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The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

This work is licensed by Mikko Kapanen (2012) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

Finnish Brazilian music education project FIBRA is coordinated by the Finnish Music Council and its development cooperation project CUDE.FI Kulttuurivaihtokauppa and the participating music schools are Jokilaaksojen musiikkiopisto in Finland and Guitarrissima escola de msica in Brazil. The project has received funding from the Finnish ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finnish Music Council is a member of the International Music Council which has a special relationship with UNESCO.

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

Introduction to FIBRA ...5 Online spaces and networks of people ..7 A brief look at how we analysed the usage of social media in FIBRA ...10 The less clicks the better....11 The FIBRA people ..13 What was FIBRA online? 17 FIBRA on and offline 23 A word of advice ..27 Sources ....31 Appendix .31

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

ver since 2010 when Allan Cesar Pftzenreuter had visited Finland, the idea of further collaboration between the Guitarrissima music school and its social initiative InterMusica both based in Porto

Algre, Brazil, and both represented by Alan the Finnish music school Jokilaaksojen musiikkiopisto was born. Further exchange, of course, was conducted via the Internet. Services such as Skype, email and Facebook were all in a key role in communicating ideas across the continents and finally in the early days of 2011 plans for project activities and funding proposal were started. These plans were coordinated by the Finnish Music Council which, to add a special flavour to the project, is located some 500 kilometres away from Haapavesi the home of Jokilaaksojen musiikkiopisto. If we take a step back and look at the big picture before getting into the specifics, its safe to say that without the tools provided by many services of the Internet, such initiative could have never consolidated, yet here we are in the end part looking back and analysing what did we learn about our online usage and what could we improve in the future.

Apart from the short history of planning and conversing, it seems clear that online tools and social media were, as they would be, central to a project where only short periods of time participants can physically meet with each other. Its also part of our premise that if we are to be able to maximise the efficiency online, we can develop a cost effective way of collaborating in future; a model even if not one without its technological prerequisites that could be applied broadly even outside of our own future projects. This is something that is both interesting, but also in its cost-effectiveness quite useful as the future of funding to some degree seems always uncertain.

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

This analysis aims to highlight what happened and why, and also how to use this information for future purposes. The paper has been structured to look at a bit like what has been said about online work by others, then explore the online activities of the first phase of FIBRA project (2011-2012) and finally to conclude by offering practical ideas for the future. The questionnaire (found at the end of this paper) has been sent to everyone who has been part of our teaching activities and we will also look into the method of this paper briefly as we proceed, but the real finding that we further elaborate on in the pages to come is that online work is additional even crucially so to a project such as FIBRA, but it isnt yet something that could carry the whole weight on its shoulders. Face-to-face meetings create the social environment that makes the birth of any kind of online communality a lot quicker. Otherwise one year can be a very short time to form a functional community exclusively online around one topic. The online activity then is explained as a social cultural experience. The technology will take us only so far, if the participants do not feel socially drawn to the community and hence one avoids a lot of headaches when starting the communication via tools that already are popular. For us in FIBRA the platform of choice was Facebook, but as things change quickly online and networks rise and fall, in the near future the service might be something we have not even heard of yet.

For an analysis such as this one, it always is useful to offer some kind of theoretical framework in order to create an understanding of what the context is within which these activities exist. Next, we will look into some of these discussions.

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

he space online is primarily a social space. Networks that are created and the activities engaged in are not there because of technology although to some extent they are enabled, in the form we know them

at the moment, by technology. That means that we do not use Facebook or Twitter because it is technologically possible, but the technology has been created to meet our cultural practices even if those practices were only emerging ones, not yet dominant. That means that we do not subscribe to a technologically determined world view; instead things we, as people do, determine what we do.

