Editorial: Social Media and #IHS46

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Explore the hashtag #IHS46 on Facebook and Twitter. Honestly, social media coverage of the event was pretty disappointing. As participants return home more is showing up on personal pages, but during the event in particular social media was sparse.

From 2008 to 2013 I was honored to serve on the Advisory Council of the International Horn Society and performed and presented at every one of their International Horn Symposiums. Coverage I developed on each of those symposiums (Denver, Macomb, Brisbane, San Francisco, Denton, and Memphis) may be found here in Horn Maters, intended to promote the IHS and attendance at horn workshops in general. Each year varied (see this article as an example, from the Brisbane symposium), but overall I hoped to give readers some view of the event like they were a fly on the wall, to enjoy it along with me. Most years these Horn Matters articles far exceeded what was eventually published in The Horn Call on the events.

I am off the Advisory Council now (off after two three year terms), and due to family commitments I can’t presently participate in any depth at a horn symposium, certainly not at one so far from home. So this summer I really was looking forward to seeing what I could see of the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Rachel-3-photo 3Social Media and the IHS

The IHS has a Facebook page (that I actually started) but it is actually not considered to be an official IHS publication. Next to nothing was posted there during the workshop. The most useful posts were links to an online album of photos in the website of a commercial photographer that had no captions or descriptions. There was clearly a lot of news generated at the event, but the world will just have to wait for the next print edition of The Horn Call to know most of it. Hopefully they will make use of some of those sharp photos with descriptions added.

The Best Online Coverage

Horn Matters would first thank Rachel Seay, Nicholas Smith, and Lydia Van Dreel for providing photos that we could directly post on Facebook. Those photos to date have all received over 2,000 views each and are probably among the most viewed of all the social media from the event.

Outside of that, the overall best coverage in terms of interesting and sharp photos was put out by Houghton Horns on their Facebook page. Congratulations to them!

Two performing groups from the event deserve honorable mentions as well for their posts to their respective Facebook pages, the Mengal Ensemble from Belgium and Horn Pure from Thailand.

Finally, a special honorable mention to Sarah Willis for her great video of the Hyde Park flash mob. If you have not seen it, it is embedded below. Fun stuff happens at horn workshops! Her personal Facebook page also has quite a few good photos as well.

In Conclusion…

I don’t blame the host at all, I am sure he did his best to produce the event itself and hosting is an incredibly difficult job. I don’t blame the participants, these events are always over-programmed (often severely so) and they are there to enjoy the event, not to play reporter. But I do feel that the IHS as the sponsoring organization really needs to think about developing one way or another a robust social media strategy.

The IHS could have flooded the zone with great coverage, creating much buzz and goodwill toward the society. Instead, they gave very little to enthusiasts like me who really could not attend. Some info did filter out through other sources, but really it was far less than it could have been.

The sad fact is about all you can really conclude from what was on Facebook was that some famous people were there, a variety of sessions occurred, interesting groups performed, they all used wire stands (!), and the concert venues looked a bit odd and cramped. The buzz I pick up was the venue location was excellent, very close to the Proms and Royal Albert Hall, but that the venue was not very soundproof (it is not a music school), there was probably not quite enough room for the event, and that rehearsal noises were quite audible in some session locations.

The upcoming Los Angeles symposium has a website already (here) and is on Facebook and Twitter as well. Follow it on every platform; hopefully #IHS47 can step it up a bit in terms of social media, and with it happening “in my neck of the woods” I do hope to be there for at least a portion of the event.

University of Horn Matters