Tweet Seat Roundup

Love them or hate them, tweet seats don't seem to be going anywhere.

For the uninitiated, tweet seats are a designated section of the audience where traditional  etiquette rules are bent. Use of devices in this special section is not only allowed, but  encouraged. The Providence Performing Arts Center, University Musical Society, and dozens of other organizations have experimented with bringing technology into their venues in recent years.

As this trend has grown, several AMT Lab writers explored the complex issues at play.  In this 2011 article, Tweets and a Show, writer Rachael Wilkinson, gives an overview of the tweet seat phenomenon, documenting some early efforts by the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.

Contributor Deb Sherrer shared her hands on experience running a tweet seat program over the course of several articles. In, To Tweet Seat or Not to Tweet Seat: A Perspective, Deb weighs the big-picture pros and cons of tweet seats, specifically investigating the Providence Performing Arts Center and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's tweet seat programs. Her second post, CMU School of Music Tries Tweet Seats, offers a post-mortem of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music's experiment with tweet seats, recounting highlights, such as the increased sense of community among tweeters, as well as some setbacks. Her follow up article synthesizes both research and experience, offering takeaway tips for newcomers and best practices.

Of course, tweet seats are nothing new - Techinthearts interviewed the SF Playhouse about their program in 2010, these programs continue to intrigue organizations. Allowing devices into venues had drawn the ire of some critics, and certainly risks damaging ambiance, but the opportunities to engage audiences are difficult to dismiss.

Have you attended a tweet seat performance or overseen a program in your organization? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.