One of the great communication visionaries of the last century, Marshall McLuhan suggested that medium is the message. This was long before the time of the Internet, but what he meant was that the tool of communication the medium is the real message rather than its content which we instinctively would perhaps assume. This, McLuhan argued, was because it is the medium that creates an environment and a new way of thinking and that is the real message to take home. I already mentioned that this was before the era of the Internet, so having used the somewhat loose term visionary seems justified since the McLuhans assessment from the 1960s seems to capture rather spot on what our current online networks do. The confusion of millions of messages many of them quite meaningless in the bigger scheme of things can never be as important as what the medium itself has done to us and what we have done with it. It has truly become our environment.

Many of the services we use in our online environment such as Google, Facebook and others are market orientated businesses. Some of them

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

such as Twitter have not yet found a working business model because as big a business as the online environment is, it also has a strong sense of liberty and inexpensiveness, and it is not always easy for companies to figure out what is the right place and the right way to make money from the Internet users. That is not to say that they have not many of them are making a proverbial killing online, but it generally takes some time for the right, and oftentimes sensitive enough, model to be both found and then put in place. The Internet users, the inhabitants of the online environment, have engaged in steadily increasing social (non-market orientated) media production and therefore also heightened participation. We are no longer just passive consumers and customers to be made money out of. The networked participation in production has led many online users to see themselves primarily as citizens with rights. This kind of collective production that takes place for no immediately clear financial objective has also given birth to a setup where we could potentially see democratisation in media and communication environment in general. This is not to sound too idealistic; its clear that besides the so called digital divide the drastic differences between online accesses which often seem almost geographically determined together with basic computer skills are questions that will contribute to uneven representation of people online and as a result, the western consumer cultures have become dominant also in the online environment. To further elaborate on the question of access; it is not purely a question of being able to read or observe, but also to contribute and to be heard. For uploading and other input purposes a good broadband connection is obviously also an advantage, so available infrastructure and the cost of its usage are major considerations. The regulations and laws of different countries are less important, as the technology of the Internet does not really recognise borders, but the state, in many cases finds a way, if it so wishes, to

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

counter the international content not by limiting its production, but the peoples access to it.

Why have we had to think about these questions? Are they even important? Obviously, having written them down, I would give a resounding yes. We are talking about something much more specific here about how the online space was utilised in a project between two music schools: one in Brazil and another one in Finland but as it later becomes evident our starting point need to be to understand that the key consideration in online activity is social and not technological and in order for us to understand how did we network online, it is helpful to have had looked at some of the very basic theoretical debates around the matter. I would stress here, that this is not an academic paper even though it employs some methods and to an extent the structure of academic writing, but I will not take these debates further than the very basic level. I would, however, like to argue that for us as representatives of the civil society it is important to understand that for the first time since the radical press of the 19th century Britain and some often small scale community based alternative media in other countries, we have a real significant way of communicating outside of our immediate social environment and outside of the dominant media structures. The civil society rarely has had such an opportunity and it is for us as its members to decide how we feel comfortable embracing this opportunity and utilise it to the best of our abilities in our specific interest; the strengthening of the music education.

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

n order for us to find out how effective our communication was and what were the most urgent needs of improvement we asked all participants of the project and also people impacted by it, to fill out a questionnaire which consisted of eighteen questions roughly divided

into three categories: basic information of online access and used equipment, level of computer literacy and other online habits, online user experiences as part of FIBRA, and general and specific feedback. In the end we received 19 sets of answers to our questionnaire and that covers the population of active FIBRA teachers and other staff members fairly well. The students themselves are not represented although they have also been active online especially in their own Facebook group but the focus this time has been on the people who have been in charge of the teaching. Based on that we can expect that the findings reflect the teaching rather than the learning aspect of the project, but on the other hand, it has to be notified that the answers we have received from the teachers also reflect the feedback they have gotten from the students on top of reflecting the effectiveness of learning that they have seen taking place in classrooms. The full questionnaire as it was sent out is in the end of this report as an appendix.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

