Thursday, March 12, 2009

LePetit Theatre-Social Media and Activism

We've all heard talk about the social media revolution. We've probably all noodled around looking for our favorite video to post, or found an article that outraged us and quickly hit the Facebook post button on the bottom. We've wasted time yacking about nothing, posted weird photos, commented on someone's status. No doubt about it, some social media can be a time suck.

I saw something in the last two days, however, that really showed me how fast social media can make a real difference.

Each morning I check Twitter, just to see what my miscreant friends are up to. Day before yesterday, The Gambit tweet was about a breaking story regarding the firing of the Le Petit staff. I quickly checked the Times Picayune, nothing there.

Within in hour on Facebook, a note was written on a friend's page. He outlined what had happened, to whom, why and who would be taking it over. He also layed out some of the ideas that had been floated for the use of the LePetit Theatre building over the years: everything from a new shop to a parking lot. The comments were rolling on that note. People remembering working at the theatre, getting their start there. Others noting the theatre's remarkable historical value.

The original note writer monitored the comments and continued the lively conversation, explaining that the Solomon Group, who has taken over the running of the theatre, isn't the bad guy. In fact they're doing it pro bono (he had put in parentheses "that means FREE"). The conversation continued through the night Tuesday night and into yesterday with many of us offering to volunteer in order to keep the theatre open.

By yesterday afternoon, this group, Volunteers for LePetit Theatre, had been formed by the Solomon Group. As of this morning there were 104 members.

Remember, all this happened in less than 48 hours.

While I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of the finances or all the reasons the incumbent employees were let go, I was nevertheless amazed at the speed with which social media helped get the word out that a local and national treasure could be in real trouble. That speed, that rallying of the troops to save the theatre, was amazing to watch in real time.

For anyone who thinks saving the theatre is frivolous when there are so many really huge problems in this city, I would just point out that they too can rally troops quickly and efficiently the same way. How powerful is that?

1 comment:

George "Loki" Williams said...

Brilliant! That is exactly why I love working with social media. Things are becoming much more "real time" especially since the advent of Twitter...