Social Media for Homeless Pets

I have been interning for Animal Humane New Mexico since June 2012 and their social media presence has become one of my favorites to keep up with. Working there, I’m naturally an animal lover and a lot of the posts are about pets who have been there for a while who finally found homes, about how we just received a bunch of puppies from another town, or how we just received a huge donation. So it’s always very fun, lighthearted and uplifting to look at the posts from Animal Humane. Plus, I get to see pictures of adorable pets.

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The Facebook page is very bright, with lots of stories, photos and videos. On Twitter, the posts are more like quick updates. They often post about mobile adoption events or post links to Instagram photos or YouTube videos that have been recently uploaded. I don’t think many questions get asked on Twitter so there isn’t much of a need for Twitter conversations but the Facebook page is definitely utilized as a sort of question and answer forum on the posts. The YouTube channel is used to post commercials that have been made, promo videos on specific pets, and as a sort of news update on things going on within Animal Humane.

What I like about Animal Humane’s social media presence is that it’s fun. They’re not afraid to take chances and post silly things a lot with serious, important things. Recently, they posted a link to a parody of a Macklemore song and it was hilarious! They’ve done a great job creating a following within the Albuquerque area. The Facebook page has over 7,000 likes and I think it’s because of the diversity in the posts. It’s not the same things over and over again and they keep it interesting.

I definitely see bits of myself in their branding. I’d like to think of myself as an upbeat, lighthearted person and that’s what I see in their social media. They are also able to keep that same tone strong between social media and traditional advertising. The billboards and local television commercials translate well and are very apparently the same organization that they show on Facebook. I’m grateful I’ve been able to intern there and see what makes a successful social media presence.

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On Storytelling:

Videography is an amazing tool that has been available for years but now is easily accessible and simple to use for the masses. In the case of Rachel Beckwith’s story, after her tragic death, 1.26 million dollars were raised for charity:water for her ninth birthday wish. On the first anniversary of her death, Rachel’s mom and grandparents were able to visit Ethiopia and see some of the 60,000 wells that were made in her honor. A heartwarming and impactful video was shot, edited and published on that same day. In the six months since it’s posting it’s had nearly 520,000 views which I find astonishing for a nonprofit organization, even one as popular as charity:water. 

Videographer Jamie Pent did a wonderful job at capturing the story’s emotion and impact on the villages while maintaining the viewer’s attention. Ira Glass, of “This American Life” did a series of videos on storytelling. In this series, he explains that most of his time is spent looking for a good story to cover. If Rachel’s story had not have been so special, obviously the video would not have been successful.

Glass also mentions Gestalt Theory in his talk, saying that in the end, you want to end up with something that is greater than the sum of its parts. In doing so, Glass says there could be some action, then talk about it, more action, talk about it some more, and then hopefully a moment of reflection. I think Pent’s charity:water video did a good job with this because although the video itself may not have called for a “moment of reflection” on their part, it did cause the viewers to have that moment because Rachel was so selfless at such a young age.

I think in my own videos, I would like to put to use some of Glass’s storytelling techniques and find interesting stories to tell in an intriguing way. I think one of the most noteworthy points he made was on the subject of “good taste.” Glass said if you have good taste, you could make something and know it’s not the best and that you can keep improving. Obviously not having good taste can be a hindrance to your work but if you already think your work is great, you won’t see yourself as having room to improve or even know what a good benchmark is.

I can definitely apply this to graphic design because I know what good design is, and I know my work is definitely not up to par yet but I know what I’m working toward.  Glass’s storytelling techniques are applicable to any area of creative work and I look forward to seeing how we all put these to use in the future.