Keeping up with the times: Photos vs. Video

Instagram vs Vine

Just when we thought photos was the new rage in social media, video steps into the mix. I’m not talking about the typical YouTube video providing “how to’s”, news clips, music, or hilarious propaganda, I’m talking about the 30 to 15-second video applications now available through Instagram and Vine.  I’m a huge photo sharer on Instagram, especially when I’m attending a cultural event; I love sending photos to my followers from my seat before a performance begins. Video, however, is becoming more and more prominent in our everyday social media lives. What does this mean for the arts? Photos and videos provide an instant reaction and curiosity. Photos capture moments in time. They provide our followers a glimpse of what is happening right now for us in our lives. For an arts organization, this can be a red carpet event, a look from backstage, or a photo shoot; all of these activities capitalizes on the peak interest of an event.  Video evokes a little bit more of a longing feeling; it’s not just an image, but an actual moment that makes the viewer want to step foot right into the video. Think about it: Going to a cultural event is still looked at as a luxury item. Of course people are going to want to share to the public where he or she is, and watching. The bands I follow on Instagram post videos of their fans screaming and rocking out to their music. Can you think of a better way to get a rush of appreciation? And, while you can’t always snap shots during cultural events,  you can always encourage audiences to share their own excitement and responses in a location designed for video capture. For example, organizations can set up a portion of the lobby with a backdrop or set piece similar to the show and available for audience interaction.

As culture events in HD become more common (for example when the MET introduced live performance in movie theatres across the U.S.),  shorter video of a live opera production might provoke a non-opera-goer to actually want to experience a live or recorded event. A photo from the lobby with the incredible chandeliers is one thing, but a video captures the moment even more. Arts organizations should open to new frameworks: first, the fact that the new wave of appreciators like to share their experiences in their facilities, and, second, that they can encourage their patrons to  share through mobile devices.

I’m still figuring out what my first video post will be, I encourage arts organizations to look into social media initiatives utilizing photos and video. It might spark a lot of attention.

Brooke Feldman is a social media specialist for interior design and arts organizations. She comes from a background in stage management including such shows as Barber of Seville, A New Brain, Die Fledermaus, Carousel, The Flying Dutchman and Don Giovanni. She recently completed a master's in arts administration from Indiana University's School of Environmental and Public Affairs.With a passion for the arts, Brooke focuses on understanding how to attract an audience through new interactive ways.