Social media is continuously being explored by creative industries to encourage audience participation and collaboration. Sites like Twitter and Facebook enable consumers interested in areas such as theatre and art to comment and interact with the content that they see rather than just observing. This provides a huge landscape for creative domains to work with their audiences to reshape the way content is produced.
Performers and artists are drawing upon the engaging nature that social media provides, therefore encouraging more people to interpret content innovatively. In a recent article featured on Mashable it was discussed how a theatre group had reinvented the famous Shakespeare stage play “As You Like It” by creating profiles for the two lead characters on Facebook. The characters told the story of the play through status updates using modern day language, which helped entice audiences to take an interest in a more relevant and up to date adaptation.
Furthermore social networking giant Twitter has also been used by performers to enhance audience engagement. It was previously reported in the Broadway Theatre Guide how performer Jeffrey Cranor decided to experiment with Twitter to obtain interaction from his followers by tweeting assignments for them to attempt. He specified that these assignments were to write plays in a single tweet using two characters and a significant prop. At first, fifteen followers complied and this amount has grown over the past four years to almost 1,000, totalling more than 4,900 one-tweet plays being written. A select few of these plays were chosen and performed live on stage enabling Twitter fans to see their playwright successes come to life.
Additionally social media is a platform for artists and art organisations to promote their work to wider audiences and encourage engagement. A study conducted by the Pew Research Centre reported that nearly 1,300 art orientated businesses confirmed that the Internet and social media have played a major role in transforming today’s art world from finding new artists, to expanding audiences and redefining the meaning of art itself.
Arguably creative industries are using social media to greatly encourage audiences to shape content and change the ways in which performances and art work are received by consumers. Across social networking sites, users are able to comment and put forward their ideas about the type of content they would like to see, meaning public participation is ensuring the work produced by the art and theatre industries is interpreted in new and original ways.