Talking theatre? Try Twitter.

April 2011: Twitter … the little time-waster that proved them all wrong!

May 2010: An update for theatre lovers.  Check out and join in using the #2amt hashtag for some great theatre chat. The hashtag serves to focus the threads of conversation which then get further treatment on the 2amt website.   This post is from January 2009, but nothing much has changed really!

My social network
Image by luc legay via Flickr

I feel as though I have been embedded in my social media for the past month. The chat has been relentless but fascinating, and it’s coming via several channels, the principal one of which is Twitter.

The Twitter phenomenon continues to astonish with its ubiquity; just Google ‘Twitter’ and stand back.  I’ve had a Twitter account since mid-2007 but it’s taken off in an extraordinary way in the past 3-6 months. This means the number of potential contacts has exploded. Now this is a good, and a bad thing. My original dismissal of Twitter as a good-for-not-very-much-time-waster hasn’t been proved to be entirely wrong; yes it can soak up time and attention, but I have to say that the sheer size of potential contacts makes it wonderfully useful and really … well … sociable. It’s ‘on’ 24/7 as well, so if you can’t sleep and want to talk about something to someone, there’s always a kindred spirit ‘out there.’

Twitter’s greatest strength is also its biggest annoyance. I’ve been followed by a lot of Twitter users, but sadly many are on the bandwagon for the sake of it. Some are just stupid spammers flogging a product … and aren’t they easy to spot! PS Unless we have something in common I don’t automatically follow my followers as some do.  I know mine, and mine know me – eventually – at least that’s the way I like my social networks to operate. You can stop someone who wants to be a follower by blocking, but I tend not to do that unless they’re one of the aforesaid spammers or bots. The thing is, I know not all do, but I want meaningful (two-way) contact with the stream – and it makes sense if we have a couple of things in common, right? Follow me, then make contact, and we’re off.

Anyhow, where is this going? Fact is there are a lot of theatre folk, a diversity of digital groundlings from all over the world on Twitter, and they’re getting in on the chatter – the word of mouth stuff that we’re so fond of. I nearly said ‘gossip’ there for a sec!  In fact, right now in a digital stream near you there is probably some great gossip conversation happening: questions, quick reviews, references to terrific blog posts, videos, plus thoughtful discussion on more serious matters – acting, writing, professional development,  and wider ranging, web-related topics which include the birthing of online criticism, digital marketing and economics. If you love to talk about the theatre … of course you do … and you’re not on Twitter, then I suggest you hustle on over and join up.

The first thing you do after joining is to follow me (@Dramagirl) and something called @hashtags. Contact me and say hello, and I’ll follow you back.  It’s a good idea if your profile indicates your interests by the way; you set this up when you join. Get a picture up as well.  From then on, tag your theatre-related messages (tweets) with #theatre (that’s the Twitter hashtag group where any tweet tagged #theatre can be found).  Then you just wait for the inbound theatrical traffic to sniff you out,  or for you to sniff out some likely ‘adds’ from the stream as it rushes by. And of course you are not limited to talking about theatre once you’re on Twitter. It’s open season for chat.

Feel like joining the chatstream? The global bar is open groundlings!

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6 thoughts on “Talking theatre? Try Twitter.”

  1. Oh, boy how quickly it turns…. this whole phishing thing has pushed me out of the Twitter party. By not being careful, it looks like I’ve been blocked by those followers who’s conversations I’m enjoying the most! And I don’t blame them. The internet is not a safe place. Sigh.

  2. I totally agree. While an initial Twitter skeptic, I am now a convert. Perhaps naive, but I find Twitter to be a warm, social, interesting place. I think it helps not to follow everyone – I like those who tweet with a mix of personal and theatre. It’s interesting how Twitter just doesn’t work as a ‘sell to’ marketing tool. It’s a ‘talk with’ tool.

  3. @Katherine LW
    Thanks for stopping by here and leaving a comment. I think we need to remember we’re a little bit out in front of the tech pack. Others will catch on, but it doesn’t hurt to gently nudge from time to time.
    As Simon notes, the Theatre Group on Twitter is a great ‘pool’ of theatre tweeps just waiting to be followed. We don’t use that site to do any posting or sharing there … only so many sites you can contribute to … but see it as a resource for potential contacts. This is what I did.

  4. Great post, Kate. I find there’s a strange reluctance from many theatre practitioners to get involved in twitter. I guess it’s partly to do with the time wasting idea you mention and also a bit of old fashioned technophobia.
    But more and more of those same people are now on facebook and I think it will just be a matter to time before they extend themselves to twitter and whatever other networking sites spring up.
    I’m heading off to some of the sites you mentioned right now …

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