@MarDixon Passionate about culture. Champion for the next generation of Cultural visitors. Defender of Libraries. Digital, Wearable Tech Enthusiast. Sharing knowledge. Troublemaker and/or advocate, depending on what you need.
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    July 28th, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    Recently, I went to Edinburgh with a few friends (Mark and Linda) as our friend Silvia was in the city with her mom. Silvia lives in the states so we don’t get to see her often (I’m giving the reason why we gate-crashed her time with her mom…).

    We had a few ideas of things we wanted to see and do while in Edinburgh but I decided to tweet to get a few more ideas:

    What happened after was truly inspiring and spoke volumes for Edinburgh as a city but also the way more can be done on social media. Every business was recommending another business – some that were the same! It was about raising the city, not themselves and it was so beautiful to read. And yes, we did take a few suggestions on our limited time but we will definitely be going back to Edinburgh! 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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    January 3rd, 2017mardixonCulture, International

    Our first 52 Museums Instagram project has wrapped up for this year and overall it has been a huge success, far better than even expected. At the end of each we ask all participants to complete a survey, give us their thoughts on how it went; what went well and what could be done better in the future. We had 44 respondents to this, which is amazing, thank you to everyone who took the time to send in their feedback it really does help us to make it even better for everyone each year.

    Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took part and made 52 Museums 2016 such a success, and now with over 13,700 followers on the account here’s to an even bigger and better 2017!

    [For the 2016 list and sign up information please see this link.]

    Please Note:  I took out the names for the quotes to ensure anonymity.

    52 Museums – Participant Feedback

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    January 1st, 2017mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    For the past few months (cough 2016 cough) I’ve been observing the lack of conversations and rise of marketing on ALL social media (I know Twitter gets blame a lot for this but really Facebook and Instagram aren’t much better and Snapchat isn’t really known in the museum world yet and most young people prefer it that way).

    Yes most cultural venues will get involved with hashtags and things like @52Museums but on a daily basis it seems social media has turned into one massive scheduled marketing job and quite frankly it’s doing the sector a dis-justice. If you don’t have the time to spend a few minutes a day being SOCIAL then why should we (the public) find the time to visit? As I said before, I feel the visitors are looking for an emotive experience now (as oppose to academia) and marketing is NOT emotive.

    Yes we understand the burden. You have to tell people what is available so that they visit (and hopefully spend money) but there are ways of marketing in a social tone. The public can smell scheduled updates.

    In fairness, I feel I’m also at fault in this. I’ve been so busy in 2016 that I seem to only post when sharing events for others or hashtags. So I’m putting my money where my mouth is an I’m going to try to chat to at least 3 people a day on social media and respond to as many as I can.

    Sounds simple but like most comms people, traveling, life and hectic schedule sometimes gets in the way but really it shouldn’t be hard for me to reach out and engage.

    Cultural Sector can easily pick three people to say:

    • ‘Did you enjoy your visit?’
    • ‘What was your favourite item/piece?’
    • ‘Thanks for visiting!’

    Even better they can share some of the experience of what is happening in the venue at the time – for example share a few overheard conversations from visitors or staff.

    Stephen Fry once said Twitter is like falling leaves, you catch a few as the come down and admire the beauty of those on the ground. We need to do more of this.

    So who is up for the challenge to #BringSocialBacktoSocialMedia?

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    September 8th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    instagram-1Since launching @52Museums I’ve been amazed to see the growth of museums on Instagram (yes it was happening before but this is my point of view). As the project has been running, more and more museums have contacted me to join in on the list and to say they are starting an Instagram account just because of @52Museums which is brilliant!

    Every museum who host @52Museums is asked to fill out an exit form at the end of their week. I will share the complete findings after we have a year in but the feedback has been very positive. All said they would do it again and all said they felt it was worthwhile. With this account they get the open instructions:

    • If you can post a few for LA time, East coast and Europe time that makes a difference.
    • Post 7-10 times a day – it sounds like a lot but really works with our current audience.
    • Try  things you can’t do on your own account.
    • HAVE FUN!

    Another project I run is @AskACurator Day (September 14th 2016 – eek!). There are over 1200 museums on the list to take part (with more signing up each day). It got me thinking that I should combine the @52Museums list with the @AskACurator list to make a ‘Master List’. Sounds simple enough, right?

    How wrong I was. But it has led to some insight that I’d like to share:

    Please note,Museums on Instagram form with link to list is here (I need to get over AskaCurator day before I have time to combine everything).

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    August 15th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    IMG_3696Something I’ve been thinking about lately is stories.  No not intellectual novels (although I do love a good book!) but stories on Snapchat and Instagram.  I’m the first to admit I’m not a strong Snapchat user but Instagram I get.

    However, since Instagram brought out Stories I’ve been trying to get my head around why… I mean yes I know it’s trying to compete with Snapchat but why do platforms feel the need to morph into it’s ‘competition’ instead of just letting it be? [Edit to add this article Snapchat is acquiring mobile search app Vurb for $110M+  Aug 15]

    I took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram today to ask the simple question:

    What are your thoughts on @instagram Stories vs @Snapchat Stories? Do you use either? Trying to get more of an idea about them. Which do you prefer and why? #socialmedia

    Read the rest of this entry »

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    April 11th, 2016mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Credit: ‎@creoconceptsgh

    This is a conversation that started when someone mentioned the routine questions received on social media when the answers are obviously on the website.  This took me by surprise as my first reaction is always to tweet/ask on social media as often I’m on my phone and don’t want to waste data clicking away on websites (especially bespoke ones where Contact Me isn’t where you find the address but a lovely form).

