Tuesday, October 1, 2013

After Dark, October 1, 2013

Tweeting Beyond Events
Sue Edworthy, Centaur and Joel Ivany give us lessons
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I am very lucky with my Facebook friends and with the people I follow on Twitter (and even some who follow me or the CharPo feeds). They constantly teach me things.


Last month I learned that the people who like opera really like opera and go perfectly ballistic when you start to talk about new operas and young, gorgeous divas from the Faroe Islands. We have never seen so much foreign (non-hacker, non-Chinese) traffic as we have seen in the last four weeks for Joel Ivany's article about preparation for Marilyn Forever, a new work he directed in Victoria.  We subsequently saw a huge bump in traffic for an interview with young opera conductor Topher Mokrzewski (who was incredibly generous with me).  And then, came our review for Marilyn.  Everyone wanted to read everything they could find on the new piece (which had a two-performance run) and the lead singer, Eivør Pálsdóttir, who has a fairly huge following in her native Faroe Islands and across Scandinavia. (Normally our traffic sources, in order, are: Canada, the US and the bandits from China; one week it was Canada, the US, the Faroes and Denmark!) Everytime we touch on opera - which is a huge passion of mine - our traffic bumps. 

That's one thing.

a Twitter feed - almost by definition - is a human link to a product

The other thing is that Centaur Theatre's Twitter developed a personality! Every expert will tell you a personable Twitter feed - reflecting a person rather than an organization - will be followed. Sure, you want to hear about the product, but a Twitter feed - almost by definition - is a human link to a product. Centaur, with a series of hilarious teases aimed at actor Kyle Gatehouse, reminded us that this works! In that same week, my Montreal feed also became incredibly active. Now this is a rare thing indeed. Normally, the Montreal feed for CharPo has 25% the number of tweets per followed entity as our Toronto feed. Simply: Montreal companies and people either don't use Twitter on a regular basis (biiiiiiig mistake and the best way to lose followers) or use it only for events, like the launch of Quebec Drama Festival's fall calendar. Bluntly, if you only exist on Twitter for events you really don't exist. Learn from Centaur: get in or get out.

Finally, there's Sue Edworthy, a PR queen in Toronto, who teaches me by just being, but also has the grace to share her knowledge with our readers (her latest piece is another gem).  But Sue also has a blog (which you should all be following) and she posted one miniature piece of information which brings all of what I am sharing here together. Go there now. 

You see those "Results"? Amazing, no?

But it retaught me a crucial lesson Joel, Topher, Centaur et al. taught me as well: pay attention! Social networks work - for starters - and they work better if you know how to use them and they work best and make a real, hard difference if you use them well. Joel uses all the networks and though I have never met him, or the wise Sue, or the talented and generous Topher or the mysterious Centaur Tweeter, I feel I know them all well. 

And I follow, and I listen and their work interests me and even excites me. 

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