OPEN CINEMA goes Virtual in the name of all things Natural

This post published on November 9, 2012

It’s ironic that OPEN CINEMA’s first successful Twitterchat was on the topic of Nature Deficit Disorder, in collaboration with Habitat Acquisition Trust. But then again, it was a perfect twenty-first century marriage of both the real and the virtual in the name of all things Natural.

On Wednesday November 7th, following a screening of the most excellent documentary Play Again, we amplified our usual post-screening discussion by livestreaming it with an accompanying moderated Twitterchat #OCchats. We were very encouraged by the results! According to Hashtracker, an application that tracks the reach of hashtags, 179 tweets generated 190,637 impressions, reaching an audience of 19,531 followers.  Not exactly sure what that means in real terms, but it suggests that we made some virtual waves!  The impact was made real when a tweeter from Toronto asked if she could use the twitterchat stream as a research resource for her Masters thesis! Nice!

If you’re curious, I’ve compiled all the tweets, photos, trailers into a storyline via an application called Storify here.

What is a hybrid event anyway?

The event started as it usually does, with folks coming early to mingle over a a glass of wine and a slice of hot pizza from The Joint Pizza and Deli.

Folks mingling before the screening

We love it when people come early to mingle

photo of a happy crowd at OPEN CINEMA

A happy crowd gathers at OPEN CINEMA

Meanwhile, our tech meister Kirk Schwartz wrangled the AV feed and the livestream channel, to allow folks to watch the discussion from the comfort of their home.

KIrk in the OPEN CINEMA tech booth

OPEN CINEMA looks different from up in the tech booth

During the film, the twitterchat team start to prime the twittersphere by sharing a few choice quotes from the film itself. We plan to develop a video-on-demand option next year, so that virtual audiences will be able to watch the film from home as well! We’re very excited to make that happen.

photo of wine, twitter stream while Play Again screens

The Twitterchat team start tweeting. Photo by Angela Hemming

Once the post-screening discussion is underway, the twitterchat team begin tweeting in earnest.  Angela Hemming and Marylou Wakefield busily summarize the conversation and engage the twittersphere, adding the hashtag #OCchats to every tweet to make it searchable.

The post-screening discussion being tweeted

Angela and Marylou livetweet the post-screening discussion

screen shot of the #OCchats twitter feed

The #OCchats twitter feed

It’s an intense hour for the twitterchat team: they’re listening to the conversation, summarizing it in tweets, welcoming and responding to the virtual audience on both twitter and the Ustream channel and voicing  questions from tweeters into the live conversation. Talk about multi-tasking divas! We thrilled that our recent grant success from Vancity allows us to pay them a small honorarium in exchange for their digital storytelling smarts.

Angela Hemming and Marylou Wakefield tweet up a storm

Angela Hemming and Marylou Wakefield tweet up a storm

To close the live/virtual loop, we project the twitterchat stream onto the wall in the Victoria Event Centre, so that the live audience can follow the virtual conversation. Some people in the room were also tweeting, which creates a cool hybrid dynamic online.

The twitter chat screen is projected onto the wall

The tweetchat screen brings the virtual convo into the live event

And all the while, a very engaged conversation is taking place in the room. This is really what OPEN CINEMA is all about. The post-screening discussion guests were Lisa Lockerbie, Sooke Nature Kindergarten; Todd Carnahan, Habitat Acquisition Trust; David Segal, Power To Be and moderator by Dr Rick Kool, School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University.

photo of Todd Carnahan (HAT) and David Segal (Power To Be)

Todd Carnahan (HAT) and David Segal (Power To Be) rocked the post-screening discussion

photo of Dr. Rick Kool, Lisa Lockerbie and Todd Carnahan

Rick Kool and Todd Carnahan listen to Lisa Lockerbie talking passionately about Sooke Nature Kindergarten

photo of David Segal (Power To Be)

David Segal (Power to Be) believes that Nature Education is pure storytelling

photo of Dr. Rick Kool

Dr. Rick Kool was an awesome moderator

As the conversation drew to a close, we were thrilled to discover that our online engagement had served a real purpose for Liz Beattie, a Masters student in Toronto

screen shot of Liz Beattie's twitter request to use the chat as a research resource

This made us feel that our efforts were worthwhile

It was a fabulous evening, we are still getting great feedback from both the real and virtual audience. Please join us at our next event, the Victoria Premiere of Occupy Love on December 5th!

You can also read our Twitter chat guidelines here.

If you’re curious, you can read through all the tweets, photos, trailers via an application called Storify here.

Did you attend the event, either live or virtually? We’d love to hear your feedback!







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