IBRA was a pilot project in more ways than one. Not only were we testing the effectiveness of such cultural and educational exchange on our specific field of music schools, but we launched this project also to

learn something about online long distance work and material exchanges. That is what this paper is about. It was important for us to have something in the end of this project that would summarise our strengths and weaknesses and analyse our relative triumphs and figurative downfalls. In the project plan we had not yet finalised our concrete plans for our online presence regardless of the fact that from the very beginning it was always going to be a very central aspect. One of the very few things we had decided was that we were not going to budget a whole lot of money towards building a brand new website. Actually, we had decided not to use any money for such. There were some discussions about that; whether it is a good idea, but in the end, beside the fact that there were more than enough other places where the money was needed, it was agreed that our challenge will not be in building a space for people to communicate in. The Internet is already full of these spaces, people use them quite actively and they are fairly familiar with them. These are the services such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. What was, however, in our estimation going to be the make it or break it aspect was how to get people to talk about these things in the midst of multitude of options the Internet caters for. Supposedly we can ask, even require if it is a work related task, a person to do something online, but if they dont start seeing its usefulness, importance, element of fun or some other positive impulse that will bring them back, the whole online aspect will become a husk of theory of what could have been if only.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

So, we decided early on to abandon ambitions of building something new and big for this project and rather focus on spaces where our target group the active participants of FIBRA already were and where they naturally signed into more or less on a daily basis. Facebook seemed to have been the answer for that.

There was some resistance initially. Not everyone likes Facebook which is only natural, but not everyone even uses Facebook and in order for one to participate, one has to have an account. It did seem, however, that within our active participants this was not going to be an issue and in retrospect as we soon look more in detail the Facebook group set up for this project was the primary communication platform we had and also actively used.

It has already been hinted, but let me emphasise; for a project such as FIBRA, online communication is a social, not a technological challenge. All the technology in the world cannot make someone reluctant to act against their free will. Try as we might and for good measure we did try a few options the only sustainable model of communications is the one where people keep coming anyway. After all, our focus in FIBRA was music education and not exploring the worldwide web. It is my recommendation here for other people planning similar undertakings to channel their ambition and funding elsewhere unless they have some other more specific model that is central to the project itself. If your money and time are limited and if majority of participants are participating in addition to their day jobs or other requirements (this kind of activity can easily compete with spending time with children, pets, other hobbies or just taking a nap) it is advisable to make it as easy as possible. Dont expect people to acquire new skills or if avoidable, create new online accounts, because even if some would be happy to do it,

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

some others will be lost in the process. It is true that some other services may offer more functions; things that are really specific and useful to the exact activity you would ideally undertake, but they dont fit organically into peoples daily routines and as online marketers would tell you, with every additional mouse click you lose people online. The less clicks the better.

Next we will get into the details of our study. Before getting into the actual online activities of our participants we start of by looking into what kind of people we had in our population.

o get an idea of the level of activity of the participants who are responding here, and who were at the centre of the activities of the project itself, we now look into the kind of people who were active in

FIBRA. To find out more about this we asked quantitative questions which were aimed to just give some indication for us to further understand the more open and qualitative questions down the line.

All but one respondent have their own internet connection at home, but apart from the one without, a few more additionally felt that the connection in their use was not sufficient for the needs of this project. If you count percentages they are very small even from a small population we had here, but we are left only to speculate how much did having the internet connection at home impact on answering to this questionnaire to begin with. Or furthermore, did someones lack of good Internet access discourage them to further participate in the project itself. One can assume that this is within possibilities and if it

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

should have been the case and pardon me for speculating it could suggest that in future one would have to empower those ones specifically and attempt to enable them to become equal participants in all activities. This challenge might grow significantly when one or more of the partner countries do not have the Internet infrastructure affordably available. Besides everyone using the computer (desktop or laptop), five had also used some other devices such as smartphone or tablet computer during the project.

All this suggests that the technical requirements of our project for participants were fairly well in place, but it also becomes clear that finding out the possible pitfalls of online access and ability to use the most common online services is something one needs to map out before embarking on a project which has a strong online element. For FIBRA, I can say that this had been done during the planning stage when we discussed the specifics of Brazilian online access. The Finnish access we were quite familiar with and confident of.

