As my colleagues have given you a marketing perspective, a research perspective and an organisational perspective, I’ve gone for the digital perspective. In the spirit of web 2.0 and Charles Leadbeater’s The Art of With (next event 25 November at Cornerhouse) for me this is all about the opportunities to collaborate and connect with each other, with audiences and with artists.
So, first of all on the ‘with each other’ – yes, I was one of those annoying twitterers (purely a personal experiment of course – my theory being if you’ve not experienced it how do you know what impact it might have). Armed with my trusty iphone I was multi-tasking – listening, tweeting and reading. My findings – I was not so interested in where people are as what they thought. My conclusions – I made some connections with interesting people at the conference who I would not have necessarily met in person and useful references were sourced by active tweeters, but I was hoping for a bit more comment. Anyway – have a look at one of the various tags #ama2009, #amaconf2009 or #amaconference09 or see what I had to say at #audienceslondon. I think there are big implications for the future of conferencing too, which we at AL will have to take note of – we live in a world of immediacy… look out for the new ‘digitally interactive dialogue space’. And is anyone using the AMA wiki set up by #MarcusRomer (follow his Twitter too)? One request by twitter was to share social media case-studies… so should we do this using social media?
Tackling digital from an organisational point of view seems to present a number of challenges, some of which is discussed in the Silos to Shrek Ears research report which inspired Dave Moutrey to take Cornerhouse on the journey he described in the keynote. We are charged as marketers and organisations to manage complexity, as discussed in Graham Leicester’s inspiring work at the International Futures Forum. So, how do we live comfortably with all the new opportunities – maybe it’s something about using evidence and information. Who has used the YouTube Metrics as Ed of YouTube suggested? Or entered into the discussions on the impacts of social media as suggested by Marcus Romer (everyone’s new guru… or is he a geek?). For Cornerhouse this is working out how to work an ‘Adhocracy’ style organisation. However, the top tip is: if you can change the way you work internally effectively, your audiences will probably go with you… wherever you want to take them.
Now to the audiences bit – as you may know, my continual quest is for some more concrete information about which audiences engage digitally and if they do, how (or does ) it enhances their artistic experience… As Diane Ragsdale said it is not enough to facebook them, it’s all the other stuff and how relevant you are to someone that influences them to engage. Andy Ryans reiterated this, in terms of encouraging us to remember the other tools, such as just talking to people face to face. We perhaps need to be clearer for ourselves about how we use the wonderful Web 2.0, and remember according to the 90-9-1 principle of social networking maybe only a small proportion of audiences are up for full online dialogue. So, how can we best serve the 90%? Maybe we can take some lessons from the Slow Food Campaign – combine enjoyment and responsibility on all sides. Hans de Kretser’s guide to social media should be good reading (wait for the conference report) – number 1 is ‘have a strategy’. You can already find Marcus Romer’s session about using digital media here? In terms of generating content to engage audiences – do we take Dan from Innocent’s advice of ‘keeping it mildly interesting’ – perhaps we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves to come up with super-duper content, when people actually want to know how many costume changes are involved or by what route a painting arrived from New York…
There were obviously some bits about artistic content online, with the much lauded YouTube orchestra (in collaboration with LSO) and many examples from Watershed of what they’ve let artists do. But the heart of the matter seems to be about giving up control and allowing amateur/user generated content to work alongside the professional artists’ work. Most people do know how to edit and filter to find the good stuff. And on the other hand our brands are usually strong enough as arts organisations to survive re-shaping by our users or audiences. Finally, we should not fear failure, allow ourselves to experiment and as Ed of YouTube said just ‘read up, team up and mix up’.
And as Martin Reynolds of Festivals Edinburgh said “collaboration breeds collaboration”.