Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 00:39 UK

Fringe audiences urged to Twitter

By Angie Brown
Edinburgh reporter, BBC Scotland news website

edtwinge site
The Edtwinge site collates tweets and compiles lists of the top Fringe shows

Edinburgh Fringe venue directors have called on audiences to "Twitter" about shows they have seen, to try to combat a cut in the number of reviewers.

The recession is being blamed for newspapers and other publications sending fewer reporters to shows.

William Burdett Coutts, director at The Assembly, said he wanted more "viral interaction on the internet".

Meanwhile, Edinburgh developers have launched a system for compiling tweets into a list of the best Fringe shows.

Maybe it is time for the audience to take over and do its own poll, that's the reality now that there are less reviewers about
John Simpson
The World Festival

The Edtwinge site searches through thousands of tweets on the micro-blogging site Twitter and gives shows a rating for noise - the volume of interest - and karma - whether the comments are positive or negative.

Mr Burdett Coutts at the Assembly venue told the BBC Scotland news website: "The situation has changed over the years with how many reviewers there are and in particular I noticed this at last year's festival.

"I think it is fantastic that we now have other ways to get the message across with Twitter and Facebook and I would urge people to stand up and say how great the show is that they have been to.

"Tell everyone about it, get the message out there by word of mouth and viral interaction on the internet."

Noise and karma

John Simpson, producer at The World at St George's West, said he had been surprised and delighted after an audience member at his venue's press review Twittered about Wednesday's event.

He said: "It was a very positive review on Twitter and I would definitely encourage more to follow suit.

"It is great if audiences write their own reviews as it is far more refreshing to read than that of a seasoned journalist.

"Maybe it is time for the audience to take over and do its own poll, that's the reality now that there are fewer reviewers about."

Karen Koran, artistic director of the Gilded Balloon, said: "I know times are hard and that publications don't have as much coverage as before on the festivals.

"I don't think my generation will Twitter but I do think younger people will mention the shows they have been to and had a good time at.

"We need word of mouth to spread the word more this year than ever before."

'Clever stuff'

Jim Wolff, 30, one of the collective of Edinburgh-based web designers behind the new Edtwinge site, said his Twitter service "turns the accepted system of one single opinion informing everyone on its head and gives you the word of the masses".

Mr Wolff has created the site with Mike Coulter, Andrew Burnett and digital agency Blonde.

He said the "clever stuff under the hood" can pick up any mention of a performer or a show on the Fringe and can tell if it has been good or bad.

Mr Wolff said: "The Edinburgh Fringe is the perfect place for this. The festival goes on for a month and there will be thousands of tweets so we can provide a snapshot of what people are talking about."

The site compiles a top 10 listing for the acts scoring highest on noise and karma in seven categories - comedy, music, dance, musicals & operas, events, children's and exhibitions.

It also allows users to "drill down" and have a look at the comments posted about the performers.

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