In the end, one has to also consider whether there is a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy in asking people online how much online services they have used, because the ones less inclined to use the Internet may have been equally less inclined to answer to the questionnaire, and the ones who did, made the results look overwhelmingly positive. I am, however, confident that we have not fallen on that trap here as our target group has been quite limited and well represented on this paper.



The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

Access is one thing, and as important as it may be, in the term social media the emphasis is on social. The pertinent questions, as they relate to what we are talking about here, of social media are being asked within the academic discipline social sciences. They do not quite fit into the computer science which deals with a whole different aspect of social media perhaps how to technically build it, but there is little use for coding alone if it is not a solid understanding of online behaviour or some other vision of what could be. Of course also marketing and business have their own profit driven interest on this subject, but even when strategizing for the maximum bottom line, the questions asked are social ones. How, and how much do we use social media? Why do we use it? We will get into that, but first we will have a quick look into how the participants would describe their role in the project to gain understanding of what kind of people within the project the respondents were.

The participants were asked to describe their role in the project and the most active teachers and other key members of the project were active quite holistically. The ones who were participating in the work and study periods were active in online environment as well, and the ones who did not participate during either one of the work and study periods took less active role. It seems that the face to face time encouraged more online time perhaps through familiarity with the other participants. Arguably so much so that the ones not included in the work and study periods did not respond to this questionnaire at all. Looking at this purely from a research angle it has to be said that that is a speculation, but on the other hand, having been the coordinator of the project and based on anecdotal and first hand


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

ethnographic evidence I would lean towards this view; it is clear either way that not all the participating teachers did respond to this questionnaire.

Besides the level of all around activeness of the participants in this project it is also interesting to know how active online users they are in general. The second question focused on the online usage outside the work and most responders identified themselves as daily users who visit their (non-work) email address and social media accounts daily, but not enough to describe the time spent online as a lot. Only five participants considered themselves heavy users and three answered that they were occasional users using the internet less than every day. Only one out of all the people who use internet less than daily, saw their role in FIBRA to have been on the least active category. Perhaps the two other occasional web users were in more active roles during the face to face interaction and did some online activity as well. Out of this fairly small although quite representative population it does not surprise me to see a small minority who use online occasionally. I dont see that to be problematic for a project that relies to some extent on the online experience since the overwhelming majority is more active. The surprise perhaps was that only five people out of this group said to use personal email and social media accounts more than once a day or an amount that they would describe as a lot.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

12 10 8 6 4 2 0 A B C

a. Heavy user spending a lot of time online every day using a computer and / or mobile devices, b. Daily user checking email and perhaps social media account once a day c. Occasional user using the internet less than daily.

rom the get go we decided not to spent too much of our energy and resources on building online presence for FIBRA; this, regardless of the fact that the online space was always to be one of the more central

aspects of the project. In a while we will look into how central this kind of long distance cooperation and material exchange actually was, but before that, we need to establish what FIBRA was online.

FIBRA online activities consisted of three kinds of segments: 1) Open elements where everyone, including people not part of the project had access to. This first batch included many videos shared on YouTube (although some of them were uploaded with limited access) which then, most often, were further linked to on other, more closed,

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

platforms. Another fully open example of communication was a blog that was opened in Googles Blogger-service, but quite soon after trying it out it became apparent that it was not going to be efficient or popular way and this platform was abandoned.

Brazilian students playing traditional Finnish music on a YouTube video.

2) Closed platforms that were used socially. The best example, by far, was the Facebook groups that were opened for the teachers and students alike. These required the user to have an account in the service in question, but after that they were easy to enter and follow. FIBRA also had its own Wikidot page which was customised for our purposes and therefore matched them rather perfectly. In theory.Besides some reported sign-in issues, the site did not manage to become popular in

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

practice. The information of its existence did not, according to the questionnaire, reach many participants especially in Brazil and it simply could not compete with Facebook which was far less flexible, far more generic, but miles more popular. People were spending time there already even without FIBRA. Actually every single respondent had had a Facebook account prior to the project and they were overwhelmingly pleased with the communication.

