Social Media 101

101This year’s Edmonton International Fringe Festival was absolutely terrific. As of my deadline, I’ve seen a total of four shows: Pitch Blond by Vancouver-born Laura Harris; Garret Spellicy‘s local production The Lavender, South Korea; and Red Bastard by Eric Davis out of New York.
I saw the latter two because the fusedlogic team streamed both shows live via video over the Internet as part of our social media project with Fringe Theatre Adventures (FTA), the folks behind North America’s largest and longest running fringe festival.
The FTA had yet to engage in the social web beyond a Facebook group. This year, however, Industry Canada’s Marquee Tourism Program enabled a specific focus on generating awareness and interest in the festival and the city tourism options for fringe enthusiasts abroad.
Edmonton’s Fringe Festival broke new social media ground in several ways, including the streaming of three live webcasts all across Canada and for international audiences in places like the Philippines, United Kingdom and United States, plus Greece and Belgium.  A key approach to this campaign was to involve the Fringe community directly, encouraging both international and local performers to blog about their experiences at showyouourblog.com.  In the first six days of the festival, more than 100 blog posts from 10 different bloggers, including me, were generated.  Local photographers who are on Twitter also showcased our city and festival. Starting with a brand new group for this year, Edmonton now has the largest Flickr group of Fringe-related pictures in the world.  Well over 1300 photos in under 10 days – amazing.  Top contributors by Twitter handle were @Livingsantuary, @Sirthinkd, @Pixelens, @Cyclopsphoto, @Eadnams, @Wburris, and @PaulNey.  And thanks to everyone else who posted pictures.
To continue in the spirit of the Fringe,  I decided to take advantage of being around so many talented perfomers.  I interviewed the very talented Edmonton native street magician, Billy Kidd.  We talked about her life spent performing on the world’s streets, and her use of social media to promote her act.  Currently living in Bath, England, she still enjoys coming home.  From a perfomer’s perspective, she says “Edmonton’s Fringe crowds are great and there are less street performers here to compete with”, as compared to say Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe which tends to have far more performers.
When talking to Kidd about her online activities, she explained that she’s on Facebook under different name and for different purpose related to “nose flutes”. Bill Kidd is her magician persona and currently her social media activity is next to zero in support of that particular act. Although she admits that Internet does help: ” I get lots of e-mails from people who have seen the show.”  Kidd’s website billykiddshow.com is fairly basic and if, you Google her name, there is little in terms of a content footprint.  Certainly this result doesn’t support the great live audience experience produced when she “works her magic” curb side. I suspect it’s because she’s only been performing the Billy Kidd magic act for the “past year or so”.

billi kidd
We did an on-camera interview which is up on the Fringe-focused ShowYouOurs Youtube channel. Further, the pictures and video docummenting her performances here should definetly help increase exposure for her around the world – increased evidence that Edmonton has a “magical world ambassador” in Billy Kidd.

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