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Posts Tagged ‘MySpace’

Picture 2The 2009 Tony Awards are tonight, and in honor of them I am taking a look at their social media campaigns. Productions are making their presence known on various sites like Twitter and Facebook. It’s the kind of marketing that allows patrons to connect to their favorite shows before or after they see them.

I’m only going to focus on new musicals. It would be great to cover every single show, but neither of us has that kind of time. I mean, the show is in 3 hours.

Let’s start with a strong contender, “Next to Normal.” A lot of hype supporting this musical, and their social media reach is pretty far. It not only has a Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, it has gone the extra mile to feature itself on the theatre social network BroadwaySpace, created by Ken Davenport. Also interesting: Its Twitter account connects to the illusion of the show by having characters tweet about their daily adventures.

Now “Shrek” may be green, but it’s not with envy. (I know, cheesy.) When you land on the homepage of the official Shrek website, there is a message to encourage you to follow the show on Twitter along with a Twitter app displaying their latest tweets. When you continue into the site, you will find all the same links as “Next to Normal” plus a link to Shrekster, a quasi social network developed for the production. There is also a share button, allowing visitors to share the site on their own social profiles.

Shrek seems to have upped the ante against “Next to Normal,” but can it compare to “Rock of Ages.” R.O.A. also has Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and BroadwaySpace down. Fine, but does it have its own social network like Shrek? Yup, and it’s a little more impressive and social. It’s called 80s Rock Fans, and it lets fans connect over their favorite 80s bands.

Lastly I cover the weak contender Billy Elliot. The website only features links to Facebook and Twitter profiles for the show. No MySpace, no BroadwaySpace, and certainly no specially designed site.

And the winner is…

“Rock of Ages.”

I love following their Twitter for 80s themed tweets. The complexity of their handmade social network trumps Shrekster.

“Shrek” is a strong second thanks to large presence on social networks + personal social site. While it’s great to integrate a Twitter app on the landing page to attract followers, the effort has been lacking. Only 400 people follow.

P.S. I’m guessing “Next to Normal” takes the Tony for best new musical.

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Why niche social networks will become more lucrative.

There is a group of people that despise mainstream ventures. People that despise the Miley Cyrus/Jonas Bros. of the moment. People that despise the Hollywood blockbuster (or to theatre folk, those that despise film’s popularity over performance art.) This group instead prides itself in being part of a smaller group.

If you think about it, we’re all part of this group. Our social nature is not to be a part of the largest mass, but of a niche. Most of the time it’s easier to buy the mass produced product, but our social interactions are different.

Out of my friends, I can name a niche for each of them. They’re not iconoclasts — they don’t pride themselves in going against the grain — but each finds themselves part of a very exclusive group that shares their passions (even some you or I would find silly.)

Singer, politico, actor, photographer, they can each interact with others from their niche on social networks. The thing is that there’s a difference between being on a mainstream network and a niche network.

We have social networks like Facebook and MySpace, sites that allow users to accomplish interactions similar to Twitter, Flickr, and even community forums. It’s the mainstream, not the niche. They’re popular because they allow the easiest interactions. The primary use of a social site is to communicate, and no one does it better than these two sites.

Websites like Broadway Space, Flickr, DeviantArt are social network services for specific niches. Less users, but everyone on them has a more common thread. There is passion shared amongst users.

Most social network users will, in addition to their Facebook account, also have an account with one of these niche sites, despite the fact that Facebook can do it, and despite the integration of third party applications.

Everyone can upload photos to Facebook, and photographers can surely share their work with friends. Flickr enables the photographer niche to be a community. Suddenly, when the interactions become about photography Flickr makes it easier to interact with other photographers.

People can start groups on Facebook about Broadway and performance art, but Broadway Space enables them to be a community. So the users find themselves on Broadways Space instead of Facebook.

If you’re looking to create a social network, do not look to compete with Facebook and MySpace. Start a niche site. Yes, by nature you’ll never be as popular as a mainstream site. That’s okay. Your users will be more faithful and more active than Facebook users.

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Well actually maybe. But first let’s jump into the question: What is MySpace Primetime? It’s basically a player that allows MySpace users to customize Hulu’s content for their profile. You can both watch and share your favorite shows (with commercials of course.)

Hulu, for the majority of peeps that still haven’t found this website, is a website that ahem plays all your favorite shows. I like Surf the Channel, but there are questionable practices at that site. And sometimes STC just points you to Hulu…

This app is a great example of integration. Imagine, me and you both loving Family Guy. I’m interested in checking your profile to see what’s up, but then you have Family Guy, Arrested Development, 30 Rock…

Man, your profile is going to distract me from getting posts on this blog…

Check out Primetime now>>

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So much of the entertainment industry is only promotions, promotions, and promotions. The new production of American Buffalo with Cedric the Entertainer and John Leguizamo has been using social networks like MySpace and Facebook to promote the show. [Check out the MySpace for American Buffalo.] I think they still missed the point of user interface promotions. The fans on these social networks can only show their support for the product through comments and friending. This isn’t a true user interface.

Kevin Davenport created BroadwaySpace to unite people over their musical theatre passion. He’s smart in that he can promote ticket discounts and utilize the network to spread press about new shows. But here we get a true user interface.  You see, user interface needs to motivate interaction (duh, right?). Davenport’s social network allows people to share their production videos, discuss new shows, and build connections with others. Lovely.

The American Buffalo page is just there to sell tickets. It’s fine to promote via social networks (and quite brilliant), but you can’t stop short. You must interact with people. For instance, give the MySpace people access to a special part of your website where they can talk about the show. Allow the Facebook people to add a David Mamet game application to their profiles (and let it display scores so they can challenge friends to beat them.) At the very least, the cast members should be vlogging.

Sure, people might beat boredom by watching your YouTube commercial or listening to Radio Ads (both are on the AB MySpace page…), but they only gain something when you interact with them. Never underestimate the power of user interface.

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