Thesis: Specialty web sites promote hobby awareness and participation. There could be one for playgoers.
My two big interests besides playgoing are board gaming and craft beer. Each of these is supported by a number of web sites that collect information and provide a venue for social interaction about their subject matters. Here are two good examples:
The key features of these sites, as elements of hobby infrastructure are
1. They compile a lot of information about opportunities to engage in the hobby.
2. Most of the content is provided by members.
3. Members who contribute content receive some kind of recognition.
4. They provide platforms for members to communicate and plan events.
5. Large numbers of people use them and therefore see themselves more strongly as participants in the hobby.
Board gaming and beer have one advantage over playgoing in that the activities of those hobbies are available across a broad geography. Board game and beer geeks from anywhere in the world have the potential to sample a particular game or brew and engage with others about it. Play productions are usually more geographically based, so the total prospective audience interested in one production is usually smaller.
However, national or international community could be developed around plays in addition to around productions. Playgoers from across the country could discuss broadly performed plays on the basis of “Here’s what the one I saw made me feel.”
A heavily used feature of boardgamegeek.com allows members to record their game collections and their incidents of playing each game. Members can earn badges in the service for having played certain combinations of games.
I can imagine a parallel playgoing service that would, for example, give a member a special badge once he had recorded at least one attendance at each Shakespeare play. You could do local opportunities as well. DC recently had simultaneous Pygmalion and My Fair Lady productions on stage. Someone could define a “Too much rain on the plains” badge for members who recorded seeing both.
Both of the examples I cited started out as passion projects and have grown into widely used sites that attract advertising and have annual conferences. It seems entirely possible that there would be a viable economic model for a playgoing enthusiast site.
Are there any localized examples of things like this I’m not aware of? Any reason one of those couldn’t grow to be national or international?