According to an article published in USA Today, more theaters and performing groups within the United States are reserving seats for Twitter users to live-tweet about the performance. Theaters and concert halls participating in the new trend include Raleigh’s Carolina Ballet, Connecticut’s Norma Terris Theater, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Dayton Opera and the the Indianapolis Symphony. Twitter users that are attending a performance utilize a hashtag to link tweets together when a user searches for the performance on Twitter. For instance, the production of Hello! My Baby: The Musical encourages the use of the #hmbmusical hashtag when submitting tweets to the service.
The theaters position the seats in the rear of the theater in order to limit the amount of negative feedback from other patrons. The glare from a device like a smartphone or tablet is often distracting when inside a darkened theater, both for audience members as well as the performers on stage. While the majority of productions around the United States expect people to turn off their smartphones during a performance, it’s inevitable that some people will continue to use their phone to text and update social networks.
Orchestras, such as the Indianapolis Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra, are experimenting with delivering pre-concert notes as well as real-time program notes during the performance to enhance the presentation. People that participate with tweeting during the performance see this as a way to interact with others during the show without disturbing other patrons that are watching the concert, play or Broadway-style musical. Representatives of the theaters hope that offering “tweet seats” will bring a different type of patron into the theater to watch a performance, perhaps a younger demographic of customers. People attending the show to tweet about the performance bring both smartphones and tablets to chat over Twitter.