Well last week was quite a whirlwind and Orange got a lot of attention since one of our co-founders, Gene X Hwang (me) was all over the news cycle when Twitter completed it’s transformation to X and subsequently took over the @x Twitter handle, which I had owned since 2007. We ourselves have had our account on Twitter since 2009 and as the news spread we found ourselves getting a lot of unexpected attention and from all sorts of people around the world!
Folks from our own industry reached out and posted, sharing their thoughts and support and that was really great to see. The events industry is a big industry but small at the same time and the outpouring of support was pretty awesome. Talking to various news outlets and other media sources was a bit strange since we’re usually on the back end of things and not on the front end. As photographers we often like to be behind the lens instead of in front of it.
In one case, the San Francisco Examiner sent a photojournalist to make images and it was our friend Craig Lee, who’s also shot with us in the past. So that was a nice chance to catch up with him and then being the subject was a bit awkward but relaxed since we were acquaintances. We shot at Alamo Drafthouse where Craig didn’t realize there was a pinball speakeasy up on the second floor. Check out the coverage here.
Another thing I’ve been working on personally was doing things that might be uncomfortable, to grow in all aspects of life, and all this media attention was definitely that. Doing interviews via email was fine, but calls with reporters and being live on air was a bit nerve wracking. I didn’t even want to watch the interviews but they were shared with me and I waited until the day after to review them. Another learning was that it’s important to have a plan or idea of what you want to say and what might be asked. At times I remember trying to come up with an answer made me more nervous so I tried to think out what questions might be asked and what my answers would be.
Some of my answers evolved since as you are asked things you think about them more and more and on day two I realized there’s a way to turn some of the attention into a positive and wanted to promote a local non-profit that we’ve been supporting for years, First Exposures. I was pretty sure Twitter was not going to provide any sort of financial compensation for the handle and I had gotten so much supportive comments from people asking how they could help whether that be from legal experts and lawyers or just friends and random people on the internet so I decided to promote them since local arts-based youth non profit programs are often underfunded and having been involved for so long, I knew that any donations would really help the program and thus the young people in the program. So if you’ve followed this along and want to do anything you can donate to First Exposures online here!