19 July 2010


Marcus Newbury has written an interesting article in The Age about the debate over the use of Twitter (a social media platform) during live performances. Excerpt

WHAT is the etiquette for tweeting at the theatre, a concert or any other live performance? Should you do it at all? Or never? Should it be encouraged - even rewarded - or frowned upon? It may not have been the biggest arts story going around in the general community last week but, as you might expect, the concept of tweeting from the "tweetseats" has certainly been big on Twitter.

Twitter, the 140-character messaging system, is being embraced by many of Australia's major arts companies, from Opera Australia to the Sydney Opera House to most major arts festivals.

Some have begun to encourage "tweeting" before, at interval and in some rare cases even during some of their shows. Some theatres are experimenting with reserved zones or sections where punters are encouraged to tweet live during the performances.

Depending on who you ask, it's radical democratisation unleashing raw enthusiasm, genuine criticism and passion or the barbarians at the gate.

For many traditionalists, the concept is outrageous. The idea that such behaviour could pollute the hallowed halls of our cultural institutions is poisonously problematic. The notion of having less than 100 per cent of your audience's attention is rude, offensive and disrespectful. The experience of a show is under threat from the glare of iPhone screens and tapping fingers.

Read more.

Most venues ask patrons to switch off their mobile (cell) phones. Surely, this would prevent any use of applications from telephone devices.

While some patrons would find it annoying, it is probably in the interests of performance companies to allow tweeting as a means of obtaining immediate feedback. Positive reviews would be like word of mouth recommendations.

In any case, it would be fun to tweet during Wagner, "the fat lady sings".

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