Breaking Through Women in Comedy is a creative digital storytelling project with the intention to create a movement for lovers of comedy and in particular, our target audience females 18-29 aspiring to break into a career of comedy. We chose a video storytelling genre with insights shared by professional comedians in an interview format. The aim was to encourage and support upcoming comedians. This blog shares some of the learning experiences in the strategic use of multimedia to create an online movement.
The Breaking Through Women in Comedy project required our team to set up a social media strategy from its inception and examine exactly what was working, what didn’t and why. I found it fascinating, the effect of reciprocal liking/following. To address the challenge of finding visual material for our Instagram account, one of our strategies was to re-gram other female comedian’s posts (tagging them to acknowledge the re-gram) and follow them. In return we found they followed us.
So how does a community grow without ever actually meeting the person? Reciprocal liking happens when we believe our values are aligned with others (Minors 2015). This sameness conveys approval and trust of the person in physical or digital form because they are just like us. In this project, we selectively chose to follow accounts who were female, had ‘comedian’ or ‘performer’ in their description or were a venue or festival for comedy. This soon led to a supportive social network of female comedians, the intended outcome.
Calgary Marketing warns of the dangers of reciprocal liking. If we see an account that has for example 5000 followers and the same account is following 5000, it might be questionable as to how many of these, are genuine followers and how many may be a product of reciprocal liking? In Instagram and Twitter we can be followed by anyone, so care should be taken when reciprocally liking a follower, that their values really do align with your organisation’s values (Calgary 2015).
Building a network of people with sameness creates social capital and a sense of belonging. Coleman (1988 p. S101) describes the concept of social capital as ‘the value of aspects of social structure to actors as a resource to achieve their interests’. Social networking sites such as Instagram and Twitter exist because of the desire to build social capital, where users contribute by self-disclosing information, this identifies their sameness, leading to reciprocal liking and the building of an online community (Trepte & Reinecke 2012).
The project also gave us first-hand experience of the need for a ‘plan B’ when our first female comedian Tessa Waters became ill, we were unable to film her interview. Having a well thought out back up option allowed us quickly change to the new plan without wasting valuable time. It’s not to say having to change our plan wasn’t stressful, it was! If we did not have a ‘plan B’ the stress factor would have been considerably higher, time would have been lost in wondering what to do and re-planning.
Calgary Marketing 2015, ‘Right back at ya the dangers of reciprocal liking’ Arc Reactions Inc., Blog post 15 December 2015, viewed 18 May 2018, <http://arcreactions.com/right-back-at-ya-the-dangers-of-reciprocal-liking/>.
Coleman, J 1988, Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital, American Journal of Sociology, vol.94, pp.S95-S120.
Davoren, Doyle, Logan 2018, Breaking Through Women in Comedy, Davoren, Doyle, Logan 2018, viewed 19 May 2018, <https://elainejdoyle.wixsite.com/womencomedy>.
Minors 2015, ‘How reciprocal liking massively influences people to like you’, The Dirt Psychology, Blog post 24 April 2015, viewed 18 may 2018, <https://thedirtpsychology.org/reciprocal-liking/>.
Trepte, & Reinecke. (2012). The reciprocal effects of social network site use and the disposition for self-disclosure: A longitudinal study. Computers in Human Behavior, Computers in Human Behavior.
Image source: social media logos Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, royalty free images from Pixabay, <https://pixabay.com/>.