July 19, 2010
Our latest lunchtime adventure started with a simple Tweet offering tickets to a local show with: “OK, Chicago, I’ve got 10 tix – 5 pairs…meet my staff at the Bean @ 1 p.” So my co-worker Hunter and I set out for Millennium Park – just across the street from our office – to check it out. Participating taught us some dos and don’ts for this sort of crowd-gathering tactic. Here are several things to consider:
- Don’t Be Late: The group was anxious, all keeping an eye out for the possible staffers. Just after the designated time, people got irritated and started discussing how they wanted to Tweet and thank the show for wasting their lunch break. Our learning: it’s best not to make participants wait because the meet up could backfire, resulting in negative attention.
- Do Be Prepared: About 100 people gathered in hopes of getting tickets to the sold-out show. Twitter’s power to gather a crowd is undeniable. The word spread quickly, so ensure that you’re ready for a big turnout. Millennium Park security was on high alert – and for good reason. Also be sure that you alert the appropriate people if you’re going to stage this kind of stunt.
- Don’t Encourage Running: We all debated how it would go down – a dance off, trivia challenge or the best sign? Suddenly, several young ladies took off their jackets to reveal matching t-shirts, creating pandemonium. Unfortunately for us, the tickets were simply awarded to the five people that pushed their way through and essentially tackled the staffers. Next time, I’d recommend a more creative way to quickly narrow down a large group and determine winners. This would make the process fair and avoid any ill will among the remaining participants.
- Do Offer a Parting Gift: Luckily, we could fill out forms for standby tickets, hoping they’d need us as seat fillers for a different night – and they did! Offering this type of “second place” prize makes people feel like their time was not wasted and creates good feelings overall.
Overall, Twitter is a good place to get a crowd excited about an event, but just make certain that you’re prepared to handle any possible outcome!