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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Taking Intrinsic Impact to the Next Level

This morning, in You've Cott Mail (which if you aren't subscribed to, you should be!), Thomas Cott highlighted an article from the Guardian UK about some work being done there on measuring the emotional response of audiences to theatre. What was so interesting about the article is that it mirrors some major research we’re about to launch here at Theatre Bay Area and in six cities across the US.

The article is a summary of a new effort in the UK to measure the emotional response of audiences to art. Working with WolfBrown, the research firm that piloted a lot of this intrinsic impact research (as it’s called), we’ll be building a similar survey and doing follow-up research with 25 theatre companies in six cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York, and Charleston). Throughout the 2010/2011 season, we, with arts service organization partners in each city (LA Stage Alliance, Theatre Puget Sound, ART/New York, League of Chicago Theatres, League of Charleston Theatres), will be working with the theatre companies to set intrinsic impact goals for three productions in a season, measure the effect of each of those productions using the survey, and then generate a final report for each company and work through, with the artistic, administrative and marketing staff, the implications of the research and how it matches (or doesn’t match) the company's hoped-for goals.

In addition, as part of this work, we’ll be developing a web-based interface that we hope will eventually allow any theatre across the country access to an affordable, fee-for-service program in intrinsic impact. Companies will be able to produce the survey themselves, learn how to set goals for the various axes of intrinsic impact, and then log the results themselves and see how they stack up. They’ll be able to develop a portfolio of their impact on their audiences, with a lot of possible implications as more companies participate. Over time, by making this an affordable service [which it currently decidedly is not – this research project, with projected generous funding from three national foundations and assorted local foundations (more news on that once the contracts are signed), will have a total budget upwards of $400,000], we hope to provide companies with a new way of measuring the effectiveness of their work on audiences. In addition, we hope these measurements eventually will become an alternative way of demonstrating worth to funders, audiences and trustees.

Our work will begin over the summer as staff from Theatre Bay Area and WolfBrown begin traveling to the partner cities, identifying theatre companies with the partner ASOs, and beginning the induction process. We’re incredibly excited about this new work – especially now that we see that there’s a parallel effort going on in the UK. We expect to be able to report out on this, at least preliminary results, in time for our Annual Conference next spring, and plan on doing final reporting on the project at TCG and NAMP in 2011.

P.S. As some of you know, we did a pilot of this project a few years ago around Free Night. The results of that pilot are available here. It’s the report called "Assessing the Intrinsic Impact of the Bay Area Free Night of Theater Program."

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Thank you for joining us for this exciting discussion. If you would like to join the conversation, please do so at the Wiki:

If you have questions about this event, please email

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Thoughts from the group on Twitter: Usually when you follow someone, they follow you back. If you start on being engaging and getting to know your people, they will tell other people to follow you. Promote to audiences that you can be followed on Twitter. Target your messages.

Listening for Organizations: Monitor, Compile, Distribute, Reflect

What is being said that positive? Negative? Neutral? How does what they say change?

Find the tools that work for your company best that can help you find out what people are saying. Free tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, or Twitter (or any RSS reader). For pay tools like Radian6 will save time, but costs money. If you are still in the walk/crawl stage then don't use the pay tools, start with the free ones.

Six Steps for Listening:
1. Get your organization ready
2. Use your RSS reader like a rock star (Make it a daily habit)
3. Brainstorming Key words
4. Set up a listening Dashboard
5. Make listening and engaging an ongoing process
6. Build time for reflection

If you find people talking about you, figure out if it's a problem or not a problem. If it's not a problem, find ways to engage those people. If it's a problem, figure out if it's a big problem or a little problem and act swiftly. If you are not present for the conversation, the conversation is happening without you...and this will effect your organization in the physical world. Add value to the conversation, don't be afraid to disagree, keep to the point of the topic, point to the relevant sources if you have more information, watch the conversion develop, humor works, and avoid big brother.

Unbelievably, and yet believably, the Air Force has an incredible blog assessment strategy. Here is one of the versions:

So, interested in the listening experiment:

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

More on using Twitter:

When you get started ask:
What is your twitter brand? (Do you speak as an institution? Do you speak as a member of an institution? CEO or Artistic Director Brand? The hybrid of these?)

Do basic listening first:
Look at the twitter home page and see what people are saying. Follow people.
Use lists to manage followers. (CJM example: personal lists, privet lists, collaborators, board, regular participants...etc)
Search on different key words (your organizations name, your genra, your city)
Search by hashtag

Ways to engage on twitter:
Be informative, not a sales person
Use hashtags and keywords
Shara and Shoutout (AKA retweet)
Thank people
Use Twitter tools

The Retweet is important. The art of the retweet!

