A Crash Course in Media

On the very first day of this module – well, I say first day, it was actually during the second week, but it was the first day that we’d met together as a heritage module rather than with our classmates on the excavation module – our module leader Sara had us write down things that we wished to learn during this module. I remember one thing immediately popping to my mind: media.

I’m not someone who’s naturally good at social media. As one of the mature students, I’m slightly above the age of most people who easily use things like Twitter and Instagram. I used to side more with the people who couldn’t understand the need to spout out every thought to faceless strangers on the internet, and I even used to be a selfie snob.

I’m very happy to say that I’ve since seen the error of my ways. Social media is actually a very powerful tool in terms of networking and advertising. It’s a way to connect with people across the planet, to access new work and new ideas – and yeah, sometimes it involves spouting those 3am thoughts to faceless strangers on the internet, but that’s not inherently a bad thing. The world is changing, the world of heritage is changing, and this is one of the areas it’s growing in rapidly.

As our Breary Banks project began to wind down, we turned our attention to the exhibition, and we were divided into two teams: the exhibition team and the media team. I have to admit, the skills I already have would have been perfect for the exhibition team, but I was thrilled to be put on the media team (no doubt Sara remembered my initial learning goal when she drew up the teams!). I didn’t have any skills in this area, no experience whatsoever, and that was both terrifying and exciting.

When we were dividing up tasks, I offered to take charge on the text of the press release. With a bachelor’s degree in English already under my belt, I’m fairly comfortable with words – whether informally such as in our blog posts here, or in more formal writing, such as essays and theses. But I had never even fully read a press release, let alone written one. It seemed like a good challenge.

And what a challenge it was. I looked at press releases from past years, taking cues from them in what exactly it should include, and when I felt I had gotten all I could out of it, I sat down to write. I put on my never-fail writing playing (the Torchwood soundtrack, still inspiring even after all these years) and banged it out in about an hour. It was far from perfect, but it was a good start. A few tweaks from Sara later, and they were ready to be sent out.

You can access the final version here: PressRelease-Digital

But my job as a media team member wasn’t done yet! Sure, I’d gotten to grips with the more formal aspects of media, but what about the all important social media part? As we were discussing our tasks, I confessed to my group that I was trying to learn Twitter, but I still didn’t quite get hashtags, and Hermione, our project manager, immediately said, “right, that’s what you’re going to be in charge of. By the end of this, you’ll be our hashtag queen.”

I can’t say that I’m there yet, but we did come up with a hashtag for our event, one that we’ve been using in all our social media promotions and I (and a few others) have been using in Tweets as we post about our progress. Maybe not a queen, but I think I’ve at least earned my tiara in social media.

– Written by Ashley


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