Talking about the digital audience and getting feedback from colleagues

This week I am giving another talk about looking at digital audiences, this one for the Oral History Network of Ireland annual conference, Making Connections. A PDF of slides and notes is on my page at

Pathway through my presentation about Cork Folklore Project and social media
One slide from my presentation, showing the pathway of the talk discussing Cork Folklore Project and social media. (Created by P. Johnston using

This time around I am concentrating on the use of social media, and how people within the Cork Folklore Project feel that it adds to their efforts to engage with a wider community around them – and beyond Cork.

I did a brief outline of the talk, with slides, for my colleagues before preparing the final draft of the talk. This was very useful since I was not even sure how I was going to wrap it up, and their ideas and questions helped to clarify this. They also gave me tips about what I should include, things that I had maybe taken for granted.

For example:

  • One person said “I don’t even know what a tweet looks like”, so I included a screengrab of a tweet in my slideshow.
  • Another pointed out that I should include follower numbers. While some Twitter stars might think our follower numbers are puny, anyone of those followers could have hundreds and thousands more followers – if they retweet our messages they have the potential to go stratospheric.
  • And finally, we are always thinking ahead and dreading that day where we fail to get any of the grants that we apply for. If such a time comes we may have to fundraise at “street level”. And an established following on social networks would be invaluable for getting our message out there if we ever decided to try out crowdfunding.

It was great feedback and has not only helped me to clarify the direction of my talk, but to suggest lines of questioning in qualitative research in the future. For me, it underlines the importance of working in a collegiate environment where people are ready and willing to give feedback and interact and comment with you on your work as it is progressing.