@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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    January 7th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    Our third 52 Museums Instagram project has wrapped up for 2018 and overall it has been another huge success! At the end of each week all participants are asked 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 27 respondents to this – not as much as previous years.  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 all of you who took part and made 52 Museums 2018 such a success, and now with over 18.800 followers on the account here’s to an even bigger and better 2019!

    For the 2019 list and sign up information please see this link.

    In the beginning of the year we lost quite a few followers (over 3000) but climbed back up throughout the year to end with an additional 1,200.  We are seeing a lot of likes but not as many comments.  Looking over the account, it seems there wasn’t a lot of questions or post that encourage engagement/interaction with the public.  Post that were longer and had more substances (eg story behind the item in the collection) were popular.  But for 2018 – Stories were the favorite.

    Please note:  The selection of quotes are anonymized as much as possible.

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    January 5th, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    Thank you to everyone who took part, followed, liked, and got involved with @52Museums on Instagram and Twitter in 2018.  It grew bigger than anyone could have expected.  The report for 2018 can be found here.  The year is almost full but there is a waiting list.  The gaps are there as waiting for a few to respond.

    You can find more information about what it is and how it works here.

    The 2018 schedule (and yes this is draft as changes throughout the year happens):

    Please note: if you would like to be on the waiting list, please sign up here

    To see the Google doc of the schedule click here

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    November 27th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    As 2018 is almost over, there have been a few hot topics for museums this year I’d thought I highlight. Now some of these issues have been going on for years/decades but were brought to the limelight again thanks to social media and media being forced to acknowledge the issues. Hopefully, they can be resolved in 2019…

    Museums Need to Change Their Hours

    Once again, there were a few articles related to museums needing to stay open late. We know this. Museums that stay open ‘late’ (and I mean until 8pm on a Thursday) find an impact. Lets face it, when you work 9–5 the last thing you want to do is spend your weekend at a museum or art gallery. Museums run the risk of becoming just for school trips and corporate hire if they are not careful.

    There are some simple solutions such as opening later on a Tuesday (say 11.30 instead of 10) and staying opening until 8pm on a Thursday to help shift the workload for staff.

    It was also mentioned on Twitter that staff has to have their well being looked after and can’t change too much from 9–5 hours. I understand the sentiment there but honestly, every sector has had to change with society to fit in. Even the majority of banks have Saturday hours and one late night.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/mag3737/6087462178

    Yes there are a lot of late night events but they are usually once a month and run around bigger activities which are great! I absolutely love them. But sometimes, people just want to pop into a museum for a bit of culture on the way home after work. There has to be a better balance than what is available right now. And that is going to be probably more complicated for council-run museums however I truly feel a compromise is out there. Monday closure and late Thursday (as mentioned before) works for some but you need to look at your community/demographic and see if maybe early mornings might be better. Read the rest of this entry »

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    November 19th, 2018mardixonCulture, International, theatre

    As many know, #LoveTheatreDay this year was run without a media partner. I knew the workload was going to be heavy but that people who love theatre would really be running the show…

    And I was right.

    Once again, the hashtag #LoveTheatreDay was world trending by 11 am and remained on the list for 5-6 hours. It stayed top trending in the UK pretty much all day.

    World Trending

    But trending does not matter to me. What does matter is people participating. And they did. From students to professionals, people were very open about sharing why they love theatre. Or Theater. (I noticed that both were being used as was #LoveTheatre #LoveTheatreDay2018 etc).

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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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    June 1st, 2018mardixonCulture, International, Tech

    Lately I’ve been busy talking at conferences about social media and running workshops on the same. Why? Because I think many places have now started to realize giving marketing departments or people full time control over social media wasn’t, in many cases, the best move. But marketing isn’t all that cheap. case in point, if you were to take the example of Youtube, buying youtube subscribers is expensive but it works. That can hugely be attributed to Youtube’s gigantic reach. 

    The most important aspect of social media – no matter what subject – is to be social. Constantly telling people of events and not responding to them, or, perish the thought, actually reaching out to people who are tagging you is all one way, and it gets old. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of content out there that people can be sharing, it’s a buyers’ market for the social media user and we should therefore treat those who do tag us with enough respect to acknowledge them or at least some of them (ok for those who get 1000s of tags it might be hard, but one or two responses a day isn’t difficult). It’s another aspect of customer service, we wouldn’t totally ignore someone who came up to the counter, or visitor information desk would we? Yet we think its ok for those who reach out to us on Social media to be ignored. Read the rest of this entry »

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    May 6th, 2018mardixonCulture, International

    Recently, I seen a post about Murder at the Mütter® from Gillian Ladley Media & Marketing Manager @CollegeofPhys, home of @MutterMuseum pointing to an Instagram Story.  As someone who loves Mütter Museum I was really intrigued.  How could an Instagram Story be integrated in a fun, unique way, participatory way? I clicked on the link and was truly blown away so contacted Gillian and asked her for a bit more information to be able to share.

    Guest Blog Gillian Ladley:

    Murder at the Mütter® (it’s a registered trademark) is an event that we have hosted since 2011. Every year the “Murder team” create a new scenario, collaborating with scientists to include tasks that involve real crime scene and forensic analysis. Tickets to the event are very limited and sell out in minutes, so every year we have discussions about how to expand the reach and impact of the event and all the work that goes into it. We’ve talked about video, web content, digital exhibits etc… but like many nonprofits, struggle to get the time and resources to make something happen. Read the rest of this entry »

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