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Sandow’s Twitter point

April 21, 2009
This is an interesting article on the use of twitter and Classical music. Live twitter during concerts? Interesting…

Twitter point

Greg Sandow on the future of classical music

Anyone who reads David Pogue’s technology column in the New York Times (Thursday, in the business section) knows that he’s hot for Twitter, the social networking/microblogging/what should we call it? thing that lets us send out short announcements all day long about what we’re doing.

I think that marks a Twitter tipping point, because Twitter is popping up all over, in places I wouldn’t have expected. It’s a serious business application now. Millions of people, all day long, are sending out thoughts and observations, getting questions answered, letting the world know what they’re up to. Frank Eliason, customer service manager for Comcast (the cable TV/phone/Internet provider), realized he could use that. He could search Twitter for references to Comcast (or “Comcrap”), find people with Comcast complaints, and then contact these people to get the complaint resolved. (Note that all tweets — Twitter messages — are public, so this isn’t an invasion of privacy.)

And that’s just one random way in which Twitter is exploding. Hospitals use it — go here and here for more. One hospital used Twitter as a teaching tool for surgery, A surgical procedure (quite a complex one) was shown on video, while doctors on the surgical team sent tweets about what, exactly, they were doing. You can get the tweets on any cellphone that can go on the Web.

Do we all see how useful this could be for music? An orchestra gives a concert. Someone sends commentary tweets, in real time while the music plays, describing what’s going on. I don’t know how pinpoint the time accuracy might be, so maybe you can’t time something precisely to a downbeat. But you could certainly indicate major sections of a piece.

But it gets better. You could have a dozen Twitter streams. What does the conductor think about, while she’s conducting the piece? What’s the hardest part for the principal flute? What passage in the horns makes the principal trumpet player’s hair stand on end? All kinds of people in the orchestra could send tweets during the performance, or rather could write them in advance, and have them sent out at the proper time by others. Someone in the audience could decide which Twitter streams to follow, or could follow them all.

(A few years ago I was involved with a project called the Concert Companion, which delivered real-time program notes to handheld devices. People who tested the system mostly loved it, but look what was needed — special handhelds, and a special system broadcasting to them in wifi. Cumbersome, expensive. Now you can do it all with cellphones, laptops, and the web, maybe not with pinpoint accuracy, as I said, but certainly some version of it will work.)…

…Read the whole article at

Original post at;

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jaymie permalink
    April 22, 2009 1:29 pm

    Very cool article! I would love to hear your thoughts on Sandow’s point of “correct ways to use Twitter” and ways in which Twitter should not be used. Do you agree?

    Also, I think this article brings up the potential that critics might be out a job…or in the very least, that their jobs will change. Why wait for the review to come out in tomorrow’s paper when you can read an instant review via Twitter? Could you see John von Rhein tweeting from his seat at the CSO? Or will he be replaced by someone who’s already doing it?


  1. Twitter and Music « The Dialogue Fringe

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