There is no question that right now is an incredibly challenging time for all of us. This pandemic is causing both a health and economic crisis like none other we have seen. The number one concern that ICSOM has is for the health and well-being of the nearly 4000 musicians of our 52 orchestras, who have not been able to perform their jobs in person now for months due to COVID-19.
While we have been isolated from the concert stage or pit, it is good to see that social distancing has not made us disappear altogether. Thanks to social media, many of you have made this pandemic an opportunity to expand your virtual presence.
To those players’ associations who have turned to social media during this time, thank you. Your posts not only send a message to your online followers, but also to your orchestras—their managers and staff, board members and donors, conductors and audience. To have active social media accounts at a time when the world is home-bound provides the rare opportunity to widen our reach in promoting orchestral music and the arts.
In the past I have asked delegates if their players’ associations are active on social media. While some have flourishing accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as websites and online newsletters, others have mentioned that they haven’t found time to do this and have noted that upkeep of the accounts is too big of a commitment during the regular performance season. Since the pandemic has changed everyone’s daily schedule, some have discovered an opportunity to explore activities that previously had been on a wish list.
If expanding the online presence of your players’ association is on that list, now is the time to act! Creating social media accounts for your players’ association would provide an excellent opportunity for the musicians of your orchestra to band together in a common task. In addition, if your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts have become dormant over the years, I ask you to consider refreshing those platforms right away.
Should you have any concerns about finding content to post on your account, I encourage you to consider using ICSOM as a resource, by sharing our posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, take a moment to visit icsom.org to view current and archived news about our orchestras, including a new page for COVID-19 items (under the Reference tab after logging in). To obtain a login for ICSOM’s website, which is available to all active and emeritus ICSOM musicians, go to https://www.icsom.org/contact/members.php .
Interacting with the posts of other players’ associations, arts organizations, and labor unions is another great idea. By doing so, you may find new online supporters who are happy to reciprocate by sharing and liking your posts as well as following your account.
Today about 80% of the players’ associations of ICSOM orchestras have Facebook accounts, 60% have Twitter accounts, and 75% are on Instagram. Bravo to all who contribute to and maintain these platforms, and thanks to all who assist in keeping the accounts active by liking and sharing the posts. Links to these social media accounts are provided in the Orchestras section of our website by orchestra (under the Social Media heading).
The online presence of your players’ association is your virtual voice, speaking to both your local community and the arts world at large. The people in these communities are eager to hear from you in order to brighten their confined world. Know that ICSOM will support the social media accounts of its players’ associations by continuing to tag them on our posts, as well as liking and sharing their posts. Join us in exploring ways to make this challenging time a rare opportunity to improve your presence, virtually.
Note: the author is ICSOM president.