In my ongoing struggle define what it is I do in a neat little package I’ve increasingly found myself using the words ‘Social Media Documentarian‘. Based on the spirit of the idea that ‘if you don’t stick it on the internet it didn’t really happen’, essentially this made-up term refers to the fact that there is huge value in having someone tell your story online in a real-time way through photos, videos, blog posts, tweets, podcasts, etc etc.
I think the ‘social media’ part of the ‘social media documentarian‘ description is a lil redundant insomuch as I’d use whatever the best mediums and tools available are do rich, immersive, engaging online storytelling but it definitely helps to use the buzz word when trying to describe the service to a budget-holder or other potential client.
Content is king and producing compelling creative content consistently is task not everyone is cut out for. Especially if you don’t want it to sound like advertising, marketing or promotional hype.
Some of the projects I’ve been lucky enough to play this role on are things like Geeks On A Plane, The Vancouver 2010 Olympics, The BP Oil Spill, Gowalla, The Waldorf Hotel and Eco Fashion Week. Coming up this year I’ve got some excited Social Media Documentarian projects in the works for SXSW, Chris Jordan’s Midway Journey, Make Web Not War, Tourism Vancouver and Jones Soda.
I’m also teaching two classes at Emily Carr Univesity of Art and Design in the area of ‘social media documentation’. The classes are “Photography for Social Change” and “Video for the Social Web” and are being offered as part of Alexandra Samuel’s new Social & Interactive Media Centre. Being an emerging ‘field’ I know it’s a topic others are thinking about as well and it’s something that I’m just wrapping my head around and would love to know your thoughts.