A Place For Selfies

Just because you don’t want people taking selfies during a performance doesn’t mean selfies can’t serve a constructive purpose. It is just a matter of channeling the impulse people have to prove they were present somewhere and participating toward a specific goal.

In fact, if people are taking selfies in connection with your events, it is likely they aren’t going far enough to suit your needs. A pose with a group of friends may be meaningful to an individual. But every attendee taking a similar pose against a similar background is going to lose its novelty rather quickly if you start to draw attention to a collection of such images.

Our Patrons Are Real People…

Snorg Tees has one of my favorite uses of customer selfies with their sizing chart models. They ask people to submit pictures of themselves wearing the company t-shirts along with their height and weight.  The consumer gets to see how the shirts fit on real life people rather than the handsome/lovely models hired for the advertisements.

Snorg Tees

This effort helps create a bond between the company and its customers. Because I knew that these models weren’t primped and posed in the most ideal positions it gave me added confidence when shopping for Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews.

Engendering a sense of confidence in people who are not already customers is one goal for a patron selfie campaign. Credibility increases when people are reasonably certain what they are viewing is authentic rather than manipulated as part of a campaign.

…With Wide Ranging Interests

Over the last year, a local museum has been emphasizing that membership in the museum gains you full or partial membership status at museums belonging to the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association. They have been encouraging members to send in pictures of themselves with their card at various museums around the country.

Then they post those pictures on Facebook:

SOMACC

Sometimes you promote yourself best by promoting other arts organizations. It can go to show that your existing supporters are culturally omnivorous and adventuresome.

If you are concerned that such pictures with captions of  “from their $400 parterre seats in the Met Opera” will only reinforce the image of the arts as something only the elite indulge in, an alternative option might be “What I Did On My Vacation” theme where you ask people to take pictures of themselves wearing your organizational t-shirt.

That way you may end up with pictures of people mountain climbing, sky diving, visiting Graceland, shopping at the Mall of America, etc in your shirt providing that sense that regular people with adventurous tastes participate with your organization.

Word of Caution

Because many people are sensitive to the type of personal information being shared online, be sure to only use the information about the person that has been provided to you.

You may know that Alison is a 10 year old from Jamesville and goes to Central Middle School. If Alison’s parents only provided her first name, that is what you should stick with until you get permission to include anything else.

This should be the policy regardless of whether the subjects in the image are minors or not. Everyone’s privacy should be respected equally.

About Joe Patti

In addition to writing for ArtHacker, I have been writing the blog, Butts in the Seats (buttsseats.com) since 2004.
I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)
I am currently the Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Across my career I have worked at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.

Don't Stop Hacking The Arts Yet...

  • Promoting From Nothing

    As most arts people know, promoting a new event or program can be very difficult when you don’t have any existing photos, video footage, or even past text on…

  • Bio-Writing 101

    As an arts marketer, I have seen a huge variety of artist biographies. I love the ones that need no editing from me and can go straight to the…

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend