May 2011

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May 2011

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

Of Tweets, Links, Likes, and Posts...

Facebook allows members to comment on the photos we posted from the recent Annual Conference & Stage Expo, starting new conversations about the event.

In the past year, we’ve become an Institute with a social media presence. It has opened my eyes as to who we are and where we are. USITT has always been a wonderful group of diverse people. While we look very white and very male on the surface, the fact is, we do have diversity, Facebook told me so.

You see, as an administrator on our official Facebook page I get to see the stats of who “likes” us. According to Facebook our “likers” are 56 percent male and 42 percent female. That’s about right for our actual membership breakdown. But there are other fun stats about who we are in the Facebook world.

We have been liked in 18 foreign countries and in 10 other languages (11 if you count British English). Nine point five percent of our Facebook friends are 55 or over -- not what Zuckerberg intended when he started this thing, but I don’t think he minds. Our largest Facebook demographic is 25-34 year olds followed not too distantly by the 35-44 segment (Under 24 still holds strong at just under a quarter of our Facebook demographic).

So why am I blathering on about mundane statistics? It’s partly because the people who really know me know I love to blather on about statistics, but also because I love the fact that the virtual world of USITT so closely mirrors the mortal world.

We are from so many different places geographically, within our lives and careers and from our backgrounds. All of that makes for a vibrant organization that trades ideas freely and willingly.

Our Human Issues Caucus met in Charlotte as it does each year. Members have some incredible initiatives planned to improve the opportunities for our People of Color and LGBT community. That kind of diversity is important and should be promoted within the organization. But, at the same time, let’s not forget the diversity that already exists within our Institute. Age, gender, and background are all important diversities as well.

The spirit in Charlotte was one of people introducing themselves and creating new friendships. People were reaching across those various definitions of diversity to expand their network of friends and colleagues. Let’s keep that going. You will hear it from President Joe Aldridge, President-Elect Lea Asbell-Swanger, and so many others. Celebrate the Institute and all of our ways of identifying each other. And don’t just wait for Long Beach. Reach out and make the most of an amazing group of people.

Thanks for an incredible first year serving you as Executive Director. I am excited for the future.

David Grindle

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