Twitter wall sparks dialogue at Gaillard
Syracuse University Goldring Arts Journalists, in collaboration with The Post and Courier, Gaillard Auditorium and Spoleto Festival USA, erected the festival's first live Twitter wall last week in the second-floor lobby of Gaillard during Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's opening night.
Set up as a real-time video installation, the wall displayed tweets from the feeds of the festival, @spoletousa, and The Post and Courier, @spoletotoday, as well as those using #spoto and #spoleto hashtags as they were sent.
The wall gave Gaillard audience members a sneak peek of the ballet company before it performed, as well as festivalwide breaking news and tips from other venues and performances.
The goal of the Twitter wall is to pique the interest of onlookers and spark increased dialogue, virtual and otherwise, throughout the festival with technology.
"Through Twitter and other social media we're trying to reach a younger demographic, who might not be involved in the Spoleto conversation otherwise," said Thomas Riemschneider, social media guru for The Post and Courier's festival coverage. "We also want to open a new forum for discussion amongst older audience members who may not be familiar with social media, but whose experience and knowledge of Charleston and the festival is vast."
Thus far, attendees have been intrigued. Reactions have ranged from excitement to confusion.
Twitter is a free social media tool founded in 2006. Similar to the idea of text messaging, the online networking service enables users to send and read messages called tweets, text-based posts of up to 140 characters. Tweets are displayed on users' profile pages and delivered to their followers, or subscribers.
All registered users can tweet and follow other's feeds via twitter.com or from a variety of mobile devices. Smart phone users can download apps such as Tweetdeck, Twitterberry or Twitterific to tweet remotely, and regular cellular users can simply text a tweet to 40404. Tweeters also can add visual elements to their posts using Twitpics and Twitvids, real-time images and videos.
"Social media is not just a way to keep in touch with friends and family," Riemschneider said. "Individuals can stay on top of breaking news. Small businesses can promote their brands. The dialogue contains useful info, but the tone is often cheeky and playful. Really, if you're not part of the online discussion these days, you're missing the boat."
For example, during Monday night's orchestral performance, news from that afternoon of Spoleto USA Music Director Emmanuel Villaume's resignation, a fact many at the event were unaware of, was tweeted. The projected feed on the wall of the Gaillard "made a bit of a to-do among attendees," said Goldring Arts Program writer Bonnie Rosenberg, who was monitoring the installation. "It was great to see people not only looking at the Twitter wall, but also reacting to it."
Installations will continue at Gaillard throughout the festival an hour before the following shows: tonight, Lucinda Childs' Dance, 8 p.m.; June 6, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, 7:30 p.m.; June 8, Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, 7:30 p.m.; and June 11, "Giselle," 7 p.m.
Twitter experts will be on hand to answer questions or set up new user accounts.
Sarah Zimmerman is a Goldring Arts Program writer. Reach her at email@example.com.