@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
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    April 3rd, 2019mardixonCulture, International


    Guest blog by Ann Vanrolleghem who runs social media for Texture, museum of flax and river Lys in Kortrijk, Belgium. About how she experienced the Instagram takeover @52museums.

    Previously

    Who could have known that meeting Mar Dixon at a FARO conference in Brussels would result in an amazing social media adventure? When Mar talked in November ’18 about her initiative @52museums, a weekly international Instagram takeover for museums, all my alarm bells went off. Would this not be a great opportunity for our small museum Texture to show ourselves to the big world, an international community of museum lovers? Yes, I was immediately won over by the idea, so I jumped right in (yes, I’m impulsive… read my previous guest blog) and I’ve put Texture, museum of flax and river Lys, on the waiting list for 2019. And it felt like a Christmas gift when I heard the news we got accepted! And then the big fun started…

    Episode one: OMG, having an identity crisis

    It is one thing to apply in all your enthusiasm, it is another thing to actually do it! My first reaction was total excitement, but then I started to have some doubts… The account @52museums is not a small account and I didn’t want to embarrass myself nor the museum. I wanted to do a great job (who doesn’t?), so I started to think how I was going to structure the week of the takeover. Content planning like the experts call it. What would I tell? How would I tell it? What pictures would be great? And in this process of thinking… I had an identity crisis (OMG)… Do I know enough about the museum I work for to tell both interesting as well as fun stories? So, step one for me was to dig deeper into our collection. I digested a lot of info in a small period of time and also took the time to wander off into the museum. Yes, you really should do that! Armed with all the extra intel, I felt more confident and started to put up a schedule for the takeover. In seven days I would build up a story, starting from what is flax and how we use it in everyday life. It was an important lesson for me to find a way to tell our story to people who don’t know us, but who would hopefully like us. And that is a lesson I will keep in mind when writing posts for our own museum account.

    Episode two: Relax, just do it and have fun!

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    January 27th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    Who knew how powerful a hashtag could be? Ok ok, I always said it was one incredible way to spread the word but I never expected it would be so powerful and change laws.

    There was a feeling that #MuseumSelfie #MuseumSelfieDay was going to be big a few weeks prior as although I never care about stats I did notice I was getting a lot of hits from countries that were new to CultureThemes. Then the Sunday prior it was being promoted on a Sunday Breakfast show in the UK.

    All the hashtags on CultureThemes are created for small and medium museums (as large and nationals have more options to get involved). Countries that are new to social media (which we assume everyone has been on it since the beginning and that just is not true) loved that there was an excuse to be involved without red hands – you know the ones that get smacked for doing something wrong. They could simply blame a trending hashtag – Simple!

    CultureThemes and MuseumSelfieDay are on twitter and Instagram but it’s always encouraged to run the hashtag on whichever platform is best for your community and followers. And I don’t mind if you change the hashtag to make sense for your own language.

    If you are here looking for stats or metrics, sorry, I can’t help. Truth is I don’t have money to afford to buy the third party software to allow that. But also is I really could care less about the numbers. Actions can’t be captured in numbers. Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 12th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    I really want to write up about the who conference but this is vital for everyone going to any conference – BE SOCIAL and take a risk to explore new areas! Thank you so much Ann Vanrolleghem for letting me explore @8500Kortrijk

    From Ann:
    I never felt the urge to write a blog post. No, that’s not 100% true. I already felt the urge before, but this time, I feel I really have to do it. I have to write this down. I have to share this. This is my story of how one tweet at a conference can make a difference.

    ***

    Last Friday I attended a conference about participation in Brussels organized by FARO, the Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage. In the afternoon I attended the workshop “yes, you can, participation through social media” by Mar Dixon, a well-known social media star within the cultural world. For us, museum people, she is divine. Trust me. It was an inspirational and hands-on session and I left Brussels to head back home to Kortrijk with great enthusiasm.

    The following morning, I checked Twitter. Part of my morning routine as a social media lover I suppose and there I saw a tweet of Mar Dixon. Saying she wanted to visit some museums and if anyone hanging around #faronet wanted to join her…

    Me, being more impulsive than I thought, replied, saying she should come over to Kortrijk to visit Texture, the museum of flax and river Lys where we have a great temporarily exhibition called BIOLACE. And also to sniff the ambiance of the last weekend of our city festival PLAY. I suggested to come play in confetti…

    And I don’t know if it was the confetti that pulled her over, or that is was something else… but she quickly replied… and in just mere minutes we talked about how she could come to Kortrijk by train and how to organize it all. It was just one tweet that started a rollercoaster of events.

    ***

    In the afternoon Mar arrived by train in Kortrijk. And you are not gonna believe this. But she stepped out of the doors of the train, exactly where I was waiting for her. It was surreal… and that was just the beginning of a great afternoon! Read the rest of this entry »

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    October 26th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Recently I was able to do another whirlwind international tour and something was highlighted once again – people love museums. And people who work in museums love museums.

    So why do you keep working against us?

    The issues are usually very similar:

    • Lack of money
    • Lack of resources
    • Lack of management support
    • Low Morale

    While these issues might possibly always be there, some things you can change to help elevate these issues.

    Lack of money: For argument’s sake, we’ll take money off the table because lets be honest, it’s a common denominator worldwide. If we can sort the other issues, the money issues might actually be less of an issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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    September 16th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    During #AskACurator 2018 I tried to capture some of the different conversations.  This is more for me than for anyone to think this is an overall statement of the day (because I am not the one that can or will ever capture everything!)

    Highlights: 

    Museums talking to each – Australia and New Zealand really set the tone for 2018 as there weren’t a lot of questions at first so they took the bull by the horns and starting asking questions amongst themselves – then the public got involved and next thing you know it’s trending 2nd in all of Australia.

