While I can probably assume that you’re all essentially familiar with Facebook, you may not all be familiar with musicals. So I will enlighten you, to some degree, with my insights on the latter before I make my comparison.
There are a lot of different types of people who go to see a Broadway musical or a stage musical of any sort. As much as some may think that every audience member is cut from the same cloth, it is actually quite untrue.
The first grouping of theatergoers are there for the staging & costumes. They’re interested in the visuals. The more elaborate the set or the more costume changes that are made, the more impressed they usually become. Shows like Wicked, Les Mis or Phantom of the Opera just get them on the jazz.
Then you have the singing theatergoers. They may or may not be qualified to judge the vocal talent involved but that doesn’t stop them. They are constantly screening each individual that comes on stage and there better be at least 90% of the cast that can really bellow a tune or they’re not going to be happy.
Next you have those who are interested in the choreography. This is my little niche. These people are all about movement and they expect the cast to move and to wow them with some pretty heavy-duty dancing. This group can usually appreciate the choreography the most as they typically have some background in dance themselves.
A smaller segment of the audience are the music aficionados. They’re not so interested in what’s happening on the stage as they’re intensely interested in the score. I venture to say these are the only people that appreciate the overture and the entr’acte. The music carries them away and they leave wishing they could play just that well.
The last group I will mention (although there could easily be more) is the filler group. I don’t honestly understand this group but I will gladly take their ticket anytime. These are the people who don’t care at all about going to a live show. It’s the loyal boyfriend, the child without any options, the spouse who can’t convince their other half that their headache is really that bad. I think you all know the kind of people to whom I am referring.
This brings me to Facebook. Why on earth are Facebook and Broadway musicals similar? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been on Facebook long enough to realize that everyone goes there with a mission. They all want Facebook to be a certain something for them. But not everybody has the same goal. And let me just tell you that when missions collide, drama ensues.
To start, some people are all about photos. These are like the visual theatergoers. They really have very little intention of actually communicating with people on this social networking forum. They just want to see everyone’s life via pictures. The more albums they can look at, the happier they are. You can be their friend, by all means, but never expect status posts or comment replies.
The next group of people are all about words. I would equate them to the singing theatergoers. They love to talk on Facebook. They talk, talk, talk. They will comment on everyone and everything. Facebook is like a huge soapbox for them that they can get on any hour of the day and no one can really tell them to get down. But, if someone does, they can easily delete that person’s suggestion and go on talking. They don’t mind if they don’t have an audience.
Then we have a set of people I jokingly refer to as the “friend whores”. Don’t be offended if you are one. I think it’s funny. These people are Facebook friends with their actual friends, the friends of those friends, the family of those friends, the pets of those friends, etc… They will ask to be your friend if you comment on one of their friend’s posts even though they’ve never met you before in their life…and they have no intention to. I’m not sure of the ultimate goal other than having a perpetually changing newsfeed and so I will equate this to the theatergoer concerned with choreography.
This next group is an interesting one to me personally. I can’t honestly equate it the musician type of theatergoer but it definitely needs its own grouping in my Facebook analysis. These are the generally well-rounded Facebookers that have a little twist to their mission in social networking. They don’t want controversy. They can’t stand even the slightest smidgen of negativity, cynicism or sarcasm. They’re so concerned with making their Facebook world into a positive place that they won’t even allow blatant stupidity to be pointed out. I can only partially understand their mission and so I will no longer dwell on it.
The last group I will mention is almost precisely like the filler people at the theater. These are the individuals that are on Facebook because someone else told them to or expects them to be on there. They log in almost never, never post a status, have only one profile photo and apparently fill their scarce Facebook time with simply accepting friend requests. These people will not even get on to play Farmville! And why these people are here I will never know.
I will wrap it up by mentioning that I’ve been a little bit of most of these groups, at one time or another. I don’t even point out the groups as a criticism but rather as a comment. There are, of course, people on Facebook AND people at the theater who are just basically well-rounded, not too overboard in any particular fashion, sort of people. I like those people. I think I’ll try to be like them when I grow up. How old am I again??