fbpx The Galaxy’s Guide to Digital Media | HowlRound Theatre Commons

The Galaxy’s Guide to Digital Media


This is the first post in a series exploring the role of digital media in the theater realm.

A Double Dog Dare Fresh off the boat from Raleigh, NC with no job prospects and the grand implosion of my theater company, The Distillery, I eagerly awaited what DC had to offer my entrepreneurial wanderlust. Within a month of my arrival, I sent my resume to Signature Theatre for their job posting for Digital Media Coordinator, interviewed twice and double-dog-dared (I did… seriously…) Managing Director Maggie Boland to hire me in a thank you note. I knew I found my spot to begin my DC adventure, and so it began on September 17th. I have been tasked with developing and strengthening Signature Theatre’s online presence—making their digital and social media into a juggernaut.

I must applaud Signature for recognizing the need to give social media full-time attention. Social marketing requires certain finesse, a particular voice, a sense of urgency, and patience for its return on investment, which may come first through loyalty and not financial gains. It is more than the work of an intern. I’ve met hard working and incredibly intelligent interns in my day, myself one of them in former years, but I wouldn’t recommend giving the responsibility of publicly speaking for the company and providing a high level of customer service to someone earning college credit. Instead of adding more to-dos to a PR or Marketing Manager’s daily tasks, they chose to give the team more support. In a time where we hear about lay-offs, lack of funding, and imploding theaters (ahem—The Distillery), Signature shows great gumption and forward-thinking in hiring for a relatively small niche, but ultimately large impact field. While not new to other areas of commerce and big marketing firms, dedicated social media positions are finally hitting arts administration teams. And, thank goodness!

Social marketing requires certain finesse, a particular voice, a sense of urgency, and patience for its return on investment, which may come first through loyalty and not financial gains.

Why is my title Digital Media Coordinator?

Good question, Howlandia! My responsibilities go beyond just Twitter and Facebook. I also manage the organization’s website, Google for Non-profits, AdWords, Google Analytics, social video distribution, e-blasts, and anything that happens in the digital world. So, although my favorite part of the job is the individual connections and customer service I provide via Twitter and Facebook, it is ultimately only 10% of what I actually do here.

It’s been four months since I was hired. We are still learning what this positions means to the company. In the interest of learning and sharing knowledge, I figured other theaters of all sizes in various regions are probably experiencing these same things. Whether your company’s social and digital positions are established, brand new, or a twinkling in the eye of a managing director, we can all learn from each other, can’t we?

The Galaxy’s Guide to Digital Media

A blog series is born.

In this series I want to:

  • Explore the great expanse of Facebookland and Twitterverse.
  • Teach and learn new digital languages like hashtags and html5.
  • Be an archeologist of email and discuss the effectiveness of this dying dinosaur as a tool for marketing.
  • Ask what’s up with all this Google Analytics stuff. Is it really all that important?
  • Chat about how important it is to have your theater’s trust as part of the organization’s front line of communication.
  • Have access. In a changing world of marketing and audience expectations, how do Equity rules need to evolve?
  • Get all funny and artsy on you with some videos. How important are they to deliver your message? YouTube vs. Vimeo?
  • Enjoy a delightful roundtable discussion with others working in digital media in the arts.

Good Social Media has a Call-To-Action

A list of goals for Signature Theatre's social media.


I call all self-taught explorers and seasoned captains alike to share your digital worlds with us. What is that you do? What are the digital media and/or social marketing responsibilities within your organization? Let’s make a list of topics to explore in the coming weeks.

And, if we are all lucky The Doctor will show up at some point. Be forewarned about my geek culture clashing with being a theater nerd. #thanskforallthefish #sigdmc

Disclaimer: The views and experiences expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of the organization. So, don't blame Signature, blame me for why I think tweets are the shit and e-blasts are boring.


Thoughts from the curator

A series exploring the role of digital media in the theatre realm.

Galaxy's Guide to Digital Media 


Add Comment

The article is just the start of the conversation—we want to know what you think about this subject, too! HowlRound is a space for knowledge-sharing, and we welcome spirited, thoughtful, and on-topic dialogue. Find our full comments policy here

Newest First

I've been doing the social media for my theater, as well as a stint as an account manager for a social media marketing agency (mostly focused on outsourcing for small businesses) for nearly a year now. I'd love to learn more about Twitter engagement (I have a few best practices I've learned along the way) and also how to integrate Twitter into a production. We had some grand ideas of # tracking and gamification that never quite came to fruition due to time/budget/concept constraints on a recent production. Would love to find more resources on this!

Can't wait. I've come to terms with what I've crafted for myself personally (can always do more, of course), but am still struggling with the identity for the theater I work for. This is great timing, Sylvia!