I recently came across an article that suggested that your child could need social media to succeed in the world of musical theatre. That Broadway is now asking for social media information of auditioning candidates and that this might start to trickle into the Pro-am and Amateur world.
This horrified, intrigued and inspired me to write this post where I will ponder;
- Why casting committee’s might be stalking your social media
- If they should be doing it
- How it makes me feel
Social media is all around us and there are very few people who don’t have a personal social media profile of some kind. It would be a safe assumption to say that all musical theatre companies from the professionals right through to schools all have a social media account or presence on one if not multiple channels.
Most definitely the professional companies have a team of marketing managers who carefully consider social media as part of an overall marketing campaign.
When it comes to casting a show, the panel will often see a number of candidates who are equally talented and equally suited to a role. So when it comes to splitting hairs and choosing in that situation, the decision might come down to which candidate has a larger social media following or presence? The professionals would possibly even go so far as to consider the personal branding of a candidate’s social media profile.
The amateur world could certainly make these comparisons too. In the case of two candidates equal in all areas of performance, if one isn’t on social media or rarely shares there but the other is on multiple channels and posts frequently then it is possible that the company would see the benefit of casting the latter.
SHOULD THEY BE DOING IT?
This sets off a loud PRIVACY alarm bell!
Firstly children under 13 are not permitted to have social media accounts.
Secondly this will certainly make you consider the privacy settings you have on your social media accounts.
Take Facebook for example, a person cannot see how many friends you have in total unless they themselves are friends with you. As such this is why the professional companies would need to ask candidates for the information. But the lines begin to blur within the amateur world where many of the community are ‘friends’. If you happen to be Facebook friends with someone on the casting committee, dependant on your privacy settings they could well be able to see how many social media ‘friends’ you have in total. They in turn could use this information to influence their decision in relation to your audition.
Legally, they can do this. If you have put information out there into the world you are responsible for managing and protecting it. To edit (friend) privacy settings on Facebook. Go to your profile, click the friends tab in the middle, then the edit privacy pencil and change the settings to ONLY ME.
Should they be doing it? Certainly this is a smart marketing decision. It is a forgone conclusion that a socially active cast member will sell more tickets than one with no social media presence.
Morally, I am unsure. Should they first be asking if you are aware of your privacy settings? Then seeking permission to look at your social media profile? Outright asking you for numbers? I welcome you to join the conversation and add your comment here.
HOW I FEEL
My instant gut reaction as I mentioned before was that I was horrified. This was because the article was talking about children (teens) and the idea of cultivating a branded social media account for my children gave me the heebie-jeebies!
When it comes to an adult I am still not keen on the idea of curating my own personal social media for the intent of landing roles. Of purposely growing my friends list to boost numbers….the whole things just feels fake and yuk. On the other hand I do ‘get it’ for professionals and if they are smart someone on the pro circuit would have a public page (public figure as the page type) and personal private profile and post accordingly to both.
Do you have a child or teen keen to crack the pro circuit? Have you considered creating a public page profile for them?
Do you know a casting panel that has split hairs this way?
Would you consider creating a public page profile of your own?
We would love to hear from you.
Have a Fantastix day