TwitProm: Are the BBC Proms Pandering to Users of Social Media?

Should the BBC Proms care about what its audience members say on Twitter? Or, for that matter, should we?(Photo: Mark Hillary (Flickr))
Should the BBC Proms care about what its audience members say on Twitter? Or, for that matter, should we?(Photo: Mark Hillary (Flickr))

Some things require more than 140 characters to say, and, ironically enough, this is one of them.

A performance of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony at the BBC Proms Sunday (and the mixed reviews about the work’s artistic merit) has seemingly given a contributor to the blog On an Overgrown Path another opportunity to lambaste potential ill effects of social media – specifically Twitter – on how the Proms are programmed.

The author (a certain “Pliable”) had this to say about discerning the artistic merit of a musical work performed at the Proms judging from the audience tweets displayed on the BBC Proms Web site:

. . . as Tweets Law states, if you give one hundred chimpanzees instruments, put them on a concert platform and broadcast the result, 95% of Twitter users will give the performance a rave review. Which means classical music must beware of programming for the Twitter audience.

So I ask you: if, in fact, the Proms (and other performance series) have leaned toward populist programming because traditional media sources have revealed their audiences want it, should that approach be curbed now only because social media like Twitter can now transmit popular preferences directly, without the aid of “traditional” media?

Read more: Classical Music Beyond Twitter (On an Overgrown Path)

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