While Medium has been around for a few years I get the sense that it has recently begun to pick up speed. Perhaps you recall January’s viral hit “A teenager’s view on social media (written by an actual teen)”? Or maybe you’ve been following the CODE | WORDS publication with contributors from the museum technology community like Rob Stein, Michael Edson, and Merete Sanderhoff?
For nearly a decade, museums have been using social media to communicate and connect with the public. As social media become more ubiquitous in museums and ingrained in our visitors’ everyday lives, old questions reemerge: How can a cultural institution best connect with a variety of audiences online?
Tweeting, Tumbling, snapping photos–how can we turn typical teen behaviors in the museum into meaningful learning experiences? At the National Gallery of Art, thousands of middle and high school students visit each year. Most are not pre-registered, do not participate in formal educational programs such as tours, and are set loose on their own to explore the museum. To reach and engage this audience, the Gallery created a printed guide to the permanent collection (called #atNGA) that encourages looking carefully at works of art, making connections between art and life, exploring art as historical and cultural expression, and reflecting on the creative spirit. What makes this guide different is that each work of art is paired with a social media prompt such as: take and share a photo (via Instagram), craft a text response (via Twitter), or ponder a question with a friend. By explicitly inviting and helping to shape teens’ social media interactions with the Gallery, we hope to turn what might otherwise be a frivolous encounter into a learning experience. This presentation will share the results of our evaluation research and discuss the broader challenges and opportunities of connecting with teens via social media.
Have you ever been kicking around an important question or idea and wished that you could just bring all the smartest people you know together for a little while to hash out the answer and pick their brains? I have two big issues I’m been mulling over for a while now and my magic genie appeared in the form of an invite to join the advisory board for Social Media Week DC. All I had to do after that was click my heels three times, email favor requests to some of my amazing colleagues, and *poof* my wish will be coming true! (Yes, I know I’m mixing storylines and metaphors here but I’m just SO excited.)
While I’m being somewhat selfish in my selection of topics and speakers (I want those burning questions answered!), I think everyone working in museums and/or education is in for a treat with these two upcoming events. If you are in DC, I encourage you to attend these free sessions. If you are unable to participate in person, rest assured that we’ll be live-tweeting, Storify-ing, and blogging about what we learn!
Defining and measuring social media success in museums and arts organizations
Friday, February 22, 10:30-noon (stay for lunch!), National Museum of the American Indian
Join social media practitioners from local museums and arts organizations for a lively discussion about the value of social media to our institutions. Are our current social media practices engaging online communities to their greatest potential? What outcomes are we hoping to achieve? And how can we better evaluate the success of our efforts and take our social media engagement to the next level?
Our panelists will:
*share recent research about how social media has transformed the arts in America
*present lightning talks on the social media outcome that matters most to them
*discuss your ideas, needs, and concerns
Come prepared to share your burning questions or big idea! Following the formal program, you are invited to buy your own lunch in the museum’s Mitsitam Cafe and take part in informal discussions in smaller groups.
Social studies: How educators are using social media
Thursday, February 21, 5-6:30pm, The Fridge DC
How are teachers using social media in the classroom? And how can your organization or museum best reach and support educators by providing relevant resources, facilitating social activities, and connecting them with your social content? Join us for a discussion of the rapidly evolving role of social media in teaching and professional development in the education sector. Speakers include a science teacher, the organizer for DC’s EdTech MeetUps, and a museum educator.
Other museum-related events during Social Media Week DC:
- Behind the Scenes Tweetup at Smithsonian’s National American History Museum, Tuesday, February 19, 1-4pm
- A Mobile Smithsonian, Wednesday, February 20, 3-5pm
Museum-related events during Social Media Week New York:
- Telling Stories with Scientists, Wednesday, February 20, 6:30-9:30
- ARTIFACTS: A Gathering of Innovators in the Arts & New Media, Wednesday, February 20, 8-11pm