FIBRA Facebook group page the students had their own group where they were interacting.

3) Closed platforms used privately. On top of the obvious fact that Brazil and Finland are far from each other, the active participants in Finland were divided into several geographically distant locations that were neither easy nor cheap to commute between. On top of that, the nature of Jokilaaksojen musiikkiopisto in itself is geographically fragmented on several campuses that are at times tens of kilometres away from each other. Email was one of the key forms of communication as one could even guess but the meetings that were

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

organised utilised Connect Pro system to which we had free access as an act of goodwill regardless of the fact that the service itself is a paid one. Connect Pro worked very well in conference calls and in meetings we were relying on it. Skype-calls were also used sometimes, but the audio and video quality of Connect Pro was superior and with it we managed to avoid a lot of frustration and bad connections on top of the fact that recordings of meetings were able to be made available to the absentees. Regardless of Connect Pro having had a social aspect within our project its key characteristic was still to host private meetings. For that reason, there were many teachers that never tried it it was not really for the general communication but the members in the core active group spent many hours on Connect Pro discussing the various practicalities of FIBRA.

Finnish FIBRA participants during a Connect Pro meeting.

In the feedback, when we asked participants whether they would have preferred to have a specific website for the project the answers were fairly divided. Many agreed that there was no need, but some saw a purpose, a few

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

even an urgent need for it. It is true that a potential strength that a website on its own domain could have is to communicate the messages and advancements of the project externally. It could be argued that this could benefit us in acquiring further funding for this and other projects, but like mentioned before, due to the time and budget constraints the opposite was decided and the experiences we had with our blog and Wikidot site it seems that the modest enthusiasm we saw in the feedback on this department was in the end outnumbered, but also a something of an afterthought.

All participants used Facebook, and indeed were using it already before FIBRA for other purposes (question 6.), a few mentioned having used Wikidot and no one recollected using Blogger. This all suggests that, for better or worse, in order for a platform to become efficient, it needs social draw rather than specific technical functions.

Should we have had our own website, even at its most ambitious and budget breaking form it could not have competed with Facebook which in this population was a hit. The same does not necessarily apply in all other social groups and it is noteworthy that the age group of teachers was predominantly leaning towards young adults (many were in their twenties and early thirties). YouTube was also a popular service where many videos were uploaded and it played an important role in making our specific circumstances more concrete to each other. The sense of community however was not created in YouTube itself, but on Facebook with the help of links to YouTube videos. All in all 75 % saw that there was a sense of unity or a community in the online aspect of FIBRA.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Facebook Youtube Wikidot Blogger Some other

Services used by FIBRA participants

One of the key arguments of this paper and this is by no means the only place where this point is made is that the technology determinist way of viewing social media, or actually any media, is insufficient. The way we negotiate within ourselves, within our immediate social framework or even more broadly the meaning of social media is a complex one, but it is primary a social question. Fortunately, we lead the machines rather than them leading us. And if you poured a glass of red wine, to many a start-up entrepreneur, they would tell you baffling stories of how something that in theory should work, for some reason does not in practice. This is what happened for us as well. There was no technologically explicable reason why the specifically customised for our needs Wikidot, would not have been a centre of our online experience. When asked why Facebook was so popular, all but one said that it is where everyone already is. Additionally two participants highlighted the user experience and relative convenience besides stressing the social aspect of Facebook, and notably no one felt that any other services including Twitter, Tumblr etc. would have added value to our communications.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

or now we have focused purely on the online activities of FIBRA. That is understandable since that has been the focus of this paper, but of course online long distance learning and communication and

material exchanges were only one aspect of the entity that we had undertaken in this project. Without putting the online activities in their actual context within FIBRA and acknowledging the strong offline element, we gain little clarity. Next we will look into the weight given to the social media and try to answer the question could a project in future solely rely on an online environment without any physical exchange.

