously limited to now defunct platforms like blip.tv).

Anyway, here are three channels I’ve watched a bunch of videos from over the past week – as well as the video I had on whilst writing this.

Bright Sun Films (interestingly enough, I spotted when linking this channel that the URL reads ‘BrightSunGaming’ – definitely a repurposed channel!)

Defunctland (This one is specifically about Theme park history. I don’t have any personal interest in theme parks, but the social history involved is fascinating. They have a great podcast on iTunes too.)

The Proper People (This channel is very specifically about urban exploration, which does mean a lot of what they are doing is trespassing. Just wanted that noted, as I know a lot of people won’t approve of their content.)