Speaking of Communication

By Kes Speelman

Human beings are naturally social creatures. We have a biological need to socialize that has enabled mankind to create hundreds of languages and dozens of mediums to communicate with. We can talk directly, write notes, post on social media, create videos, etc. And we keep making more!

With so many different ways to communicate, the medium is just as important as the message itself. For our own personal accounts, it’s easy to determine what and how we want to share messages with other people. But it’s a whole different ball game when posting on social media for a studio like the EMC.  A lot of thought and careful planning must be taken into account when posting project updates or sharing videos. With so many people from a variety of backgrounds working here, it’s hard trying to find a voice that speaks for the EMC. For the first few weeks, I struggled as I learned about the EMC and what it is we do here. But with each passing day, it became clearer and so explaining our work to others through different platforms became easier.

The communication team does just that. We create, gather, and filter through content to make sure that what we share with the world is what we want the EMC to say. Whenever there’s an event or important project update, we make sure that the information is posted promptly, and in a way that is entertaining, while still delivering the message. This summer, the communications team is all new student employees in the EMC, and they want to share their experiences since they started working here.

Communication Team/ Video Team:

Joey Albanese, Class of 2018
Video Producer

Q: What did you expect when you started working here?
A: “I expected to work with shooting and editing videos as they needed to be made. From what I can tell, that’s what’s going to happen here. I’ve been editing videos mostly since I’ve been here, which is what I want to do. I didn’t expect the team and supervisors to encourage such a high level of autonomy while still maintaining the importance of being part of a team and working collaboratively. I think the whole ‘letting you work and make choices while still encouraging feedback from the team’ is really cool.

Q: How do you feel you are adjusting to the work environment at the EMC?
A: “ I think it’s going well. In jobs prior to this, you report to managers and they tell you what to do and you do it. And when you come back, they give you another task. Here, it’s kind of like that but you’re not following direct orders, you are putting your own spin on things, which is nice. Just getting used to that has been the biggest challenge, that I do have the freedom to make certain decisions that other jobs in the past don’t allow.”

Q:What do you hope to accomplish this summer while at the EMC?
A: “Hopefully [I’ll] create content and videos that people obviously enjoy watching and speaks to the level of quality that I know that I am capable of. And just making videos of high production quality that shows what the EMC is about and help push the EMC in a direction that has a concrete vision and aesthetic [would be great]. [I’d like to] propagate the EMC into the direction it should go in, but I don’t know what direction that is yet.”

Daphne Plante, Class of 2019
Graphic Designer

Q: How has it been working at the EMC?
A: I know a lot of people [here] so it’s very easy to go from sitting in a lab with them to sitting in basically another lab with them. I already knew all the skills that I needed for this job.[But my favorite part] has been actually finishing a project within the first week. I thought it would be ‘alright let’s talk about these projects. Then alright let’s maybe start work on these projects.’ [But] no. Jen [Adrian] came to me and she’s like ‘Hey, I know you’re not really doing anything right now. Could you do this for me?’ It was perfect.”

Q: What has been your relationship with the experienced staff members since you started?
A: “They’re very helpful, very knowledgeable as well as they have been doing this a long time so they really know how to help us students to acclimate to what is sometimes somebody’s first job. And they have this really cool philosophy that it’s not boss and the team, we are all a team.”

Q: What do you hope to do at the EMC this summer?
A: “I hope to gain experience with working with a team and being in an actual job in my major. Ever since [my first project], it’s been like ‘alright, time to wait for another deadline.’ [And] that’s been great.”

Kes Speelman, Class of 2018
Marketing Strategist (And Blogger!)

Q: What has been your experience so far since you started working at the EMC?
A: “It’s been great. Although my first week was a little slow, as we were sort of in the planning stage of how we wanted to handle our social media and blog, now I’m constantly busy working on multiple projects at the same time. I never feel bored. I’m always doing something new and coming up with new ideas for blogs, social media posts and creating gifs and photos to go along with the posts. It’s been awesome and I really hope I can continue working here after this summer.”

Q: You said you had to plan out the social media during your first week, what do you mean by that?
A: “Well, I had to sit down with Jen [Adrian] and Jane [Adams] to discuss how we wanted to handle each platform. We had to determine how often we were going to post, what types of posts should we be trying to create, and what tone we want to portray on each platform. There was some conflicting information in the beginning on how this should be handled, but since we really started researching [social media] and started posting things, it’s become a lot clearer on what direction we’re going in. Especially with the social media presentation I was assigned about my ideas on how to treat social media for the EMC based on the current research and past post reactions.”

Q: Has there been any difficulty adjusting to the work environment?
A: “A little bit. I have had some bad experiences working with teams on projects before, since I was usually the one stuck with all or most of the work. But here, everyone contributes, everyone critiques and gives insightful feedback that really helps when I would go back and edit. It was sort of hard to get used to but I really like it. Also, it’s been weird having to chat with the other teams sort of casually, like every day to gather content, because I feel like I’m not doing work since I’m not at my desk. But I am doing work, and I think the fact that this doesn’t feel like work is a really good sign.”

The need to communicate is why the communications team is so important. Our job is to curate content the EMC wants to share, and present it in a way that fits best to encourage positive engagement. New ChampBot? Let’s post a video of it in action. MakerLab workshop? A cool poster spread around campus and throughout social media is great for advertising and getting Champlain affiliates to come. And of course, who could forget the power of the gif? Gifs can be used in almost every medium and is a great way to capture attention and display a message. People are more likely to share and comment on a post if there is a gif.

Speaking of new ways of communication, check back next week for my blog about the new advances in Virtual Reality (VR) technology and how the EMC is working with it. And if there is anything you wish for me to blog about or post, comment below.