So let's say you're a theater company or producer and you're interested in having more of an online presence.And let me reiterate... you want to do this to reach your audience not to change your audience. I mean, it could gradually be used for to shift your audience demos (provided you are also changing your work), but you have to start with where you are, ya know?
You're not an idiot. Everyone and their mother has a blog. Your grandma just added you as a friend on Facebook. Neil Gaiman's twitter feed is telling you how many times he pet his cat this morning and the excruciating details of what he had for breakfast and yet he has like a bagajillion followers. And yet, you don't really understand twitter and facebook and blogs. Now before you say "Why of course I understand them!" Let me just correct you: You don't. And you want to know how i know you don't? Because you take workshops in how to do them and when confronted with idea of twitter, all you do is make fun of the name of the website.
I've seen you do it, it's okay! It's okay to be a little out of touch! You're who you are! You're busy! But still... how is it that all these other busy people are able to do this? What gives? How do you get yourself some of that internets magic?
Just to be clear... not all of your difficulty is your fault... Some of this is the artist's fault. A lot of artists out there think that their responsibilities end at creating the work and doing it well. After all, creating good work is really fucking hard. Artists, however, are wrong about this. You've encouraged some of that wrong-ness because you don't really want them all up in your grill about marketing images and bullshit better left to the "experts". But still, they're wrong about the division. And plenty of artists want to be more involved and recognize that it's part of their job to help bring the horse to market, as it were.
Anyway.. alls I'm saying is this:
People (in general) don't want to read blog posts from your marketing director, they want to read blog posts from the artists working on the show. Or your artistic director. They also want to read interesting stuff that'll make them feel like an insider.
In order to accomplish this, you might have to lean on your artists a little. But you know what? One of the reasons why novelists all have facebook pages, blogs and twitter feeds now is that their publishers are telling them to. Ditto bands. Every other artform seems to be miles ahead of theatre on this one, it doesn't have to be that way. (And btw: just to be clear and head off some of the comments at the pass... some of this is a generational thing, a lot of younger artists are much much more comfortable with this whole internets thing)
That's just a small tip for you, because really, I have another no-brainer secret coming up here... if you are having trouble setting up your web presence and thinking through the issues and how to make it better... well here's the no-brainer secret:
There are a number of people who have been doing this for awhile in what is known as the theatrosphere. Some of us are good at it. All of us need money. Hire one of us to come in and help you set it up and think it through.
See? That's not too hard, is it? If you want to learn how to do something well, hire an expert to teach you how to do it for awhile. I'm sure Adam or Andy or myself or Jaime or Rob or Gus or Prince or 99 or any number of Quality Bloggers Who Read a Shitload of Blogs and Understand This World would help you, if you feel you need the help. Those are just the first seven names that came to me off the top of my head. There's plenty more! And clearly, you feel you need the help, or you wouldn't bring up twitter at every panel and go to the TCG Conference's Facebook workshop.
One thing to think about before you shoot someone an e-mail tho: Who is your audience? And what do they want from their online experience with your company?
If really all they want is show info, save your well-earned, hard-won Ford Foundation dollars. Because, again, the internet is not a way to trick people into going to see your show, it's a way of telling people who might want to see your show about your show and giving people a more in depth experience of your company.