From In Transit Writer Rebekah: In Transit & Social Media
This afternoon's post was written by our In Transit writer, Rebekah Scallet. Rebekah was also a co-director and co-creator of last season's The Weaver's Tales. Below, Rebekah gives us some insight into the creation of the In Transit series and the important role social media plays.
After my first meeting with Adam Marks and Eric Snoza about working on the In Transit series, I found myself questioning whether or not I was an appropriate person to write the stories that would be included in this project. After all, I consider myself to be somewhat of a social media-phobe. I have a Facebook account, which I admit, I enjoy, but I don’t post status updates very often, or share links, or “check in” places. I have never participated in a single message board or commented on an online article, my Linked In account languishes, and I prefer to think of a “tweet” as the sound a bird makes. My area of expertise as a theatre director is in the live world—person to person communication through physicality and language. So why would I want to write a series of stories that unfold through the lens of social media?
I had to think long and hard about that one, and the answer became clearer as I began to research and think about the first presentation in our series: #UndercoverHero. Fifth House Ensemble came up with the idea of doing a story about a boy who is dealing with a bully—a very live and person to person kind of situation. Bullying is all about communication, particularly the lack of it. Kids who are bullied often are unable to communicate to adults about what is happening to them. Kids who bully often do so because they are unable to verbalize their real problems. Instead of sharing what is bothering them, they act out, sometimes in violent and dangerous ways.
I discovered that social media could become the communication outlet these kids need. On a message board, they could make a statement anonymously, and share something very personal that they might not be able to do in person. They could have access to a whole community of people to support them, without having to leave their bedrooms. They could tweet their problems and get instant feedback, often from people who have gone through similar situations.
For the characters in #UndercoverHero, their participation in the social media world becomes their primary, and perhaps their only true means of communication. And I think that is true in the other stories we will be presenting this season as well. I have realized that the interactions one has today on the internet can be more powerful and profound than many in “real life”. Social media can spread information about rebellions and uprisings, help a couple find true love, connect people to music and ideas beyond their imaginings, and help a young boy find the strength to confront his bully. Maybe I should start a Twitter account after all…