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October 2, 2012

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October 2, 2012

Social Media Column: Live-tweeting could be coming to a theatre near you

October 2, 2012
CTV Edmonton
Hope Mission Radiothon
Edmonton Sun Linda Hoang

Published in the October 2, 2012 issue of The Edmonton Sun.

Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.

Live-tweeting could be coming to a theatre near you

For most people, it can be extremely frustrating to watch a movie or a live show and see the glow of someone on their phone.

Nowadays though, it’s becoming increasingly common to see people on their phones — well — everywhere.

Some places, like the Shell Theatre in Fort Saskatchewan, are even welcoming it.

The theatre has been encouraging people to live-tweet at their shows since late 2009.

“When we introduced it, it was a great way for us to meet our audience,” says Elizabeth Budd, social media co-ordinator and supervisor for Shell Theatre. “Our first two times it was really just me having a conversation with myself.”

But over the years it’s grown considerably.

Along with encouraging everyone to tweet during intermission, Shell Theatre has also invited more than 100 dedicated live-tweeters to their shows since 2009. They’ve also been showcasing the Twitter posts on the big screen for more than 50 shows.

Budd invited me be a live-tweeter at the theatre’s first show of their new season last Friday.

I was seated where the glow of my smartphone wouldn’t bother other audience members — and then basically left to tweet as I wished.

The theatre uses a program to pull all tweets used in a specific hashtag and showcase them on a big screen before the show and during intermission — in the theatre and on smaller TV screens in the lobby.

It is so much fun to see your words on a big screen and even better reading what others in the same audience as you are saying. There’s also nothing like being on your phone in that setting and not feeling guilty about it. In fact, I thought talking about the show in real-time enhanced my overall experience. The band performing even tweeted me during intermission.

I checked with Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, Jubilee and Citadel, and none of them are doing show live-tweeting at the moment. The Citadel had experimented with something similar during a show last year, but that was only once. The Winspear would like to begin doing it Ñ but have yet to.

I hope other venues take a page out of Shell Theatre’s book by embracing and incorporating social media during their shows, as it’s proven very successful for Shell.

“We’ve had some great Twitter moments and feedback. We have not yet had a negative comment over the years,” Budd says. “We believe we are building and expanding our community this way.”

I’ve seen the theatre’s success firsthand. I even discovered the theatre through social media.

I believe the practice will be more commonly used at other venues in the future — so maybe the next time you see the glow of someone’s smartphone in a theatre — it won’t be so frustrating. it could even be coming from you!

Some Tweets of the Week

@HollaAndrea: Went on a scenic tour of #yeg today, may or may not have been lost. But discovered some cool places I didn’t even know existed.

@yegnewbie: Have yet to meet the love of my life on the LRT. #yeg you disappoint me little by little every day. :P

@Peterf_94: I pass by Commonwealth Stadium every day for school. It’s a thing of beauty. I could see @CFL_Esks playing there for 100 more years. #yeg

@idaclairexxvi: @CityofEdmonton what a great day spent at the City Archives! The staff are so passionate of our history. #yeg

@DaveSClark: @Just realized it’s now October… sad. I think September is my favourite month in #yeg. No rain, good temps, sunny. Anyone else agree?

Click here to read the column on the Edmonton Sun website!

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