Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twit You Say?


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, Jon Hoche.

I was honored that IT Awards asked me to be their guest blogger this week.  I was honored and also terrified.  I am a pretty simple guy with simple thoughts.  Nothing too profound or awe inspiring comes from my noggin.  So I wasn't sure what I should write about that would be of any interest to the Independent Theater community.  What could I possibly offer to the thousands of talented producers, writers, and actors out there in NYC making Off-Off-Broadway the place where the new great American theatre is being created?  Then to make it completely official and public, the great people at the IT Awards posted this on their twitter feed.

@NYITAwards: Our guest blogger of the week is Jon Hoche

And then I thought to myself.  Twitter.  Has anyone talked about "Twitter" and how it can benefit Independent theaters?  This sparked my interest and here we have it.  Ladies and Gentlemen.  I give to you my blog of the week.

"What the hell is Twitter and why you as a Theater Company need to be on it."

So let's start at the beginning and give you a little background information.  Twitter is the fastest growing social network to date.  Users are able to create a user name and are allowed 140 characters to post "tweets".  Think of it like a giant bulletin board.  Ideas, Opinions, Links to websites and pictures can all be posted within these 140 characters.  (We'll get back to that) At the time this blog goes live, there are 19 million people on Twitter worldwide.  In the beginning the people who were using Twitter were celebrities and tech geeks.  However, now a days, small business owners are finding Twitter to be their best marketing tool AND IT'S FREE.  I came across this short video tutorial to help me out.

So why not use Twitter as another tool to help spread the word about Independent Theater?  More importantly YOUR independent theater!!  I follow numerous actors and theater companies that are already embracing Twitter.  They have used Twitter to do things like:

- Post auditions
- Countdown their upcoming show
- Post a link where people can buy tickets
- Link a review on someone's website
- Show production photos

They are reaching their fans, and the public at lightning speed and generating a fan base.

Now let's get to the nitty gritty shall we?  If you decided to embrace Twitter as a marketing tool, then EMBRACE it!!  So many times theater companies hear what I'm saying now about Twitter being a great tool and they'll agree, however not utilize it to the fullest.  They will do all the things I listed above, but why not take it one step further?  Your theater company has a certain mission statement, right?  They have a certain aesthetic, I'm sure.  So really create that persona on Twitter and not only make it informative to follow you, but FUN!

I think the best example of a theater company that is really taking Twitter by the reigns are the New York Neo-Futurists (@nyneofuturists).  Not only do they post all the types of information I listed above, but they go way beyond that.  They will post PSA's which will consist usually of a link to a news article or picture and their own witty commentary on it.  Also, they do TWITTERPLAYS, where they give their followers an assignments and their followers will have only 140 characters to respond.


 @ Nyneofuturists: TWITTERPLAY Assignment: write a 1-tweet play that has an INVISIBLE PERSON or OBJECT. #tp63

and here are some of the results:

Lights up on A sitting opp. empty chair. A: Thank you for meeting w/ me, Mr. Fingledoofer. We’re downsizing the Imaginary Friend Dept.

@ socialarts:
4 actors mingle on stage. An invisible elephant enters and stands among them. Actors become very uncomfortable. End.

@ JennaStern:
What shall we do today, hmm? The library? The Park? A movie? Just stay inside and watch the rain? Sweetie? Sweetheart?

So not only are the Neo-futurists reaching out and informing their audience via Twitter, they are also entertaining and creating something new and creative in a new platform.  I think we can all take a lesson from them.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure if there's a better use out there than what the NY Neo-Futurists are doing, but I love Twitter and it's worth an attempt at the invention!