There are certain realities when you are planning a new project. It would be lovely to implement many great ideas, but often there are factors such as time and money that stand in your way as obstacles or challenges if you will. Our resources are finite; the budget is limited and no one is full time employed only for this one thing. A one year project has to be divided into different kinds of smaller segments and besides the online experiences for us the important ones were the work and study periods both in Finland in January and in Brazil in June 2012. On top of these TAMK (Tampereen Ammattikorkeakoulu) senior lecturer of music technology Matti Ruippo, who was one of the key people in the project in general, went to give master classes to the Brazilian teachers in Porto Alegr around the Easter time. These faceto-face instances in all fairness were the catalyst of FIBRA. Looking back, the online social interaction was very modest prior to the first visit made to Haapavesi by the Brazilian delegation. It did exist, but it was really only finding its way; what to do and where? And why? To what end are we doing these things?

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

After the Brazilian teachers came to Finland, things got on a completely new gear and we were fast improving our whole project. It became more dynamic and its purpose much clearer. Of course the project had had its purpose for a long time, since its very beginning, but the first work and study period could be considered as some kind of moment of clarity. In retrospect it should have happened much sooner. There is one lesson learned to be taken into the future projects, but this is not really a place to analyse that. What we can conclude from this, however, is that online social media is additional and complementary rather than alternative to the actual face to face interaction. In future, when our brains are better rewired to this new environment of communication this may change. That is speculation, but evolution tends to work that way. For now, there was a full unbroken consensus that we would not be able to have a functional project without spending time with each other in each others physical spaces. This has financial implications as the project budgets should always have travelling expenses accommodated, and it does not take a fortune teller to guess that those are, by far, the biggest expenses that this kind of relatively small project has. Even with the best spirit of cooperation as we had, where no accommodation had to be paid for, but guests were invited to homes and other premises of the hosts, the inescapable cost of air travel, trains and other forms of transport will take a significant amount of project resources because without that, there is no project. Of course there can be other projects with different ambitions and they might work we cannot categorically deny that and there is no need to but what we have been after in FIBRA could not have been done with computers alone. Face-to-face social interaction is seen by the participants as the central aspect of FIBRA and social media at best sings the harmonies on the side of the proverbial stage.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

But that is slightly beside the point. Regardless of the fact that for our project it is a central observation, for the purposes of this paper, it is not as important outside of the fact that we have acknowledged it. We understand these realities. That is now on the record, but like said, FIBRA was always a pilot project in many ways. It was the first time any of us ventured on this kind of cultural exchange project and to spend a year to only have a few visits would be a year not particularly well spent. We are interested in potential and we can only assume that as online becomes even further significant in our lives as may well happen and more than a mere quarter of the respondents consider themselves more than just once a day users the reality might be different. There may well be more platforms that can be utilised because people are already in those on a daily basis as well. Actually Facebook is only a snapshot of a time and we should not get too stuck with that because as we have learned from the rise and fall of MySpace, we cannot guarantee that a year from now Facebook will particularly even exist in any kind of significant way. It certainly does not go uncriticised and its functionality has been under constant negotiation between user experience, privacy and market forces especially after its listing to stock market and the drop in share value that nearly immediately followed. That is just the nature of the internet and therefore every time I say Facebook, it pretty much is interchangeable with any dominant online social media platform of the time. It just so happens that during our project and with our projects participants it has been Facebook. That is undeniable.

We asked: can a project be run online only. The answer was no, but another equally interesting question is could a project be run without the online element. The answer is probably yes, but it would not be a very good project


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

on todays standard. There is no use in creating an imagined competition between the ways when they evidently support each other quite efficiently.


