Conversation about National Theatre Wales around the web

We’ve been working with National Theatre Wales and people who belong to their community – including office staff, production staff, cast, venues and “people formerly known as audience”.

Last year we built the community side of NTW’s website on Ning, with graphic design by the folks at Elfen. (Hoffi made the front page and listings pages.)

It’s worth noting that members of the community have the clear choice of making their posts public (open to be read by anyone who is looking) and many are doing so. The community is open to anybody on the web who wants to sign up.

But obviously with the web as it is, people are publishing their own stuff about National Theatre Wales and its productions around the web – not just on NTW’s community. We want to encourage this, it’s part of what NTW wants to achieve.

In fact, with NTW we have purposefully assigned a short tag to each production for use around the web – of the form ntw01 for production one, ntw02 for production two and so on. People are starting to use these tags already, in order to make their thoughts and posts more findable.

We also want to help the community to be aware of this other interesting stuff – videos, Twitter posts, blog posts, photos, audio – where relevant. “Online conversation” is a metaphor that has become popular on the web – and it does have some explanatory power. We want to give that conversation the best chance of being seen by groups of people who might be interested, so they can take part if they wish – wherever they choose to post their responses.

Here’s Tom’s post on the NTW site about the production tags and how posts, photos, videos and so on are collected on the NTW group for each production (and also a Netvibes page):

http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/profiles/blogs/talking-about-national-theatre

Take a look at the group for ntw01, A Good Night Out In The Valleys for an example of live search results from around the web. If you’re wondering how the live searches work on the groups, we made them with Yahoo Pipes. There is a chance of a few false positives turning up, as with any web search. But on the whole we like the way they’ve turned out.

We’ve included the services which seem to be the popular ones for discussing theatre. In theory more publishing services, e.g. Audioboo, could be added to the results if those services start to become popular.

So there you go, one small part of NTW’s online strategy which we’ve been working on.

Sky News appoints Twitter correspondent… (via Guardian)

Jemima Kiss at The Guardian pretty much nails it with this analysis of today’s Sky News story.

The danger is that is this rush to fetishise Twitter, the media perpetuates the rather irritating habit of always looking for The Next Big Thing. The point is not Twitter itself, or the company that Ev Williams, Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey built, but the behaviour it has facilitated and encouraged. It’s the impact of the tool and not the tool itself that is meaningful, because that is what will grow and influence more new services, and impact existing ones. Facebook is already responding, and there are swathes of services all plugging into the conversations Twitter is driving.

There is merit in monitoring Twitter for breaking news – particularly with services like Monitter and Twitter Search. But more generally, it’s just one platform – and part of a technological and cultural shift towards a real-time web.

Besides the real-time web, Sky News journalists like Ruth Barnett should probably be monitoring the rest of the web in other very established ways. One such example is with RSS to catch topical search results like this. But it’s the cultural and societal shifts that are the really big deal.