Bring on the Tweet Seats

No, that’s cheap seats. I’m talking about tweet seats. Wait, what?

The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis has begun offering special seats reserved for the social media addict. Likened to smoking lounges of old, the Theater’s External Relations Director Trish Santini told The Verge that the intent was not to cordon off these smartphone users, but rather, encourage deeper interaction with the show.

Other venues, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, New York’s Public Theater, and several Boston venues have launched – or at least toyed with – similar programs.

The idea is to embrace the mobile habits of today’s consumer, rather than discourage them: a move that’s strikingly modern for what some would deem ‘old time’ entertainment (e.g., Opera, the Symphony).

So what does this mean for the rest of entertainment venues?

In my sport marketing class, we talked about a similar situation on many occasions.

Wouldn’t it make sense, wouldn’t it add value if professional teams instituted a section where fantasy players didn’t have to be shy about rooting for a given player because they were on his roster and he was down 3.75 points?

A section like this in sport-specific venues would make even more sense than it does in the theater. Maybe the ticketed fans in that section would have access to wi-fi (or better wi-fi in the cases where stadiums have already implemented). Maybe their interactions with the team on social media would be spotlighted on the jumbotron at given points in the game.

And movie theaters? Another great opportunity, as my new favorite website Good.is points out:

Same premise, broader appeal. I wonder if you could even do a specific smartphone screening from time to time, where everybody in the whole theater knows what they’re getting themselves into. Maybe even project a Twitter feed on the wall next to the movie.

The idea of a social-only screening is so great. Basically a focus group for movie marketers, but on users’ terms.

Many purists might think all of this too much. But look at social tv and the success of platforms like Viggle.

It’s a bit like the outcry when the MLB tried to put ads for Spiderman on the hallowed ground that is the bases. While I’m with you on that one, this just makes sense.

We’ve got to change with the times. Digital and social are the new normal: so why not embrace it in a way that adds value, creates conversation, and encourages engagement?

It just makes sense. I say, bring on the Tweet Seats.

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