I work for SITI Company (an ensemble theater company led by Anne Bogart) and with the help of Erika Block we are developing a project that uses social media to build, connect and strengthen our international community of students and audiences through the creation of SEE (SITI’s Extended Ensemble). Rooted in SITI's commitment to international collaboration and the fostering of young artists, SEE uses social media to connect a community of artists and audiences, using an ensemble theater context to bridge virtual and “real” worlds by developing an online tool that fosters collaboration. Erika describes it as, "exploring ways to turn online connections into face-to-face connections - a networking meeting, getting out the vote, getting audiences into theaters. And to turn face-to-face connections into online communities. Deepening the impact of a performance or a workshop by creating a space for dialogue, shared tips, questions and, ultimately, repeat attendance. This is the potential of these tools - a seamless loop of participation."
She also points out "The Howard Dean campaign and MoveOn are early examples. MySpace is tremendously effective for promoting music and spoken word concerts (and, increasingly, other events). Last year’s Los Angeles immigration protests by young people were organized online. Just the other day, Andrew Taylor wrote about Charles Leadbetter's new book We-Think, which suggests that our traditional view of how innovations enter the market -- special people in special places creating things that are pushed down the pipeline to passive and waiting consumers -- is no longer true, if it ever was. Rather, the traditional, corporate approach to creativity and innovation is decreasingly able to develop radical innovation, and spends much of its time stifling the innovation of talented and networked amateurs [and professionals, I'd add]."
One of the things that's most interesting about SEE is its potential to become a model for the performing arts field, encouraging peer-to-peer collaboration and invention.
SITI has submitted the proposal for support from the NetSquared community (division of Tech Soup), which was developed to spur responsible adoption of social web tools by social benefit organizations. 20 projects will be chosen for support through a membership voting process, and anyone with an interest in this work can join NetSquared, for free. (Apart from the opportunity to vote, you can participate in a great conversation and draw on a growing resource base.)