We have now looked at the significant findings of the social media usage of the Finnish Brazilian music education project FIBRA based on the questionnaire that was sent to the teachers and staff involved in it. We have highlighted the social, as opposed to the technological aspect of communication both in general and specific levels. Our key argument has been that in order to communicate efficiently we have to go where people are; to minimise their need to click new links and open accounts. Based on the same logic one goes to the market place to sell potatoes instead of trying to sell them from the field where no one is, because it will be a challenge to get the people to come to you.

All this has been specific to FIBRA and for those of us who have been part of the project or people who otherwise are very interested in this kind of topic this might be interesting. I am sure the people who would not find this interesting would not have managed to read this far anyway, but the point of this paper is twofold: on the one hand we analyse what we have done and what has happened and on the other, we also offer further ideas to consider to those who are only in the planning stages or in the beginning of their own project. We offer our experiences as something to build on. The next segment of this paper will offer those ideas and it has been written in a way that it could easily be separated from the context of this paper in order to get on point a bit sooner.

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

When you think of social media the opportunities are seemingly endless. Many of us and importantly increasingly more of us are familiar with at least the concept and some of the services that are currently very popular. It is all at our fingertips. We read how social media topples governments, wins elections and sells products. Is there anything it cannot do?

Well, there are plenty of things it cannot do and out of those things I have just listed it has not really done any. It has not caused a revolution it has merely been part of political activity together with other modes of communication. The traditional media, especially in the so called western countries has seen this to be newsworthy and the next thing we knew; it became the main focus of a revolution. The revolution was supposedly provided by huge corporations listed on stock markets. That is just a story. A nice story that has sold probably millions of papers, but I am afraid it is not quite accurate. The same goes to elections; it is true that social media is a great tool for communication, but we must not give it a human form. It is not a doer of anything anymore than a spade digs a hole. Anyone who has spent time spading the dirt into a hole in the ground knows that it was not the spade that did the digging. Social media is a tool or rather a set of tools that we use, but there is no magic to it. People do not just appear automatically once a Facebook group has been opened. The likes cannot be taken for granted and even with the best of substance at hand, it is competing with tons of even more exciting material that the internet is full of. To say it simply social interaction is not automatic. It happens if we make it happen.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

When one plans a marketing campaign or communication platform for a project it is important to keep in mind that people are busy and your content or the place where they will share their content has to be such that they will want to return. Originally websites were more of destinations where we visited, but now they are places where we are or rather, environments where we exist and even furthermore coexist with others.

Here is a short checklist of thought for social media and online platform planning for project work. 1. Do not assume people will move mountains to find you make it as easy as possible. The less clicks the better. Practically speaking that means that you need to map out what will be the most likely way of using the Internet to work with your particular group and go with that. Do not assume that the partner country has the same connection speeds as you do. Do not assume that you can send large files to people without inconveniencing them. You might be sitting next to your state of the art laptop, but someone else reads your email in an internet caf on a computer that does not even open the latest version of the word processing document that you have just sent them. 2. Consider your need for a website. Websites are great, but if like with us, the organisation behind the project and all of its partners has one, then is it worth setting a new one up for the project itself? Will there be enough material to put on there and what will its purpose be? If it is communication then would that communication be more efficient somewhere that is specifically designed for it? Probably. I am not being against the idea of a website and for many projects especially a bit bigger ones this is not even a question. Of course they will have a website. Also if the website is used as part of project funding

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

applications it also is clear that there is a purpose and one should be had. I am merely suggesting here that it is important to analyse the needs and compare those to the available resources such as time and money, and based on that, to prioritise. We did, and we did not do a website. 3. Do not count too much on the social media. Like said, sometimes the news stories give us a sense that social media is easy. We hear the success stories, but utilising it to its fullest abilities takes many working hours. Sometimes I see an organisation thinking that after opening the Facebook profile they can cross the social media from their list of things to do. I only wish it was that simple. 4. Do not be afraid to have a bit of fun with it. It really appears to be characteristic to social media that it is quite casual even when used as part of work. I think that is pretty cool, but more so, it is probably what will make people want to come back to it. Do not think of social media as a meeting, but rather as a party a nice get-together. 5. Lastly, and this is probably the most important thing in all of these pages; never trust anyone who calls themselves a social media guru. I have written about the usage of social and other online media here at length. I have even offered some ideas of what to do and what not to do, but really, I am just trying to offer things for you to consider as you navigate your own particular path. There are some rules that seem to vaguely apply to our online behaviour, but just when we start counting on them, things can change again. All the ideas in this last segment are on the use-it-dont-use-it basis and they are offered to be considered rather than religiously followed. The earlier part of this paper is of course based on a research, but that research tells how things went how we did them not how they will always be.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

