Apparently this is already a trend in the US, but it is the first I came across this usage of social media in Europe. The Arena of Verona announced a couple of weeks ago that it would provide discounted seats for people willing to tweet about the live performance they are watching at the Arena. This is an attempt to connect to the younger generations who are always connected and that might not be possible to reach with traditional media. The Arena wants to achieve two objectives with this: one is to reach out to the younger audiences but also to leverage on the viral effect we can get through social communities.The seats are well located in front of the stage so that the phone emitted light is not disturbing the actors and the tickets are attractively priced at 10 Euros. I hope there is no age limit, since I will certainly try to get one of these tickets during my next stay in Italy.
I guess the ultimate objective with this initiative is that we get these wow feelings and emotions reaching to friends and families so that they also want to see the performance. More common is the usage of twitter in live TV shows, where it is mostly used to provide instant feedback and interact with show hosts, but then again that is from your living room. Interesting is that social media marketing is happening in Opera and theater environments where normally a “turn off phones” rule is the norm. Is this just an experiment or is this phenomenon here to stay?
Most of the younger generations have probably never stepped into a theater or an opera, and getting these generations to make that move requires a bit of rethinking. Introducing twitter seats is maybe just what the performing art needs to reconnect with digital natives.