Sunday, April 12, 2009

To Tweat or Not to Tweat

Twitter is the newest communications tool in the Arena Stage arsenal, and the more we use it, the more I am convinced it should be treated in the same manner as a blog, or perhaps a little more delicately. At its core, Twitter was created to send micro-blog messages to followers on a regular basis throughout the day, explaining what you are up to and your thoughts on current surroundings. Those who are avid users send several tweats per day, and the tweats of those that you follow aggregate on your homepage, or they are sent directly to a mobile device. Many organizations have created Twitter accounts but few have figured out how to successfully use this communications tool.

As a web 2.o application, the central idea behind Twitter is interaction, so it amazes me how many organizations use Twitter to simply push information, such as reviews, headlines and marketing promos. Remember, as I like to say, no one is interested in what a marketing director has to say. So keep it interesting, and try to make it as interactive as possible.

An alternate way of using Twitter could be having a senior member of your artistic staff set up a Twitter account, and have them twitter on their activities. Therefore, you won't have to worry about having a boring organizational voice, and the application can be used for what it was invented for -- to report on the activities of a single person. David Dower, Arena Stage's Associate Artistic Director, recently set up a Twitter account of his own where he twitters about his travels and his work on our productions. It has been embedded in the Arena Stage blog, and at any given moment, a patron can see what he is up to. Since he leads the artistic development team, his days are pretty interesting...much more so than mine. Really, who wants to know we just bought another ad in the newspaper?