Your sitting in the Theatre watching a play – just before the interval – the actors stop, come out of character and tell you to get your phones out and to vote using Twitter on the way that the play should end.
This might seem really far fetched but it isn’t at all, already within Live TV performances such as the Xfactor, the shows producers are watching the twitter stream and changing elements within the show as it goes out Live…..
Now that’s Audience Engagement for you.
It may only be small things like Dermot saying “yes, doesn’t she look lovely in that dress” but that is recognising what the audience is talking about and responding to it.
And on shows like Big Brother’s Little Brother they have a part at the end show that discusses the Twitter trends for the contestants, a couple of Social Media Analysts report on what has been popular from the past days events. This analysis goes even further, giving over a section of the show to a social media guru who discusses Twitter trends over the week – good or bad, reputation analysis over time using Twitter stats. Maybe i’ll pick up on this in another post.
But with Twitter, Facebook and blogs driving Ticket Sales who can afford to ignore what the social media is saying or to put it more eloquently what people are saying.
Take Such Tweet Sorrow for example http://www.suchtweetsorrow.com/story/
But how far should this go? Should we get the audience to pick the actors, write the script, choose the ticket prices…… Getting the audience to pick the ticket prices is something that they do already according to our economic model – they vote with their feet. But if we knew what they would be willing to pay before the prices were set then we may end up with a full house every night.
But does the audience want this?
We see already within gaming, the player deciding on the end of the game, normally when their life runs out and they are lying in a pool of blood two minutes in or maybe that is just me. But we decide within certain parameters how the games comes out.
I heard an interesting case today that a play about Heroin addicts that took place many moons ago at the Unity Theatre did not start until the first audience member had got up and left the theatre in disgust. Is that similar to what we see today. The play provoked a reaction and so the audience member responded and then so did the actors.
Jonathan Zittrain in an interesting article in Science discussed the US Geological survey and the way that they gather Big Data sets from twitter, you can imagine your in an earthquake and the first thing someone does is start tweeting. An easier way to look at this is the way that Google has been helping the NHS track Cold and Flu outbreaks across the country from number of times “Cold Remedies” is entered in Google in a specific area.
So we already have Social Media being monitored – so how long is it before a plays ending is changed by the audience? Or has it already happened.