There is an app store for Twitter:

Other possible ways to interface with Twitter is Co-Tweet and Tweet Deck. Know what kind of information you need and how best to get it. Experiment with different tools and then research and get results. One such research tool is Another is

You know, there are so many more ways to use Twitter then I ever thought. And so many tools developed to analyze the people and what they are saying.

Now we're taking a few minutes to try and do ourselves. Here's the link to the Twitter Experiment:

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Back from lunch. One of the great things about this workshop is how much, and how often, participants are given the chance and encouraged to talk with each other. This workshop isn't a lecture, it is interactive in the pure sense of the word.

Experiments to do after you leave:

Twitter, how to use it effectively for the arts.

What is Twitter? Social Media for people to talk in 140 or less characters.
Why Twitter? Information/Insight, Marketing, Data Mining, Social Circles, Connections

Examples: Use it for getting contacts for programing participants. Urgent promotions (like ticketing deals.) Twitter feeds operates as a news feed (a source of content) on the website.

Who uses Twitter? The average user tweets once in 72 days. Most people have 25 or fewer followers.

How do people Tweet? Desk top or mobile phones. Amazing growth in people using it through smart phones.

How to use it?
1. As a focus group. (Example is the Smithsonian and what people say about it...very funny!)
2. Live notes during an event
3. Customer service.
4. Starting conversations about the development of new work. (#2amt)
5. Tweetups!
6. Spreading buzz. (Example is the Monterey Bay sending out a message and following it to all the people who have sent it out...and encouraging media to send out again and again.)

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

You can’t do a project like this, create a real plan, in 60 minutes.This is just a flavor.

So, let’s do a three minute summary of your high level strategy:

1: Jewish community center: focus on an organization that has almost no social media at this moment. Want to meet people in 20-30s. Where are those people on line? What are they using? We when through listing, engaging, watching, sharing? What tools are they using to access social media? Is this something the organization could benefit from? Decided: Using survey monkey to survey those people about what social media they were engaged in. And engaging with people who where already engaged and using that as content. Partnering with people who already had social media set ups. Then using free alcohol and food to get them to the space.

What was brilliant – Alcohol.

Beth Kanter asks: How are you going to get the time to do all this?

Volunteers? Partnering and asking those companies who already do the work to network them. User driven content. (Beth Kanter: Yes. Simplify. How can others do the heavy lifting? And as far as fan or user content…think of them as micro volunteers. Give them tasks that are one time and take less than two mintues.)

2: Contemporary Dance: Listen and find. Our target is really busy and word of mouth is really important to them. Momapedia. Tap into heavy mom blogs and twitter feeds. Tweet ups or meet ups.Focusing on the family and events that would encourage influancers to engage. Use yelp for our organization.

Beth Kanter asks: How to others use yelp: Listen to reviewers.Direct facebook fans to yelp. Using yelp announcements. Yelp elite group was invited to events. Make sure you actually own the Yelp page and control the content so you can post events. Yelp can sponsor. Encourage network to yelp in a positive way.

What about you? Do you know effective ways to utilize Yelp?

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

We're back! And we're doing an exercise with colorful hats!

First, we're creating a physical specta gram: how comfortable are you with social media tools?

Interestingly enough, in this group most people fall right in the middle. Those who say they are very comfortable with social media started using it in college or younger or to communicate in their every day lives. Those who are very uncomfortable feel it dumbs down the conversations, is a time waster or a passing fad. Most of this group fell in the middle and are attracted to social media because of what it can offer their organisation and communities.

We've now broken up into new groups with group leaders (the hats!) It's the social media game! Developed with David Wilcox, this game helps people develop social media strategies. Totally available on the wiki!

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

So the question is, after you have learned if you want to start crawling, walking, running or flying; who in your organization is going to actually be on the computer socializing for your organization?

The intern? Fan? Volunteer? A part time person? A full time person doing it part time? A full time person?

It's all about time management and project management. What does your organization need, what does your audience need, and how much time can you actually invest?

For many organizations here the questions are:
How can we control our content (as artists) if we are giving pieces of it away?
What if Facebook or Twitter is fleeting? How do we know what to invest our time in?
For small organizations, how can we justify spending any time on these social media things?

Before starting, know your social media policy. Need help finding one?

