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Restructured relationships: the theatrics of social media

Relationships are changing, driven largely by social media, for editors and readers, teachers and learners, politicians and the electorate. The “audience” has changed in most sectors. Even traditional disciplines like acting and theatre are impacted. A recent event in Edmonton demonstrates the dimensions of that relationship (power?) shift and the difficulty many people have in coming to grips with the scope of change. Mack Male provides detailed description, but here’s my short version: theatre attendee routinely blogs her opinions and experiences with a local theatre…a prominent actor at that theatre (Jeff Haslam) decides, after five years of reviews, to provide a (very sharp) rebuke to the blogger. With this scene queued, the curtain rises as bloggers/twitters/traditional media try to make sense of hurt feelings and how an actor/actress is to relate to an audience when the audience has a voice and forum for broadcasting their views – a reality not that different from what is happening in higher education. At stake: the role of expertise (does one need to be trained theatre reviewer to express opinions?), civility, and the value of social media in traditional disciplines. This an outstanding study of the growing influence of social media and the need for greater awareness of the power shift it’s creating.

One Comment

  1. Anon wrote:

    Regarding your “At Stake”:

    At stake: the role of expertise (does one need to be trained theatre reviewer to express opinions?)

    I’m unsure why this has to be questioned (and the answer is “no”). Is Mr Haslam going to send cast and crew to all surrounding restaurants and pubs after a show to prevent people discussing what they just spent three hours watching and nineteen dollars on?

    Should we ban amateur theatre? After all they by nature lack expertise.

    That said, the civility of Jeff’s comment and the subsequent post by Mack can be debated.

    The value of social media in traditional disciplines seems loaded. Maybe the ability of traditional disciplines to grasp the changing world?

    Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Permalink