The social media engine twitter has changed the way people share information, the way the news is announced and how we market companies. Artistic organizations are reluctantly beginning to see that they need to employ tweets in some form or another to help with advertising – but what about to heighten the listener experience?
Several orchestras have begun allowing patrons to use their phones during concerts, to converse with each other and their followers to let them know what they think of the music being performed. They have even begun to create ‘tweet-zones’, where all of the social media people can gather in the concert hall in one group of seats so as not to disturb other audience members (is this the same as cramming over-rambunctious children into the Sprite zone at the Air Canada Centre?).
In essence, the thought behind this is great. It encourages discussion, and creates buzz for classical concerts. It can even be a source of education for newcomers, if used correctly.
But at the same time, classical music concerts are a time to shut off the rest the world, to be totally immersed in a musical landscape that requires all of our attention. Even if we are listening intently, how focused can we really be if we stop every few minutes in a lyrical cello solo to tweet about what we are doing?
Like everything, the answer must be a fine line in introducing these new initiatives, to find a balance of encouraging discussion, but perhaps not during the concerts themselves (more intermissions, anyone?).
You still have to applaud those groups that are forging ahead and at least experimenting with using twitter, and for starting this whole conversation. Click here for a great article written in USA today about this topic.