For now, create a safe place to fail. Identify worst case sceneries, develop contingency plans, and prepare for failing. When starting your social media plan, you can't expect when launching that it will succeed immediately. Don't be afraid to give something a joyful funeral when it doesn't work.

And now we're on a break. Everyone is asked as they leave: What was the most valuable idea or concept that you may apply to your social media strategy?

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Build relationships with influencers on social media spaces. This is sort of like prospect research, but on a smaller scale. Journalists, for example, who are no longer at news papers are on Twitter, have their own blogs, and have followers on Facebook.

There are also bloggers, who are not part of the formal press structure, but are successful and can be treated as press.

You can use Social Media assessment tools to see who those influencers are and cultivate them.

Want to investigate your twitter followers for cultivation? Use
Crawling is having your branded content. Walking and running is engaging, spreading, and remixing the messages. This includes user created content. Flying is Co-Creating Social Content, exchanging Branded content and creating an ever moving exchange of information and discussion that creates real world experiences. But so few non-profit organizations do fly. Few organizations even like or trust their websites.

Do you like your website? Does your website engage with your audience?

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

The next big thing, used successfully by The Brooklyn Museum, is foursquare

What they did was more like an experiment using game techniques to engage people in their community.

The American Red Cross used Twitter to follow what people were saying about the "Swine Flu" to counter bad information that might be being spread. This is an example of an organization listening to the community and responding in the moment to what they are saying. This is a two way conversation, versus saying "Hi, buy a museum membership."

Organizations need to think in conversation starters. What is the community saying that is relevant/engages? How can you rework your message as a conversation starter? Follow up and give content.

The voice in communication can be either personal or organization, depending on the organizational needs and goals.

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Already we are talking about several levels of social media, just as a way for this work shop to communicate with each other now, next month and in the future. This includes a wiki: and a Twitter hash tag: #artslabsf. These devices will help you follow along as well.

This is not just a one day workshop. This is an ongoing conversation/workshop that will take place physically twice. Today and in June.

Beth is leading the room in ice breakers. What is your is your favorite artist and what genra? What is your organization and how are you using Social media? What is your burning question about Social Media? What do you already know about Social media?

Concerns from these questions:
My daughter wont go on Facebook, because she feels the older generation has taken it over.
My organization is already stretched.
What if our main audience doesn't use Facebook or Twitter?
How does all my content on Facebook talk to my website?
How do we relate this to our marketing plan?
How do we convince our media director this isn't a fad?
Who is really using Twitter and Facebook?

Strategy Blocks
Your social media strategy supports your media plan, communication, education, and change.
Listening to what people are actually saying
Engaging with people beyond the sell.
Social Content, videos, discussions, photos
Generate Buzz, give people something to talk about.
Movement Building with Multi channels, not just single delivery systems.

But, don't try and fly before you can walk. What can you actually do? What can your organization commit to? You don't have to do all channels at once. Do what is appropriate given your bandwidth and your audience.

Live Blog! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Hey, we don't want to forget that the biggest supporter of this event is the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Please come and check out their beautiful, exciting, and engaging exhibits.

As Brad is saying right now, it is "A center for the larger arts community in the bay area" and has supported Theatre Bay Area events in the past, particularly the APASO (American Performing Arts Service Organisations.)

Brad: I am excited to find out what happens over the next couple of months and "Using the arts to create community and using social media to encourage community among the arts and bring the community at large to the arts."

Beth Kanter: CEO of Zoetica. Her book: "The Networked Nonprofit" will come out in June and is available to pre-order on Amazon right now.

Her passion is teaching and learning social media, and was brought to Cambodia to teach organizations there about social media. Using the power of the word of mouth (via twitter) garnered donations of money to get her to Cambodia. They had asked that she bring "swag" from the USA, meaning T-Shirts. She twittered that she wanted "swag" T-Shirts, and low and behold, they just started showing up at her door. The power of twitter. She disribes this as her 'Ah-ha!' moment.

Live Blog Event! Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter

Today we are excited to bring you a live blog from the Contemporary Jewish Museum where Theatre Bay Area, with generous grants from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Wallace Foundation via Grants for the Arts/SF Hotel Tax Fund and the San Francisco Foundation and The Koret Foundation, Leveraging Social Media with Beth Kanter. A Social Media Lab created by Beth Kanter for the purpose of teaching good practices and uses of social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs) to support non-profit goals. Of course, you can read all about her and her work on her blog

We'll be bringing you highlights and updates from the session here until 2pm.

We'll also be updating on Facebook. If you are a Theatre Bay Area friend, feel free to instant message if you have questions.