Connecting. Commenting. Critiquing. Communicating. Contributing. Conversation. All positive words, needing energy and enagagement. And yet when cultural organisations hear the “C” words in relation to their audiences and their content, it usually invokes a fear of negative criticism. It takes a great deal of porousity and maturity as an orgnanisation to be able to handle that audiences engaging in ‘C” words may well have things to say about us that we don’t like to hear. However, the fact that they are engaging energetically is something that we should be celebrating and encouraging – a community is building around our content – people are pulling it to themselves, rather than just having pushed at them. They are perpetuating their content around their own networks, and will also self-moderate: if someone strongly disagrees with another, a debate will begin! I’ve been talking for a long time how virtual networks enable this as well as aftershow talks or discussion groups.
Now its a reality. A new Facebook Application “Payback Time” rewards unhappy movie-goers for sharing their thoughts on a movie they thought was rubbish. They share their thoughts and wager how much they think they should be compensated. The other users of the app read the review and vote on its integrity, with the crowd agreeing or disagreeing and therefore rewarding the reviewer with virtual money that can be redeemed on – more movie tickets!! Imagine it for theatre: the quality of the amateur reviews goes up as people compete for virtual money; the disgruntled audience member could have their faith restored by others’ points of view, comments, or the chance to get more tickets.