Skip to content
March 24, 2011 / GG54

Best Tweet in the House: Social Media and the Concert Hall

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at a concert and the lovely lady in front of you takes the entire slow movement to open a candy. Or, your seat is right behind the Guinness record-holding largest man in the world, whose giraffe-like neck restricts your view to merely the corner of the bass section.

So what do you do? You can grin and bear it. You can bring your problem to an usher. OR, you can send out a tweet.

A few weeks ago, when seated by a man with an overactive-hearing aid, I sent out this (albeit a tad snarky) tweet:


Within just a few minutes, I got a reply from a helpful usher offering to help me change seats.

It raises an important question: what role can social media play in the concert hall?

The most obvious and well-used is concert promotion. In today’s arts world, the hardest task can be simply getting your event known. But remember that Twitter, like any good communication, is a two-way street. I’ve recently unfollowed a number of well-intentioned arts organizations who over-promote their own events without providing any other content or interaction.

People follow your arts organization for more than just an events listing. They follow because they are interested in what you do. This interest is satisfied by posting related links to articles, videos, news stories etc. If this is original content, even better. More interesting the content means more RTs, more followers and, ultimately, more success in your organization.

Calls for interaction give an organization a friendly face. This could be soliciting concert reviews, linking to other local organizations or contests and giveaways. You are in the business of building communities of likeminded people. What better way to do that?

There have been some recent examples of interaction on a larger scale that have been quite successful. First, #AskAcomposer linked Twitterers with composers who answered questions about their craft. There were 150 participants and nearly 1500 tweets worldwide. On the lighter side, #BudgetClassical invited Twitter users to have some fun with renaming popular classics. Highlights included Grieg’s In the Closet of the Mountain King and Adams’ Nixon in Chinatown.

What I’m not suggesting is that we encourage mobile devices to be used during the concert itself. A sea of lit screens is surely as distracting as possible for the musicians and audience. We’ll save the cell phone waving for rock ballads, not slow movements.

Social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay. Arts organizations of the past would be so jealous of the ability for constant contact and immediate response from an audience. Art is a conversation, and that suddenly just got easier.

Here are some arts organizations with great content:

@NaxosUSA: They may be a record label, but have a keen eye for engaging classical news stories and tweet with an incredible personality.

@SymphonyNS: Achieves a great balance between listing events and providing content. Also, deep down, I wish I was a Nova Scotian.

@KingstonSymph: Always has a lot of diverse content about their concerts: PDFs of program notes, blogs and, uh, the podcast I do for them.

@CMCnational: I’ve been pointed in the direction of so much great music thanks to these fine folks. They do a notable job at giving Canadian composers the attention they deserve.

@Kickassical: This is the go-to place to identify classical music in pop culture. Exceptional puns too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: