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Share the Arts and Culture Experience

Share The Arts & Culture Experience

Share The Arts & Culture Experience

Torontonians are quite fortunate to be able to enjoy more community arts and culture events than any other city in Canada, with staples like Luminato, Nuit Blanche, The International Festival Of Authors, Word On The Street, and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, plus newer innovation events such as TEDxToronto, and more film and theatre festivals than can be counted in the space allotted here (okay, a sampling: TIFF, Hot Docs, Imaginative, Inside Out, Planet In Focus, The Fringe, Next Stage… you get the picture). There is so much diversity and choice. They all deserve to be supported.

If the recession has taught us anything, however, it is that we need to be responsible with our hard-earned dollars. And many of those events are vying for a cut. Personal budgeting is the new black.

Technology gives us this ability to taste all of the events happening in Toronto from the comfort of one’s home, or from anywhere really, just by accessing shared content that others have posted online using social and information networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and video sharing tools like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitpic, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, UStream, and so on. Using these sites and tools, you can find a real-time newsfeed flow of goings-on.

In this smart-phone-savvy, application-addicted world, it is now almost expected for forward-thinking cultural events such as the recently held Scotiabank Nuit Blanche or social innovation events such as TEDxToronto to include functional event applications for mobile phones. These free downloadable apps can accompany and enhance the event experience, allowing the community to share what they are seeing and engage with each other. It’s great marketing, good promotion, truthful communication via the dialogue generated, and cost-effective—for a brand and for the content—while measurably gauging overall public opinion.

While the power of an audience collectively sharing an experience in person can not be under-valued or under-estimated, sharing some of the experience online (or allowing the public to freely share what they are experiencing online) broadens the audience dramatically, as well as the potential future audience—globally in many cases.

Organizations and ventures that understand this changing market know that some art and culture must remain free, and/or freely accessible. It’s fast becoming a balancing act. Smart organizations that don’t want to look feeble, insular or greedy get what’s happening. They are investing in resources and infrastructure, to stay ahead of the curve, or to at least acknowledge the social sharing phenomenon that is occurring, because if they don’t, the public will push ahead anyway.

Michael Thorner tweets at @michaelthorner

This column first appeared in IN Toronto Magazine, in the December 2010—January 2011 issue.
Editor: Gordon Bowness

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