[Photo and caption from the Portland Center Stage blog: Brent Harris and Darius Pierce both received Drammy Awards for their outstanding performances in The Beard of Avon.]
You have two blogs: a general Portland Center Stage blog and Chris’ Blog, which is by your artistic director, Chris Coleman. Who are the audiences for your blogs? Why did you decide to keep the blogs separate?
Technically they are the same blog (the “Chris’ blog” content rolls in the PCS blog content). There are a couple of reasons for having a place to pull out just Chris’ posts though. First, he is the face of the organization and the chief personality that people feel they “know” from PCS. So where some people may not want to read every post from PR or Development or the costume shop, most want to know what’s going on inside the head of our fearless leader. Plus, Chris loves telling everyone he knows to “read my blog!” (he even has it in his email signature), so having his posts pull out as a separate subset that people can subscribe to directly makes it easier for the people he connects with in the community to find the blog and get to know him better.
When did you launch the PCS blog? Do you think many theatre organizations are using social media?
That’s a really good question. Theatre Vertigo has been pretty technology forward in how they handle their site — they had a pretty well trafficked bulletin board style site for a few years before we got in the game. But they are a small avant-garde ensemble with a couple of web-guru ensemble members, with a small but highly loyal “edge-seeking” audience. Artists Rep dabbled a bit in blogging on their MySpace page for a while before I left that organization but never on the main website. I believe next season they are planning to launch a semi-weekly email from their artistic director, which will have blog style content (though in the more old-school e-newsletter style format).
But I think it is fair to say that we are the first arts institution to completely reframe our website as a blog, and we are certainly making the most prolific use of the blogging and social media technology at this point.
We re-launched our site with the blogging focus in October of 2007. So it is really still under a year old. Fun fact though: Our average number of unique visitors per day has almost tripled over the numbers the traditional website was getting, and the average visitor views 3.2 pages, which I take to be a good sign.
Readers, feel free to share your questions and comments with Trisha this week.