Twitpanto – one helluva social object.

A triumph darling.  Jon Bounds and catnip (with a huge host of help) amused the entire interwebs (well a bit of it) with the worlds first Twitter Panto. Besides creating the wordle above, Matthew Somerville pulled together the script and audience in one wonderful social thingy. Actors Online reckons it brought the house down (how often must they use that one?) and the whole caboodle got brum happy too.


I Googled twitpanto at about 10pm December 23rd and found – for the first time in years – that there were no ads to accompany it. Twitpanto is a real thing that really happened but so far ahead of some long tail curve that not even mighty google knows where it fits. Surely a Christmas miracle.

Chris loved it because:

  • It was absolutely chaotic but it absolutely worked
  • The audience participation – it’s an important part of a panto and seeing over 50 tweets of ‘oh no it’s not’ and ‘oh yes it is’ come rolling in was fantastic
  • It was popular – not a penny was spent on promotion but it spread because people liked the idea. #twitpanto was the top trending topic on twitter and so far my tag search is showing over 1,300 uses of the tag (and they’re still coming)
  • Birthday boy Lloyd Davis appeared as himself (I’m sure he looked different in Brazil) and described what happened as “an anthropological treasure trove”. Nick Burcher also enthused:

    a great demonstration of the versatility of Twitter and really highlighted the difference between Twitter and more ‘traditional’ social networks like MySpace and Facebook (where it would have been difficult to re-create the immediacy of #twitpanto and would have been even harder to follow it!) A collaborative, non-sponsored effort, #twitpanto was a great example of how social media can facilitate an expansive conversation between like-minded individuals just for fun and just because……

    Tom Roper professes a liking for the vulgarity of panto and wasn’t disappointed to find twitpanto “rowdy, bawdy and sometimes hard to follow, just like the real thing”.

    Emma Jones (Dandini!) concludes:  “pantomime is such a great match for Twitter – it’s all about the instant feedback and audience participation!, echoed by Robert Anderson: “My first job after leaving university was in panto– Jack and the Beanstalk in York, if you must know. Many of the audience told me that they didn’t go to the theatre during the year but always went to the panto. Why? Because it was social, populist and they could get involved. Crucially they enjoyed the show and told their friends about it– retweeted, if you like. Could it be that the panto spirit sums up what two-way communication (ie the social bit) is all about?”


    1. Shona says:

      It really was something else! Apart from the obscene amount of filth *certain* members of the audience came out with (!), I really love the spirit in which fellow Twitterers adopted the panto auditorium feel. A massive congrats to Jon, Jules and the fab cast 🙂

    2. Nick Burcher says:

      Thought it was great to see a ‘random’ idea take off the way it did and thought #twitpanto was a nice example of how social media can bring strangers together to collaborate for a common purpose – even if it was madly chaotic at times!

      On your Google point – top line – ads will only show up if someone has bought the word ‘twitpanto’ or Google’s advanced matching systems can relate the phrase ‘twitpanto’ to other pantomime keywords. So whilst a number of people are buying ‘pantomime’ as a keyword, they have all missed the opportunity for cheap traffic from ‘twitpanto’ – and Google’s matching system needs to develop its interpretation skills!

    3. Jaynehowarth says:

      It was the best panto I’ve been to (oh yes it was), no trouble parking, best seat in the house at your keyboard and total confusion, thanks to constant interactive audience. Participation at its best!

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