It was very good to see a large audience for the 2011 'Digital Audience Development' session at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. Run by Inner Ear Ltd. again on Thursday 4 August, this was the second time I've seen them present ideas and case studies to help those who would like to use social media to spread the word about their work. The presenters were Dougal Perman (@dougalperman)and Anny Deery (@adeery).
Why the larger audience? Partly because the tools are more pervasive within the arts community I should imagine, but also because more people want to use them and are keen to learn. The fact that this event took place before the official start to the fringe made it all the more impressive: visiting artists should probably have been spending their time settling in, doing their tech rehearsals and buying waterproof jackets. Something that particularly impresses me about Inner Ear is their knowledge of the range of social tools available, with pretty well defined ideas about the strengths of each and when it could/should be employed by different users. There was a mixed audience for the event in terms of social media experience, but I think it's likely that as time goes by they will find ever more savvy audience members who come to these sessions with their own ideas of what works in this space. To this end it's great that those folk can tap into Inner Ear's expertise just as effectively as the relative novices who need some guidance on where to start.
For a recommendation however I think there is scope for a follow up session on a more 'workshop' based level, where people can show and tell the methods and approaches that have worked for them. There's no reason that this couldn't still be set up for the 2011 Fringe, I'm sure it's already taken place on a small scale many times over as people discuss stuff over a pint, but something more formal could be very rewarding for all.
To finish this post, as suggested by Dougal, you should find their presentation embedded into this blog just below (although it needs Flash). The slides are hosted on Slideshare and contain a heap of good ideas and suggestions.