November 16, 2011
@MargaretAtwood, may I call you Mags, now?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
This week I had one of the highpoints of my career. Margaret Atwood retweeted one of my postings on Twitter. I had drawn attention to a terrific article Vanessa Porteous had written for CharPo about an all-female production of Atwood's Penelopiad. Suddenly 276,000 people knew about this terrific article and the web traffic for it exploded and I suddenly had a ton of new followers on Twitter.
Here's the thing. Theatre life is about promotion.
I asked Vanessa to promote her production; no fool she, she turned in a terrific article; I promoted that piece and, by extension, The Penelopiad, Atwood and - of course - CharPo. Atwood, a seasoned pro, promoted us all. No one spent a cent but the word was out.
This is the joy of networking - it works, and works well, when you know the tricks.
Confession: The first time I tweeted Vanessa's article, Atwood did nothing. Ah! well, I thought - she's a busy lady. But two weeks later Atwood herself tweeted that she had, indeed, been busy and away from Twitter. Aha! So I retweeted the article with a funny quote from Vanessa's piece. Voila!
I am a Twitter neophyte, compared to many (Atwood, f'r'insatnce.) But I have learned some things which have served CharPo well.
Why haven't so many theatres? Why don't theatres understand that their Twitter feed must be human, not institutional - must be part of a talk with followers. The one thing I don't want when I follow a company is a retweet that tells me that @housewifeinTO loved their latest production. (So many companies just retweet their fanz' tweets.) I want the the reviews, yes, but also want what COC does - retweet the people IN the shows: their fears, their backstage gossip, their jokes.