Barksdale recently joined Facebook to promote free programs on offer for students and to get their feedback. Maintaining the page is giving me an education in the ease of the latest social networking applications.
I’m a Generation Xer, born in 1970. I remember downloading short movie clips at 24kb and getting excited the next morning when one was finally on my Apple2e, and I could watch a minute of grainy mush. But these days, if there’s something the younger Gen Y can’t Google in a sec, Wikipedia will at least tell them what it is. Social networking sites like Facebook allow them (and anyone else who’s game) to create a page where friends can write and add photos, video, music and more, and where their content updates so fast that a blog with one post a day looks achingly slow by comparison.
150,000 members a day are joining Facebook, and hours after Barksdale joined, we were loaded with friends who've been associated with us through the Greater Richmond High School All-Star Musicals. I added a large album of Disney’s High School Musical photos for the cast, crew, parents and fans. I started to add an event listing for HSM at The Steward School, but the cast had already done it, and they had hundreds of confirmed RSVPs responding to an exponentially increasing number of invites; word of mouth spreads quickly.
But it’s not just High School Musical information on offer at our new Facebook home. Our blog posts are imported automatically, and more importantly I get a chance to promote Barksdale Theatre Workshop events. BTW is a community-wide initiative designed to establish new connections between Barksdale and high school theatre lovers. It began in 2005 when Bruce Miller and Chase Kniffen met with a group of area high school drama teachers to find out what they thought would be of use to them and to their students.
Current high school students can join BTW for free (by emailing Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org) and as members, they can purchase $10 tickets to special Saturday matinee performances. Members are also invited to attend Play On!, a discussion series featuring our leading professional theatre artists - and pizza - free of charge. Both the discounted matinees and Play On! Discussions were recommendations from area educators.
Facebook gives us an extra chance to introduce this program to students, and it’s also a great place to promote local high school productions (another teacher suggestion) like Chicago, opening at Godwin tonight! The students already created the event; all I had to do was click, and it posted itself on the Barksdale Facebook page… Things are so easy these days.
Barksdale’s Facebook page (a shortened page will be visible to those who are not yet friends)