Digital Audiences - Not Just Bricks in the Wall

I recently had the pleasure of getting my hands on a ticket to the sold out Roger Waters’ performance of the iconic Pink Floyd album The Wall in the O2 Dublin. Given the hype and reviews that preceded the gig Waters had a lot to live up to. Coupled with the fact the album had last been toured in 1980 the crowd was expecting a great show. They were not disappointed! The awesome soundscape created was matched, if not surpassed, by a series of 3D mapped projections throughout the show.

As I do at most concerts, 10 minutes into the show I began my usual digital routine:

  1. Check in to the venue using Facebook places
  2. Tweet I am at the Roger Waters gig
  3. Text friends to let them know I am at the Rogers Waters gig
  4. Text friends to let them know how jealous they should be as the gig is AMAZING
  5. Take pictures and text them to friends proving that I am indeed there and it is indeed AMAZING
  6. Take video on my iphone and upload clip to Facebook for those I didn’t text to show I am indeed there and it is AMAZING

(Usually at this stage there has been a massive over use of the humble exclamation mark)

It was only when I reached stage 6 that I took a step back and realized that the time taken to perform this, now standard ritual, was time not spent actually watching the show! Looking out at the crowd it was evident I wasn’t the only one not fully focused on the performance as in front of me was a sea of white lights emitting from the thousands of phones, cameras and even iPads (I kid you not) people were using to record the events unfolding on stage.

This got me thinking, whilst Digital technology and social media provide us with a huge leap forward in our communications capabilities sometimes we need to step back and enjoy life as it happens, through our own eyes, not through the viewer on a camera or iPhone.

How many genuine moments are missed while we text, tweet, e-mail or check-in when out with friends? Jokes and stories just aren’t as funny if they have to be repeated to accommodate someone reading an email that they simply couldn’t wait. They can usually wait.

In our rush to be virtually connected to as many people as possible at all times we should be careful not to miss the chance to engage face to face in a personal manner. This thought has relevance to the modern PR professional. When integrating digital into any campaign it is important to remember that Twitter followers, Facebook fans and bloggers are not anonymous Digital assets but real people. We should make it a point to get to know the opinions of the people who have been good enough engage with our campaigns, why not create an event for Facebook fans where they can meet the brand up close and personal. The network we build via digital channels can be a huge asset to furthering brand messages.

As for bloggers the time to fear and revere them has passed. They are not mysterious entities we should fear in case we evoke their anger. They are people just like you and me. Why not try and meet as many of them as possible in a one to one or group setting. Ultimately you want them to give time and engage with your brand the least you can do is invest some time in them.

In a world of what seems like infinite communications channels and possibilities it is important, probably more so than ever, to remember the value of taking time to engage with influencers in meaningful and most importantly personal way when possible.