WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (March 14-20, 2011)

TECHNOLOGY

City Ballet A-Twitter Over Posts.” By Erica Orden. Wall Street Journal. March 15, 2011. New York City Ballet is set to become one of the country’s first major performing-arts companies to govern its employees’ posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social-media outlets. And Devin Alberda, a member of the company’s corps de ballet, is part of the reason why. After news of his boss’s drunk-driving arrest was made public, Mr. Alberda tweeted: “Thank goodness riding the subway while intoxicated isn’t a misdemeanor offense,” adding the hashtag “#dontfireme.” In another tweet, he mocked a character in a production with a reference to the presidential executive order that paved the way for Japanese internment camps: “Yellowface character in NYCB’s 2010 revival of The Magic Flute the worst thing to happen to the Asian American community since EO 9066.” Plenty of professional ballet dancers have Twitter accounts, parting the curtain on a long-cloistered world with details on their backstage warm-up process or what they’re snacking on during intermission. But some, such as Mr. Alberda, go a step further, posting the kind of workday gripes or jokes dancers might say to each other but that are rarely aired publicly. The company now is negotiating a social-media policy as part of contract talks with the dancers’ union, the American Guild of Musical Artists. The ballet’s executive director, Katherine Brown, said in a statement: “Because social media usage has dramatically increased and will continue to do so, like many organizations the company is exploring the development of social media guidelines for all artistic and administrative employees with respect to their professional lives.” The union’s national executive director said it doesn’t see the need for a social-networking policy but wouldn’t object as long as rules don’t over-police the dancers.

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