What inspired you to choose your MRP topic?
After attending “Sasquatch! Music Festival” at the Gorge Amphitheatre in 2012, I became completely infatuated with music festival culture. While in the process of developing my MRP, I was working for VICE's electronic music channel, THUMP, where I spent much of my time exploring the intersection between gender and the music festival experience. Discrimination and assault against women at music events like Coachella and Made in America Festival was repeatedly demonstrated. An in-depth study on a digital media campaign that centred on the female festival experience seemed like a logical next step.
What are the key findings of your research?
My MRP exposed the powerful way in which an online brand community can shape the messaging that appears on a company's social media channels. In my research, the way in which online users discussed and understood the female festival experience was often different than how it was portrayed by the music festival via their Facebook and Instagram posts. The festival depicted the women at their events as empowered, youthful, and collaborative, while the users who commented beneath these messages argued that many women actually feel vulnerable and marginalized during the gathering. Thus, it is important for companies to recognize that social media messages are never static. On Facebook and Instagram, users have the unique ability to publicly reshape a company's idea or concept.
How has your MRP research influenced the work you do now?
I am currently the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology –– an inaugural festival by Design Exchange that will launch in Toronto this September. In this role, I am required to conceptualize and execute an extensive social media campaign that best communicates this unique event. My MRP has stressed the importance of implementing a participatory digital communications campaign when marketing a festival. EDIT's brand community is strongly encouraged to take part in all digital conversations surrounding the expo as their voices and perspectives are what will ultimately define this unprecedented experience in the months –– and years–– to come.