Last night I attended a blogger get-together hosted by movmnt magazine, a quarterly dance, fashion, music, and pop culture publication that just published its spring 2008 issue. Journalist David Benaym, the magazine’s editor in chief and publisher, invited dance bloggers to the magazine’s headquarters, where he and other magazine staff joined us in a two-hour round-table discussion that covered myriad dance-related topics. Several dance bloggers attended, including Taylor, Tony, and Brian (all from the Winger), Tonya, and Doug. Everyone had something thought-provoking to contribute to the conversation, which started with some discussion about blogging personalities versus real-life personalities. It’s interesting to interact with dance bloggers in person, since we primarily “see” each other online and interact via blog commenting. Clearly there’s a different dynamic when a bunch of bloggers are sitting around a table in an office!
The discussion quickly turned to how companies are (or aren’t) reaching out to bloggers and the internet for publicity, and how bloggers can (and should) reach out to companies. The consensus seemed to be that bloggers have to make the effort, especially with larger companies, since they are unlikely to make contact with dance bloggers. The reason for this, in part, is that companies are used to contacting mainstream critics from newspapers and magazines, and are unaware of the thriving dance blogosphere. If only they knew and understood that bloggers have the potential to reach many more viewers/readers than a newspaper or magazine review. Companies could be much more effective in their outreach, particularly with younger audiences, if they utilized more online marketing and communications. As someone mentioned in the discussion, Kristin Sloan’s videos that documented the making of New York City Ballet’s premiere of Romeo and Juliet were a huge success. And David noted that Cedar Lake’s recent performances sold out after the bloggers and I wrote about the dress rehearsal and get-together, suggesting that bloggers really do have a positive impact on dance companies’ visibility and ticket sales. While we agreed that Cedar Lake’s blogger outreach was exciting and definitely a first, unfortunately it doesn’t look like other companies are following their lead.
The evening ended with goody bags for all, filled with the Spring 2008 issue of movmnt along with some older issues, a beautiful book of photography called “Moving Still – a life performance” (produced by David), and movmnt socks! Seriously, who doesn’t love a good pair of socks? Many thanks to David and the other movmnt magazine staff for hosting the get-together. Hopefully there will be more meet-ups and good conversations to come. Be sure to check out the magazine’s website and social network.