Monday, December 8, 2014

Connecting with Cameras: Social Media and Artistic Performance

In addition to owning and managing my social media business, I also perform with a professional Christmas caroling organization during the holiday season. This year, I have noticed that we are performing more and more for electronic devices than for the people who own them. Since coming across a quartet of Victorian costumed Christmas carolers is such an anachronism for most people, it is understandable that they want to share the experience on social media. But I can't help but wonder if our audiences might enjoy the performance more if they were seeing it real time. In fact, studies have shown that people remember experiences more when they do not record them.

As a performer, I know that I connect better with audiences when I see their faces than when I see the backs of their devices and I want them to fully experience the holiday cheer we bring. On the other hand, I am excited that audiences rush to record their experiences and I try to encourage them to connect with our organization on social media whenever I can. It can be difficult to find opportunities to do so, however, without affecting the Christmas magic that we create. When it works, it is the best-case scenario of social engagement: user-generated content that the company can share, generating very positive engagement and encouraging more content from other fans.

No matter how many viral videos go around admonishing us to put down their phones and experience life, we will always be driven to record our experiences for our own enjoyment and to share with others. Those of us on the other side of the lens just have to put on the best show we can and find ways to access and amplify our audience's memories on our own social media channels.