• Thu, Dec 27 2012

Theater Offering ‘Tweet Seats’ Because Some People Can’t Turn Their Stupid Phones Off For An Hour

shutterstock_990062I think it’s time we all realize that we are heading into an era when constantly having your phone in your face is going to be totally acceptable. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous – but it’s what’s happening. There’s now a theater in Minneapolis that is experimenting with “Tweet Seats” so viewers don’t have to put away their precious phones during the performance.

Really? Has it come to this?

My stepdaughter is staying with us for the holidays. She is twelve and can’t understand why I am constantly telling her to put away her phone, take her headphones off, and engage with the family. Now I understand why. It is becoming completely “normal” to be plugged in at all times. No one thinks anything of it. Especially not our kids, who are being raised to believe that this behavior is totally acceptable.

Theaters are the last safe haven – and now it may all be vanishing. I love the cell phone police that comb the isles of a show. They don’t mess around. I’m still waiting to see one of them grab a phone from someone’s hand. The collective rush of the crowd to double-check their ring tones before curtain – I love it. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is experimenting with “Tweet Seats,” a section of the theater where people are free to Tweet to their heart’s content during the show. If this “Tweet Seats” idea catches on, I’m going to be pissed.

The Guthrie Theater today announced that beginning December 27, the theater will offer its first-ever “Tweet Seats” during four consecutive Thursday performances of The Servant of Two Masters, allowing social media users an opportunity to interact during the show. A limited number of seats located in a balcony level of the McGuire Proscenium in a section that will not be disruptive to other patrons will be designated as Tweet Seats.

Okay, so the seats are in a balcony and probably won’t disturb the entire theater. I still don’t like it. There is something very soothing about going into a space where cell phones aren’t allowed. These spaces are vanishing more and more every day. Guess what? If you don’t document it – it still happened. It really did. If you don’t Tweet about a show – you still saw it. If you don’t photograph your meal – you still ate it.

I work in a restaurant. Ninety-percent of the tables I approach have some kind of technology on them. I spend the entire night trying not to spill something on the iPhones, which are always placed strategically next to the water glass. The night is a complicated dance of figuring out when to approach a table – since someone at it is usually engaging with their phone. Couples come in and don’t say a word for minutes on end while they type away. It’s really kind of depressing.

Don’t mess with the theater. It’s the last technology-free zone we have.

(photo: Robert J. Beyers II/ Shutterstock.com)

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  • http://twitter.com/robinhardwick Robin Hardwick

    There is a theater in SF (SF Playhouse) that does this. They do this for social media marketing and to get the word out. They put a call out for volunteers, and we are expected to tweet about the show. It’s a creative way to market their shows. It’s not every show, and when doing it in the 2 back rows it doesn’t disrupt anyone. Not sure if this is the same intention of this theater.

  • cheyhorn31

    My favorite theatre chain in Austin is Alamo Drafthouse and they do the exact opposite of what the above theatre does–they will throw you out if you don’t turn off your cell phone during a movie. You can also have talkers thrown out. It’s awesome! Not only that, they serve a full menu as well as beer and wine. We don’t see movies anywhere else!