Monday, January 18, 2010

Moving towards the future, connecting with the past

I've spent most of the last day setting myself up on LinkedIn as part of the application process for a social media position in a large theatre company. I'd been hearing more about it in the last few months and it was becoming harder to ignore. But I had been worried about all the time it would take to set up and wondered who might be there that I didn't already have on Facebook.

I discovered some cool things. It allowed me to import my contacts and I immediately got reconnected with some of my Australian contacts I had lost touch with. I hope to soon get caught up with them. I also got in touch with a couple of old friends I'd been thinking about recently and I hope to have more time to talk to them at some point soon.

It also allowed me to import my resumes (I have about 40 different versions spanning over 15 years) to quickly get a lot of my job history done. I've been wanting to do a full CV for a while now because I've had so many different jobs but the thought of going through all those resumes and cutting and pasting was daunting. I don't have any of my freelance or temp admin jobs in there yet but I've gotten a good start. I also chose to enter each of the shows I directed as a separate job, with the exception of the two I did for obu. I believe it gives a more complete time line of my working life. I'd be interested in other's people thoughts on that.

This ties into a discussion that went on over Christmas about the state of the Canadian theatrosphere, hosted by Simon at The Next Stage and Michael at Praxis Theatre. (Round 1, Round 2, Round 2.5, Round 3, for those who want to read the whole thing. An abbreviated version will show up in the next edition of Works.) This discussion happened at the worst possible time for me, when I was madly working as many hours as possible in advance of a layoff, but I couldn't help but join in because it touched upon something that's I've been struggling with for a while. The issue of time.

The timing of the discussion itself was a splendid illustration of the problem. A desire to truly engage with people in all the new avenues available but not having the time to read and comment on everything I want to. Since the layoff, its been a little better but I'm still way behind on my blog reading. It really helped me to talk about why I do this, why I spend so much time being connected (besides loving to network).

We need to harness the power of social connection to grow our audiences, to break down the perceived barriers to theatre, to do something about artists' PR problem. And to do it without burning ourselves out. For me, the solution has been harnessing all the abilities of TweetDeck to allow me to keep up with Facebook and Twitter at the same time. We'll see what LinkedIn brings to the table. Still need more blogging time but I'm working on that.

And yes, I'll have some fresh Umbrella Talks for you soon. In the meantime, I'll keep plugging along.

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