John R. Kilacky
Online social media has radically transformed news coverage. Tweets, Facebook posts, and amateur videos were essential in the coverage of the Arab spring, Japanese tsunami, bin Laden’s death, and Hurricane Irene. Public radio and local newspapers are now multimedia companies, crowdsourcing listeners and readers in co-authoring content.
Arts organizations, surprisingly, are behind the curve. Audiences today are drawn, not merely to a performance, but to an arts experience in which they participate. The experience does not begin and end at the performance curtain, but long before and after: at home, in the lobby, online, and sharing with friends.
Word of mouth has always been potent for box office, so it is essential that the arts marshal the power of online participatory media. However, this calls for a paradigm shift in thinking about what cultural participation means for audiences, live and viral.
At social media workshops, the conversation still defaults to using these platforms as a one-way transactional marketing medium: pushing out more marketing messages. Totally wrong! Read the rest of this entry »