    What I did find funny was the fact that many of the social media people were annoyed by the same questions: directions, open times, cost but I wonder how many took the time to do something to streamline the information.  Maybe a pinned tweet for half term, link directing them to Most Asked Questions on their bio instead of a link to their next exhibition, etc.

    I started thinking more about it and took to twitter for my first ever poll and as you can see from the results, I’m in the minority!

    At least that is the impression the poll gives.  However, many (and I mean many) follow up conversations give light to the reason the poll might have been skewed.  Here’s a selection of responses:

    What is your opinion on this? 

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    December 20th, 2015mardixonCulture, International

    UPDATE: @52Museums is fully booked for 2016 but there is a waiting list and planning 2017 already.   Also, if you’re a museum on Instagram, please add yourself to the Museums on Instagram List.

    52Museums-8

    A few weeks ago I was on Instagram and noticed how my friend Chris Webb’s project 52Quilters was still going strong and growing. The object is simple: once a week someone takes over the Instagram, Twitter and Blog account and shares their experience on being a quilter.

    I went to sleep and woke up at 5am with one of those moments – this could work for museums. By 9am @52Museums was happening. Well I say happening, the accounts were created and a Google Form for sign up was made. There has been a few mistakes made along the way (like I should have created a form that only allowed one week to be chosen or any week as it turned into a logistic nightmare) but thankfully, museums are brilliant at adapting to changes (no seriously!!).

    The final schedule still isn’t final as over 80 museums have signed up. Museums are collaborating with other museums either via similar collections, cities or a fun challenge.

    This project is all about museum(s) sharing anything they want for the week on Instagram. Every museum that signed up is going to help engage with the account for the year – so local museums will get the same support as the nationals.

    Feel free to get involved, either with questions, likes, favorites or discussions. Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 22nd, 2015mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    MuseumCampPoster6Today I held MuseumCamp as part of the Vienna Art Week. While it was a small, intimate group we managed to cover many topics and eat A LOT of cupcakes! First and foremost I have to thank eSel (in particular eSeLat) for the invite to be Artists in Residence and showcase MuseumCamp during Vienna Art Week.

    Topics:

    Social Media: In Vienna – the uptake to social media is slow. While the public may or may not be using it, the museums seem to be using it for PR/marketing many and to chat to other museums. Not sure where the public comes in but the good news is they seem to recognize it and want to change! For example, as stated by Jennie Carvill ‘engagement in twitter initiatives like #Askacurator or the like is still also largely lacking.’ Is that due to the museums or the public? I’m still not sure.

    Hashtags: Another topic was the use of signage in museums to encourage sharing. While at Albertina Museum and Leopold Museum I saw they are great with the signage, but not everyone is sharing. In some museum the reasons are similar – no wifi due to signal issues in the thick (or metal!) walls. But we discussed ways to encourage more participation. I shared Andrew Lewis’ newest case study as an example. And talked about Pompidou #KoonSelfie signage (and the use of a book competition to encourage sharing).

    QR Codes: When the topic of new technology came up, it was mentioned that some museums tried 3 years ago with QR codes but many of the public had no idea what they were or how to use. However, now that the advertisers are using them more on posters/signs in the streets, it might be worthwhile to try again on a small exhibition.

    Periscope: We discussed how many museums / galleries allow for pictures that maybe they can start to implement Periscope into their sharing. As someone who uses Periscope, I was glad to learn that perhaps there is a way to capture the comments and hearts also which is a great benefit!

    IMG_2932Building Communities: One of the difficulties I’ve personally seen in Vienna is the struggle to gain trust with communities. As Vienna is small, many people attend events as a group. It’s hard for an individual to ‘break that cycle’. This spills over to museum/art gallery people. They don’t tend to attend events or conferences to network. I’ve visited museums (and shared along the way) and attended many Vienna Art Week events and tried to introduce myself to new people and while they were always polite the conversation never led anywhere. To be honest, it was a bit frustrating as I probably attended more events that weren’t related to my work but the social integration was closed.

    I talked about DrinksThing and as a way to break the communication barriers. As Will Stanley and I know, it isn’t always a first time success but over time, if they are consistent I’m sure it’ll grow. While there were a few examples mentioned of Tweetups for museum people – they seem to give up a bit too earlier. DrinksThings did not take off over night and some nights it was only 3 people who showed. But we were consistent in a monthly event and soon gained the trust of others. However, it’s vital that people in Vienna find the right platform for communications (DrinksThing is twitter and Attending.io based but perhaps Facebook group is more practical here). I noticed that newsletter were stronger in their way to communicate.

    We also discussed stARTcamp Wien which happens in Vienna on December 10. It’s a barcamp like MuseumCamp. They to have the issues of people to attend and know why/how it’s important. I’m hoping to be able to support them more in furture.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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