The EvilImp™ 'New Art Annoying (Updated)'

Social Media, depending on your point of view, is either marketing heaven, free and easy to use, or a hellish wasteland of crap that is free and easy to annoy the hell out of people with.

If companies play the game properly you can get some useful tidbits of information, perhaps even engage in a little back and forth with them. Social media is supposed to be a conversation after all.

Case in point, New Art Club, the comedic dance duo of Pete Shenton and Tom Roden. Following New Art Club via Facebook and Twitter has proven to be an exercise in the latter.

Why's that you may ask? Well somebody, somewhere decided it would be a good idea to put out their entire tour schedule via individual messages on their Facebook page.

So what you get are twelve messages in the space of about an hour. Not short messages either. You get the full press blurb, date and the venue, all months away so of very little practical use.

New Art Club It is 1983 - Madonna releases her first album, Boy George is top of the UK singles chart with 'Karma Chameleon' and 13 year old future contemporary dance star Tom Roden illegally tapes the first 'Now What I Call Music' LP onto a C60 cassette.

Fast forward 27 years - Madonna is a divorcee on a mission to adopt Africa, Boy George is a man with conviction after all and Tom has teamed up with Pete Shenton to form New Art Club. Finding the cassette one day, the two of them listen to it and a brand new show is born........ etc

The resulting mess in the news stream, especially on Facebook, makes the company look bad in more ways than one.

To add insult to injury for their followers you also get the same information on Twitter, since they have linked them together, so what goes out on Facebook also ends up on the micro messaging site.

We point this out to illustrate two things. Try very hard not to spam the people who are actually interested in what you do (a couple of messages a day at most) and don't link your Facebook page to your Twitter account.

It might also be a good idea to actually engage with your followers and not use either platform as a broadcasting station.

Update: in the short time it took us to write this, New Art Club have deleted all of the annoying Facebook updates along with a few complaints from their followers.

Update II Thursday 29 July: And now we have Motionhouse Dance Theatre doing exactly the same thing. Come on folks, check the image below to see what a lot of people will do if you flood their Facebook or Twitter streams with too much information.

  • Kema

    @David Bennett.
    Hi mate,
    I understand there a lots of things for organisations to do, but this is 2010 not 1993. Everyone has internet, a mobile phone,an email address, and is on mailing lists and has some kind of social networking link.
    I don't consider it extra work, I consider it just a normal part of marketing and communicating with your client base. The excuse of "I'm a dancer I don't know about computers!" doesn't wash anymore.
    When I was at the NSCD in the early 90's there were no computers or email for us to use, you got your audition information from the London Time Out magazine that one of us bought from WHSmith. God help you if you needed to get hold of them when you arrived in London not everyone had a mobile phone.
    If I had had access to all these "free" marketing tools when I was a freelancer it would have been fantastic. We had to "post" CV's and headshots whereas nowadays you just email and it's received, you can video a sample of you dancing on your mobile phone and upload it.
    We have facebook, twitter, vimeo as opposed to youtube, you can create groups on yahoo groups, there is free software to make mailing lists for your website, free blogging websites.
    Basically people need to skill up or pay someone to do it.
    Kema Manchester

  • Yep, @kema, agree with all that but the examples you quote are all about ease of communication (mobile phones, email etc)
    My point was the efficient use of Social Media and all those web 2.0 tools - there's plenty of it around but who in the Arts is doing it well? (apart from Evil Imp of course!)
    Article19 is right 'for the most part though it all lacks a personal engaging touch.'

  • Do you have any examples of those doing it really well?
    I totally agree that it is easy to contract social media diarrhoea(?) but people have to remember who it is they're talking to, ie their fans, and what it is they want to say, usu inside info or early heads up on stuff coming up. Other 'traditional' PR & marketing still happens - it's not either/or but additional and targeted.
    Sounds more work for already hard pressed folks but a little more thought and planning should bring home the bacon! (or the veggie sausage for the non-carnivore)

  • companies like Candoco, Siobhan Davies, Etal use social media in moderation and not always for selling shows. Motionhouse are usually nimble with their usage but somebody decided to go crazy.

    The mother of all crimes is the Facebook>Twitter connection. for the most part though it all lacks a personal engaging touch.

  • simonboothlucking

    You are spot on of course Evil Imp. No one likes the person at the party who just talks at you like an automated call centre with a personality bypass. And if a few people get called on it perhaps it will serve as a wake up call to everyone else.

    I wouldn't be too hard on all arts organisations though. They're on a steep learning curve with the weight of a million other things to do on their back. What they need to see is the people who are doing it really well.

    At it's best social media is neither of the things you suggest in your opening. It is instead a way for us to listen and speak in a less corporate and more human way, whether we're people, organisations or Evil Imps.

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