Death of a critic

Willy was a theatre critic and had been writing crits for the last 30 years for the town paper “The Daily Bugle”. Recently he was not getting a buzz, people were not paying attention to his carefully constructed prose about the latest play or musical. The same lines flowed from his keyboard to disappear wrapped around a nice piece of whiting. People were no liking or hating what he was writing. He realises people are getting their information about shows from other sources and approaches his boss about working other desks, like the crime desk. His boss refuses. Well we can see where this is leading. The death of a critic and it seems to be happening as we speak.

In this day and age of social media, what roles do critics and reviewers play in the world of entertainment. Do the general public pay any attention to what a critic actually say about a production? Maybe the only people that pay any attention are the ones involved in the show, it is a form of ego massaging. I often see comments from various people involved in the industry complaining about what this critic stated, or how uneducated the critic is. There are even disagreements about about whether a critic should actually be involved in productions, and if they are, will they have a bias.And must not forget the slagging off that happens about amateur and professional shows.We must forget that the reviews is only one person’s viewpoint of the production. Their opinion of the show is not necessarily the majority opinion. You have to make up your own mind, they are not always right and you don’t have to take them as gospel, they are human like you and I. They are not god. So you can see there is the potential for a problem to exist, therefore what alternatives do we have? Social media is the possible solution here.

When you last went to see a show, film or concert, did you ask your friends for recommendations or did you look for reviews? Well it seems most people will ask friends etc for ideas and thoughts on a show etc. Your friend will have a rough idea of what you are likely to enjoy. Now this is where social media comes into play. We are likely to know more people through social media, and therefore can access more opinions. So the general public is going to look to these sources before checking a review. I may be wrong but that is how I decide what I am going to see, and I am sure that is what other people are likely to do. Now I do work in industry so I will read reviews, especially for shows that I am working on or shows that have people in that I know, but I am not likely to decide what I am going to see based on one persons thoughts of a show. Even 3 or 4 reviews may not persuade me, I am likely to listen to 400 peoples opinions and get a general consensus. In fact you can use the search functions to find information from a lot of people on Twitter, these are people you do not necessarily know.

I feel that in a few years critics will be even less relevant, due to people spending more time with social media networks. This could work to the advantage of the production if they are really social media savvy.So what social media sites should you look at. I suggest you use the 3 big ones Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you are likely to already be a member of at least one.

The viewing public will not need to rely on one or two people to help them decide, they can crowd source their information. People making comments on the whole are as intelligent as a critic and can form an opinion whether some thing is good or band.


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