Deidra smiles in front of the Boston skyline
Former Program Coordinator, Creative City

In addition to providing grants, Creative City also provides professional development and network building opportunities for grant recipients. This is accomplished by building external partnerships, acquainting Creative City grantees with other programs and services at NEFA and beyond, and gathering the artists for program-specific activities to share, learn, and grow as Creative City grantees and alums.

Creative City’s artists have a wealth of expertise to offer one another to help fill gaps in sustaining their practices. On March 1, we gathered for our first cross-cohort gathering of the year, the Social Media Social. This evening paired short presentations on some best practices for using social media along with some time for grantees from across cohorts to connect with one another in person.

Our guest presenters were fellow Creative City grantees Maia Dolphin-Krute and Kerry Thompson. Below are some highlights from their presentations.

Maia Dolphin-Krute shared Social Media for Artistst101 For Artists. Her advice included:

  • Focus your efforts. You don’t need to be on every platform all the time, especially as one person. Think first and choose which ones best fit the kinds of work and opportunities you will be sharing. Then maximize your time and effort.
  • Put the basics in place. Once you have chosen one (or more) platforms to focus on, work to develop a consistent brand by linking to your website and using the same handle, profile picture, and color scheme across platforms. Be recognizable.
  • Schedule. Be realistic about what you are able to keep up with, plan ahead, and work backwards to plan your posts over time, especially for event-based work or date-specific touches.
  • Diversify. Mix it up, in terms of both content and networking. Think about how you can highlight works in progress and give behind-the-scenes access to make your posts more dynamic, and expand your reach post and network through tagging and sharing.

For more tips, check out Maia’s presentation slides and detailed handout.

Equipped with information about how to get started, grantees were then given some information about how they could be conscious of accessibility in their personal and professional engagement with social media, as Kerry Thompson presented Accessible Social Media.

Kerry explained that when people think about accessibility, they tend to think about physical accessibility rather than access to information and digital media. Artists want and need to make sure that the 20% of people who have disabilities have access to their stories. Here are some tips from Kerry’s presentation, which focused on accessibility for those with visual and auditory impairments.

  • Facebook -  If you change your background color in a post, that text is converted to an image and is no longer accessible for screen reading. If you want to post a YouTube video, Kerry advises that you click the “share” button in YouTube to pull directly from the source, because YouTube will automatically caption your post.
  • Twitter has an accessibility feature, with the option to enable a back-end “alternative text” function that allows you to add more detailed image descriptions and reserve the caption section for additional relevant text. When the accessibility feature is turned on it allows screen readers to provide more detail.  This platform can still be difficult for people with visual impairment to use, as most people do not turn on and use the accessibility function, or may use schedulers that do not have built-in accessibility capabilities.
  • YouTube - When you upload a video to YouTube, it is a good practice to enable the closed captions feature which transcribes the speech in the video into text. By enabling the closed caption feature, this allows viewers to turn on the closed captions while they are viewing your video. Pro tip: YouTube allows you to edit the automated transcription. It’s always good to double-check the transcription for accuracy.
  • Across platforms, be sure to input image descriptions that detail where the photo is being taken, who and what is in the photo, what they look like, where and how they are positioned, what they are doing, and why they are doing it or what is special about the image that makes you want to share it.

For more information about accessibility and social media, check out Kerry’s presentation slides.

For more information about Creative City artists and their projects check out our website.