@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • Snow, Social Media and Museums

    January 20th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    snowGlobeI’m often asked why / how sectors (cultural and business) should use social media and this snowy weather has been a great example. Since the snow started in the UK this week, I’ve witness some prime customer service that  proved another value for social media (for those still unsure).  Tweets and Facebook updates went beyond the collection and that was absolutely brilliant.  It showed a pulse behind the walls – it showed the humanist side that is oh so important with *social* media.

    The following are just a few examples that I’ve seen.

    Delayed opening and Closure information.  Like many schools, museums were playing that ‘Do we stay open or do we close’ game that they recognized was inconvenient for those wanting to visit.  Being completely honest and transparent with the updates lessen the blow for those that were planning on visiting but couldn’t. Why?  Because as annoying as it was, the updates explained the reason behind the decision.

    Museum / Gallery had to close?  Not a problem as many shared activities on the website to keep kids / family occupied. Apps and games were big suggestions but seen a few recommendations of books and other websites.

    Transportation information (including bus routes) were being shared so even if the venue was staying open, you knew what public transportation was running (or not running as the case may be).

    Sharing of local information – not just museum related.  Lots of local independent businesses were trying to stay open and I caught a few tweets that mentioned the venue was closing but to get a nice slice of cake at the local bakery, etc.

    Sharing Snowman pictures – ok, so yes yes everyone was sharing snowman pictures.  But a few clever people did non-traditional snowmen that were brilliant.  It didn’t have anything to do with the museum or art gallery but it fell under the ‘creative’ heading and it was refreshing to see the venues taking part in the fun of the moment.

    Recommendations of checking on neighbours and homeless.  This wasn’t just museums doing this but it was nice to see museums and cultural venues reminding their followers.

    As it’s just the start of the ‘winter season’ I’m sure we’ll have many more snow/ice days to contend with.

    If you were one of the museums who tweeted one of the above – THANK YOU!  If you weren’t, maybe next time? 


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3 responses to “Snow, Social Media and Museums” RSS icon

  • Some of us were lucky to be in areas of the UK not plastered with snow. Here in Dartmouth we counted 32 flakes going past our window. We did retweet relevant travel information, and that we were open, but that was, broadly, as far as we could go to be helpful.

    We think there comes a point with a global audience that tweets can be too local. There’s a line that’s hard to define that one ought not to cross, at least too often.

    As the social media bloke for our museum I agree with most of the points in your article, indeed, if used sparingly, I agree with all of them. There is just a point where one has to be careful not to be a “Me too!” organisation.

    A museum’s tweets (etc) should, in my view, always go beyond the collection. Indeed the collection and the museum itself should be the least part of the social media stream. We tale a very particular view on that. See http://dartmouthmuseum.org/things/social-media.html (if this comment box did ‘preview’ I’d know if I had to link that or if it links automatically).

    We believe passionately in using social media to have fun, because only by our enjoying ourselves will our readers have fun with us. Folk who have fun with us come to visit. Or we go to visit them, though that is almost incestuous with museums! But today we gave another museum information via our twitter feed on something of interest to them, and we were invited to a future event at their place.

    We have several audiences, those if us who put our heads above the parapet, including:

    * Family – our industry sector
    * Friends – those who have chosen to follow us because they like us
    * Casual readers – those whose attention we may catch in a retweet from someone else
    * Those planning a visit – We’re a tourist area attraction, so most of our visitors are walk-ins. We hope to attract those who plan, too.

    Somehow, even in snow, we must still address all these diverse groups. Sometimes we even succeed!

    • We think there comes a point with a global audience that tweets can be too local. There’s a line that’s hard to define that one ought not to cross, at least too often.

      I don’t agree – at least not as a general statement. It should be what works best for the venue. What I provided in this post were examples seen across all of Twitter, not necessarily just UK. Did I care if a bus or tube was running in London? No, but it did give me the idea to tweet my followers to check public transportation before they went out.

      There is just a point where one has to be careful not to be a “Me too!” organisation.

      Not sure I know what you mean. As related to this post:
      a) it’s ok to speak on behalf of your venue especially when it’s a specific weather-related update
      b) it was suggested that most of the updates weren’t really related to the venue but the community
      c) there were plenty of other non-snow tweets but didn’t feel it necessary to mention as it wasn’t on-topic.

      Every venue obviously has different needs. My observations were related to the sector as a whole. As a lecturer I’m a firm believer in throwing everything out there and letting the reader catch only what they need and throw back what isn’t.

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