Meet #umbsocial Speaker – Edward Peters

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?photo2

First thing to know: I’m a native Californian. That means I HATE New England winters! I still have this [completely rational by the way!] mindset that if you want snow, you drive a few hours into the mountains to get it—and then leave it to go back to the warm comforts of home. That being said, I love it here in Boston – there’s lots of energy, innovation and ideas in the air.

Growing up, I first wanted to be a musician, then later a writer, and then a few years after that a filmmaker. So, it’s insanely awesome that my job writing, producing and scoring videos and documentaries allows me to do all three.

Studied Sociology and Economics in College – I’m sure the interviewer was probably entertained about my earnest, world-changing plan to write the next Das Capital – only this time fully reconciling Marxism and Capitalism into one harmonious whole. Never happened – obviously—I gave up after Chapter 2.

CD coverStarted as a writer, created the revenue department’s first website in 1995, then co-created the video production studio in 2006. Social media soon followed. Started my own production company  –Shadowfisher Productions – in 2008 for both personal and client-based video and music production.

When did you start to work in social media?

I started with social media in 2007, when we created our first YouTube account for our videos. Soon after, Twitter followed, then a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and, now, Flickr and, soon, Vine.

How does a typical work day of you look like?

I’m not sure I have “typical” days! On any given day, though, there is usually some combination of writing time, studio time (production and post) and administrative time, with a healthy dose of location filming and meetings.  Later on, a lot of my time is spent writing or doing music production in my home studio.

Do you have a role model in social media. Someone who inspires you?

I’m oddly role-model-free in the social media world.

What is the hardest thing about social media?

1. Actually doing it rather than talking about it.

2. Being consistent- both in quantity and quality

3. Finding relevant and useful content to post  – for some reason, it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone in my agency to ante up content.

What do you see as some up-and-coming trend in social media?

Easier-to-use interactive engagement tools that are better integrated with websites; increased use of video social media to create short, high-impact content e.g., Vine; more focus on quality content.

One trend I would love to see is more employee involvement and ownership of social media within their workplace.

Can you name us a brand or company that you admire for their great social media strategy/execution?

Not a company using it in a campaign per se, but, rather, a company creating the toolset to do it – and that’s Google. I’m in awe of Google – what they’ve done with YouTube and how they work to integrate their vast toolset.

Did you make any social media mistakes in the past or is there anything you would avoid in future?

Plenty. Number one was waiting four years to develop a coherent and scalable social media plan.

To be successful in social media, you need to ….?

Think about who your audience is and what their needs are. It’s easy to post self-absorbed stuff that resonates with no one (I should know!)

What is your favorite book and why?

I have two:  The Sun Also Rises and Dharma Bums.

Sun Also Rises was a real eye-opener as a teenager — not only about the Lost Generation in Paris theme, but because it’s a book that made me want to be a traveler, not a tourist, to explore and to live truly well. Every time I read that book it feels so real I feel like I have to wipe Sangria off my chin.

Dharma Bums is a favorite not only because it’s placed in my original backyard – the Bay Area and the Sierras — but because it’s a fabulous book about people – some good, some bad, some crazy – trying to look past the rampant crass commercialism of modern America and find an organic and spiritual way to live. Sounds cliché now maybe, but the book was truly prescient – it was written in the late 1950’s!

What is your favorite quote?

Easy, the opening two stanzas of Whitman’s Song of the Open Road; to wit:
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,             5
Strong and content, I travel the open road.

 What is your favorite movie and why?

Hmm, let’s see… Breathless?  Godfather?  Citizen Kane?  Nope, better than all those, it’s….  The Outlaw Josey Wales!

OK, y’all done snickering?  I love this movie, it has a fabulous core story about a wronged Civil-War era farmer exacting revenge, but it’s also about love and loss, honor, finding a family in unusual places, not to mention the tragic consequences of war.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Sorry Ben Franklin, but it’s Oysters and Chablis that “prove that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Where can we find more about you and you work?


… and a few other links that should give you a flavor of my agency work:

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