Tweet seats’ bring social media addicts relief at theaters

As opposed to most theaters where the use of mobile devices during a performance is discouraged, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minn. is encouraging the use of social media during a play, through the use of “tweet seats.”
As reported on Saturday, Guthrie Theater audience members who sit in a special balcony section are “encouraged” to tweet comments about the live performance.

By setting up the section, the management of the Guthrie Theater says Twitter users (and we assume Facebookers) “will not be disruptive to other patrons” who are able to stand living without exposure to social media for more than a few minutes.

The assumption, though, is that those in the “tweet seats” are still required to keep their devices muted. It is unclear if those who eschew mobile devices can bring a laptop with them instead and tweet via the Web.
There are other arts institutions that have similar tweet seats. Among them are the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Palm Beach Opera in Florida, and the Public Theater in New York City.

External Relations Director Trish Santini said,

If there were ever a Guthrie show to host Tweet Seats, it’s The Servant of Two Masters. This cast is an incredible ensemble of comedians, and night after night they’re riffing and improvising — it’s the kind of show that makes you ask, “Did they just say that?”

Usually they did — and tweeting should be a great way to talk about it.

This may work for the theater, where balconies are available, but we hope we never see anything like this in a movie theater, where bright lights — aside from the screen — are a definite distraction.

Otherwise we’d have to grade the idea with a “Twitter Fail Whale.”