This blog article, http://blogs.walkerart.org/newmedia/2013/04/05/secrets-of-a-museum-social-media-manager/, gives some good practical advice for managing social media for a museum. Two points it makes seem important: 1. Excellent writing skills are needed, and 2. Timing is very important. One point I had not thought of is that all web content may not be under one person’s control. In larger institutions you may have different people in multiple departments posting on various social media sites with no attention to who is posting what and when. Reader’s can be hit with too many posts sent back-to-back and get bored or annoyed. If you are in one of those departments it seems prudent to stay up to date on what is being published on your museum’s social media and post at the best times. If you are in charge of the social media activities for the whole museum/site/etc., some effort may be required to educate colleagues or control over-posting.
Ironically enough, this article was written in response to Sonya’s article. The author resonated with Hurley’s article because he is also working on a digital project. What is awesome, is this article reinforces a lot of the themes we have been discussing. Primarily our discussion this evening about knowing your demographic. Furthermore, Hochfelder highlighted the importance of making our audiences feel relevant. Doing “cool” academic, and even public historian-ish activities, can often times repel our audiences.
While he and Hurley both make valid points, I wonder if museums should do those cool innovative things. Museums have been behind the technology race lately. Should museums be taking larger risks in technology that might make some visitors feel left out? Or should we stick to safer technological outlets?
Time Warner Cable likes to send me news links from time to time with a local story that connects their efforts to the broader Triad. I received a link this morning to this article about a local group that creates a tour that brings visitors of the area to what is described as the “hidden gems” of the Triad. The list includes some museums and historic sites like Korner’s Folly, and to places that are more child-friendly like SciWorks.
I wonder though, would these be the audiences that each site could collect data from or focus a social media campaign to outside of their own following or would it compel any of these places to broaden their use of social media?
This article, published in the Public Historian, intersects nicely with out readings for this week about social media and technology in public history. The author, Andrew Hurley, writes about a project that had some major missteps using technology in public history. He cautions that it’s important to meet your audience and community needs where they are now, not where we we want them to be. I especially liked the quote: “It is worth asking whether the technology has improved public history’s capacity to achieve one of its central goals, the animation of enlightened civic activism.”
Undoubtedly, there are some major resources that public historians can use with technology. In the same respect, however, we need to be cognizant that we are still reaching audiences that may be underserved. How are we still reaching, and engaging with larger audiences using technology? By using technology, are we pushing away audiences? Some interesting points to consider.
The reading this week about engaging with social media in the digital age led me to think about hashtags. This article is one example of how museums and historic sites can use hashtags in order to share information from their specific sites, AND to encourage participation from their followers.
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Fox and NBC have both posted this article about the Smithsonian African American History museum creating an exhibit about Bill Cosby’s successes and influence in the African American Community. His rape accusers are up in arms about this, as they believe the museum is deliberately ignoring the situation Cosby has recently been in.
This brings up the question: Are museums responsible for telling every grimy detail, or is it up to interpretation? I think it’s safe to say that we all have a love for Cosby, from the Cosby show or his way of making us all want a puddin’ pop. Likewise, the accusations hit many of us hard.
The problem I find here is his career and accomplishments are supposed to be celebrated in this exhibit, but the accusers want his whole life to be chalked up to a series of accusations that couldn’t be proven. The museum seems to want to highlight the good he has done for his community as a role model, but does that mean they don’t have to discuss the hard topics? Moreover, is it the responsible for the museum to include a narrative that was not only dismissed by courts, but puts Cosby in such a position that he will never be allowed any peace?
I read this article on the AASLH’s blog today and thought it had some great tips. Nicholas Hoffman, curator at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin, writes about some tips and strategies to still delivering meaningful and impactful exhibits while being constricted to a very slim budget. A lot of this goes back to what Lisa Junkin Lopez talked about last week with knowing what your assets are. Hoffman writes that curators and museum staff should utilize the community – record oral histories, involve community members in the conversations you’re having, and ask for collections donations. Even on a shoestring budget, recognizing the assets that your staff, institution, and community have to offer can provide greater resources and materials.