Thursday, 31 May 2007

Myspace - Positive, Constructive Learning - A New Reality!

To Any Readers - I wrote this months ago - only just found that I never published it - it appears that this was truly the beginning of an amazing journey, one that has taught me, never to expect anything! September 2006 was my first real encounter with myspace. I knew of it, I had heard all the press wished for me to hear, my children had their own myspace, however I had not myself explored the world that is myspace. At the time, I was in my spare time working in a voluntary capacity, for Support Act Limited Victoria, the Victorian Chapter of Support Act Limited a charity, looking after Australian Musicians, in times of hardship support. As with most charities these days, the competition for donations, sponsorship and the like is fierce, the advent of the internet and global interactions daily, bringing charities for every cause known to the attention of a global audience. We wanted to raise funds and have minimal outlay, only one paid person on staff nationally, the rest of us volunteers and worked with organisations who provided us with many in kind services and products. So, I jumped into myspace world and created one for the charity, I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning and once I had the background and layout I was happy with, I remember sitting and staring at the computer waiting for something to happen. Interestingly, nothing happened so I sat a devised a strategic plan, thinking of who I may wish to connect with, artists, bands, record labels, tv stations, radio stations, the public etc. In doing this I was able to search and find my targets who I invited as friends. A few days of hard work, searching and inviting, posting to my blog with relevant information and then it took on a life of its own. Artists/Musicians who I had known for years in Oz and overseas, were sending me neat messages, offering support for the cause, to play at events, to be advocates, record labels and promoters offering free tickets to concerts, back stage passes, all came flooding in. Each had spread the word through their established networks and I had masses asking to be my friend. Management became easier as time went on, but I did learn quickly that most expect quick responses to emails etc, so it needed a daily check to keep on top of everything. All in all a great success, and as time has gone on, I have noticed more and more charities and more articles about charities globally using myspace as a promotional tool. With this still ticking, I decided to try out myspace for my own company - in the past worked around providing consulting and training in the e-world and wondered if I could diversify a little and offer a grant writing service for those in the music industry. Many of my friends had advised me that they had not gone for grants in the past as they had no idea how to write the application - they would say 'we are musos we don't know about such stuff'. There were others that believed that there was no point as the same people/organisations got the funding each year no matter what. So, they do not know how to approach and write and maybe the same people get them year after year, because they have someone who writes the applications for them?????? My brain was ticking and bull at a gate I went for it. I created a myspace for Jazazi, I posted new grants on my blog and offered a grant writing service. With no past experience to speak of (tender and contract writing for government projects), but not quite writing a grant for funds for touring, recording and the like). I was approached by a young Oz band, who wished to go for a grant 'Touring Regional Victoria' and asked if I would write it for them. They were happy to pay, but I was on a learning curve, in more ways than one, myspace, delving further into the music industry and its politics, writing applications I had never seen before, so I suggested I do for nothing and see how it all went. Two months of waiting and whilst I knew the criteria had been addressed and all else seemed in order, the selection process was not clear and thus even harder to predict an outcome. I can now tell you that tomorrow, the funding announcements will be made by the Minister in Victoria at a special event in Ballarat. I have been invited and the band, The Resignators are jumping for joy as we got the funding - I am still in shock but so pleased for the guys and gals in the band. We found out three days ago, and already I have messages on myspace, others to my general email, phone messages, all from others who wish to have me write applications for them - all of them they have become aware of from my blog, where I post updates on grants/funding opportunities - interesting in itself as many have thanked me for doing so, as they do not know where to look or do not have the time, so to have all put together in one accessible place, now sees more and more artists/bands wishing to apply and thankful for the information, which I must admit, is scattered around on numerous websites. Challenges, Learning, Myspace, Networking, Charities, New Business - who would have thought! So what does all this mean???? Challenging myself and taking on myspace alone for the charity, provided great learning and personal growth, the learning not just for me, but those engaged in the charity with me, as they were all curious about what it was I was up to ( for a whole bunch of creative's, they were a little skeptical and some gave me a little grief). My personal challenge paid off, with many positive results for the charity then and continuing today. Listening to those around me, finding a gap in the market place, one I thought would have been filled but is not, and taking what I had learnt about myspace to date, I was able to transfer to my own business and trying something new. I read, researched grants, past applications, anything I could find on the topic I devoured. I gave it a shot and I achieved something that at the start of 2007, I never would have even thought of - grants, funding, applications for the music industry were not even in the back of my mind. A new business venture, an added, new and exciting chapter in my life journey. A venture not planned in the beginning, borne of the use of myspace, challenging myself and the networking potential of myspace. Could I have made such a transition so quickly 18 months ago? I doubt it. I would have had to plan websites, promotional packs, business cards etc, a significant outlay of funds and all the time, waiting for others to see me and come to me. Myspace allowed me to use my time, take time to think, make mistakes, learn everyday and connect with people in a personal and professional manner, forging some long lasting and faraway relationships, all of which have added value to my journey to date. Challenges, Learning, Thinking, Mistakes, Independence, Uniqueness, Sameness, Difference, Networking, Relationship Building, Friendships, Business Relationships, Global connections, Opportunities and an insatiable appetite for knowledge and hands on experience with as many social networking tools as humanly possible, exploring the potential, features and benefits each has to offer learners (anyone learning, formally or informally) in specific areas. I am still a believer, I still have alot to learn and I am looking forward to each and every minute that lies ahead. Social Networking Tools Really Do Rock!


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