That is it. Go and plan a project. Have fun and create something new with other people.


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

1. McLuhan, M. (1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Oxon: Routledge. 2. Benkler, Y. (2006) The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven: Yale University Press. 3. Tambini, D. (1999) New Media and Democracy: the civic networking movement. New Media and society. Vol. 1(3): 305-329. 4. Nicholas, D. et al. (1998) The media and the internet. London: Aslib.

The usage of social media in the Finnish Brazilian music education development project FIBRA Questionnaire. b. Your participation in FIBRA choose the option that describes your role the best: a. participated in one of the work- and study periods (as a part of the hosting school or in a visiting delegation) and online exchanges by sharing material or something similar, b. participated in the online discussion and some of the activities of the work-and study period, c. participated in some of the activities of one of the work- and study periods or online discussions (not both) c. Your online usage choose the option that describes your use of the Internet the best outside of your work: a. Heavy user spending a lot of time online every day using computer and / or mobile devices, b. Daily user checking email and perhaps social media account once a day c. Occasional user using the internet less than daily. d. Which ones of the following services did you use: a. Facebook b. Youtube

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

c. Wikidot d. Blogger e. some other which? e. Were the selected online locations of FIBRA easy to use and did they cater for the needs of the project? a. If not, what were the problems? f. Initially we had decided not to buy a domain and invest projects money into a separate website dedicated to it do you think a website would have improved our communication? a. If yes, how? g. Where you a user of Facebook before FIBRA or did you start using it because of the project? h. A lot of the communication took place in Facebook did Facebook facilitate all the necessary needs of our project and its material exchanges? i. In your opinion, was Facebook the most used online platform for FIBRA because technically it works the best for our needs or because socially so many are already using it on daily basis?

j. Would some other social media platform worked better in your opinion? (Twitter, Tumblr etc.) k. FIBRA had a specific space built at Wikidot service ( it was customised to allow sharing notations and such. Did you use the website? a. If yes how did you find it? What was your overall opinion? b. If not why not? Were you aware of the service? l. Did you ever participate on online meetings that used the Connect Pro service? a. if yes, what was your overall impression of it? b. If yes, and if you are also a Skype-user how does Connect Pro compare to Skype in your opinion? m. In your opinion, did the online exchange manage to create a sense of unity amongst the participants? n. Did you consider the online exchanges as important, or more or less important as the work- and study period? Why?

The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

o. Do you think in future a project similar to FIBRA could work mainly, or even only as an online long distance project? What would it being the case require? p. Do you have an internet connection at home? q. Did you feel like you had good enough access to the internet (at home, at work, school, library or whereever) in order to fully participate in FIBRA? r. Did you use the internet during this project on computer or on a mobile device (tablet or smart phone) or on both? s. Do you have any final comments about the use of internet as part of FIBRA? Something we should do better in future or something that you felt we did well already during the first phase of the project? Did we do something that was not useful?


The less clicks the better social media in an intercontinental culture project FIBRA

FIBRA is coordinated by the Finnish Music Council and its development cooperation project CUDE.FI Kulttuurivaihtokauppa and the participating music schools are Jokilaaksojen musiikkiopisto in Finland and Guitarrissima escola de msica in Brazil. The project has received funding from the Finnish ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finnish Music Council is a member of the International Music Council which has a special relationship with UNESCO.