    First Tweet from @MOTAT_NZ 9:13pm 11-09-2018

     

    By the time I jumped back Russia and Europe were in full swing (not so much UK at that point) and the tone remain positive, light, inquisitive, fun, interesting and most importantly educational.

    Questions:

    I usually try to ask a few general questions to get things going.  This year they were mostly ignored which to me is AMAZING because that meant there were so many other questions being asked mine weren’t needed!

    https://twitter.com/MarDixon/status/1039646722090303488

    What do you Wear?

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    September 2nd, 2018mardixonCulture, International

    On August 22, @CultureThemes ran #MusMeme for the monthly hashtag.  As I often talk about, finding a hashtag once a month isn’t always easy and there is a balance of finding a hashtag that works with the public and culture venues alike.  For August, I usually try to find a hashtag that will be quirky-ish but light as September is always busy with #AskACurator Day (September 12th 2018)…. did I get that one wrong!

    All I put was:

    Our next CultureThemes is going to be #MusMeme – a day to share memes all about museums, galleries, art, collections, etc. on August 22!

    The general idea is to let the public and museums have a bit of creative license and fun with collections.

    Simple, right? If people got involved, great! If not, that was ok to!

    They got involved.  A LOT.  By 11am it was trending in the UK and pretty much stayed there all day almost into the evening. This screenshot is from 2.30pm

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    November 19th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal
    At the end of October I ran a poll on twitter (but shared publicly on my Facebook page also asking a simple (so I thought) question:
    The options on the poll (which is limited to 4 on Twitter Polls):
    • Watch Netflix
    • Go to a museum/gallery
    • See a play/opera
    • Other (Please comment)
    Hindsight is beautiful as we all know as I really should have put something about reading in there but felt ‘Other’ would provide a catchall.
    Surprisingly on Twitter alone there were 501 votes.  Mainly felt originally that ‘my followers’ would skew the results to be (obviously) museums but I have to say a) my followers are diverse from museums/galleries, digital/tech, theatre/opera, publishing/book/libraries, and loads of just fun people that like to chat. Same goes for my Facebook (although add in family, friends and school mates who some I don’t even remember but our school was so small I am sure I know them).

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    May 8th, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    Recently I was able to attend #SharingisCaring in Hamburg to run a workshop on using social media and being social about it.  I had a great time and challenge people to create social media content from random items I placed on their table.

    The brilliant thing about the timing of the conference is it fell in line with their Long Night in Museums program. I’ve been to a few Late Museums nights (in Europe and Russia) and what I really love about them is they are open ALL.  NIGHT.  Not just until 10 or 11pm – but 3-4-5 am.  In Hamburg the added bonus was the ticket price of €15 includes public transport – how amazing and inclusive is that?  Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 13th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I noticed something on social media that I didn’t really like seeing.  I had hoped I was wrong but decided to ask others their thoughts:

     

    I felt I should share a few of the responses here.  What is important to remember is I was not talking about all museums or in one area.  It seems to be an international issue and I’m pretty sure it’s not because the social media managers like this either!  Maybe management feels social media managers have everything scheduled so can do 25 other things that really aren’t under their remit.  Social media managers rock and we shouldn’t at all blame them – most I spoke to privately hate it as much as we do!

    However, brands (and museums are a brand) do sometimes forget that numbers aren’t the answer – loyalty also plays a role and can’t always be quantified. Does that mean it doesn’t matter?  Of course not!  And does it mean that museums, especially larger, more popular museums should respond to every one who tags them?  Of course not.  But it does mean they need to at least be shown to make an effort – even just once a day to engage with visitors and non-visitors.  It doesn’t hurt to ask someone who tags you how they are doing….

    I also asked on Facebook and LinkedIn and the responses were an eye opener. What are your thoughts? What can be done to make social media more social and get us back to having conversations instead on constant marketing and pr jammed down our throats?

    And for clarification, I need to add that this is the same on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – so it’s not a platform issue.

    LinkedIn

    Mät King
    It’s a common problem with social media. People and companies tend to spend more time trying to engage with celebrities/bigger brands/more popular museums etc than actually engaging with those who follow or engage with them. This hierarchy is a very odd consequence of class structure/knowing your place and a general insecurity common to many who have been part of an organised education system. It’s very similar to how people will listen to those with no qualifications or , indeed, abilities in a subject because they are famous or are born with a title.

    Facebook

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!  

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    March 27th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    It’s something we’re all too used to – funding cuts & threats in the culture sector.  Whether it’s museums, libraries, art galleries or theatres (and everything in between), culture seems to have been the easy hit for most of the people with the purse strings.

    It’s been happening globally for more years than necessary and recently the new American administration has threaten NEA, PBS and other vital funding streams many of the museums and art galleries in the states rely on to survive. [NB See #ThankyouIMLS #StandUpForMuseums #SaveTheNEA #SaveTheNEH and #ThankyouNEH]

    As many may or may not know @CultureThemes was created purely out of the funding cuts that happened in the UK.  While it was great for many museums (and social media managers) to discuss what this meant, it was vital that the conversations were open for all (eg young people and other ‘groups’ that are hard to reach, etc).  The first hashtag with CultureThemes was ‘WhyILoveMuseums’ and went world trending – why?  Because people do love museums and art galleries but we need to ASK THEM every once in awhile WHY.  This goes for staff also!

    Recently I decided to do the same thing in a subtle way.  (Any sadly the day I asked it my phone broke so apologies for the delay in getting this shared).

    For the Twitter & Instagram responses I was able to do a Storify which you can find at the bottom of this article or link is here.  For those that prefer infographics, there’s a free site for that …

    The over-arching ideas is for museums to share stories from past, present and the future.  Being there for the next generation to learn from is also highlighted.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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