Yesterday I participated in the LGBTQ Wikipedia Editathon hosted at the National Archives. With the awful shooting in Orlando just days ago, it felt more urgent than ever to contribute to making the diversity of American history more public, more accessible, and more human.
In this case study presented at MCN 2015, I discussed the National Gallery of Art’s innovative approach to developing serial content for social media as illustrated through the #ArtAtoZ initiative.
Every two weeks, the Gallery explored a new topic in art (i.e., asymmetry, brushstroke, color, and drawing) across multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest). This focus on broad topics allowed the Gallery to leverage its extensive permanent collections as well as draw upon a diverse array of staff expertise including curatorial, education, archives, conservation, and horticulture. The “A to Z” concept also afforded museum staff the ability to plan up to a year ahead, as the set of 26 topics was set at the beginning of the year. The added benefit of this structure was the ability to collaborate with other institutions and build momentum over time. From the perspective of the social media user, one was invited to dig deeply into a given topic over the course of two weeks rather than receive seemingly random bits of information each day.
Social media followers were encouraged to engage with the broad theme in myriad ways included guided looking, guessing games, and challenges to respond creatively. In this talk, I shared findings from ongoing evaluation of the initiative, including what we learned about optimizing content in order to generate the most conversation, sharing, and other engagement.
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?
I’m thrilled to be the latest writer featured in the “Meet a Museum Blogger” series on Jamie Glavic’s Museum Minute blog. In it, I give some background on why I started this blog, and how grateful I am to the online community of museum professionals for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and opinions in a public forum.
Museums SHOULD be about enlightenment, inspiration, or quiet reflection.
Museums should NOT be about fun and entertainment.
Frankly, I’m a bit sick of these blanket pronouncements, from both sides of the aisle. While CNN’s opinion piece “Why I Hate Museums” laments how boring museums are, the New York Times bit “High Culture Goes Hands-On” rails against not just people having fun in museums but even people having a shred of “engagement” in museums. You can see more examples of black and white arguments about what museums should and shouldn’t be (and what “good” and “bad” visitors are) in the comments on the CNN article and in letters to the NYTimes editor.
Before we can measure social media success, we must first be able to answer the question: Why is social media important for museums and what are we hoping to achieve?
What outcomes are you hoping to achieve with social media?
Are your social media practices engaging online communities to their greatest potential?
How do you know if you are achieving your goals?
How can you take your social media initiatives to the next level?
These four key questions were explored during the “Engaging Visitors with Social Media” workshop I presented at the IMLS WebWise Conference (March 6, 2013).
Participants saw and heard about:
- Inspirational case studies from inside and outside the museum and library sectors
- Pursuing marketing, education, crowdsourcing, and advocacy goals through social media
- Organizational models for social media management
- Optimizing social content through data analysis
- Taking your efforts to the next level with a paid-earned-owned mix of activities
We discussed and brainstormed about:
- Defining the value and goals of social media for your organization
- Identifying desired outcomes
- Setting the right tone and voice for your organization
- Overcoming fear and risk-aversion
Hands-on activities helped us explore:
- How content goes viral
- Connecting social tools to organizational strategy and capabilities
- Determining which social media platforms are right for your target audiences and goals
Platforms covered included: