Museum Studies at Tufts University

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Tag: social media

NEMA Workshop: Social Media as a Tool for Academic Engagement

From a NEMA bulletin; this one looks like a really interesting take on an issue (social media) that’s getting a lot of press lately.

Campus Connection: Social Media as a Tool for Academic Engagement

Thursday, August 11, 2011
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, MA
Registration Deadline: August 4, 2011Register Online

Within a culture that has a thirst for social networking and desire for instantly updated information, the college audience especially seems to be plugged in 24/7. Social media can transform your relationship with the college aged audience, so how do we as institutions dedicated to education take advantage of these tools to engage our core audience: the student body?

Session Topics:

The Psychology of Social Media Networks
Deb Biggar, User Experience Designer
Biggar will break out the social psychology influences that make social media networks popular.  She will focus on usage broken down by demographics and many of the internal motivators that all humans share.  Deb holds a MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University and has designed human-computer experiences for 11 years.

The Museum On-campus and On-line
Kate Rettstadt, Graduate student, Harvard University Extension School
Rettstadt’s thesis is focused on Academic Museums and Galleries and their use of social media to engage their inherent audience.

The Rising Dependence on Social Media at Museums in the U.S
Jane M. Mason, Director of Marketing and Communications, Ohio Historical Society
Mason co-authored a case study with Sara Schultz, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. The study is featured in Sustainable Museums of the 21st Century  and discusses engaging museum visitors through social media in an experimental program at the Walker called “Open Field.”

Social Media Strategy and Management
Michael Byrnes, Senior Account Executive, Matter Communications
Social media can transform your relationship with college-aged audience if it is used correctly. Learn how to create and maintain a social media strategy for your institution from a marketing professional.

Personal or Institutional? Finding your ‘Facebook voice’
Maggie Cavallo, Outreach Coordinator, Montserrat College of Art Galleries
Most academic museums and galleries have an institutional facebook page. But who is it for and what language should you use to communicate? Likewise, twitter is a rich source of instantly updated information, but what should you tweet about and who is listening?

Open to all NEMA members and non-members alike. Register today!

Lessons from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

I don’t know how many museums are unionized (I’d love to hear about any, if anyone has some leads), so the specific problem that the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is facing might not have a direct correlation to museums – but other aspects certainly do.

Essentially, the orchestra’s private employment difficulties have spilled out into the public arena via that ever-popular venue for over-sharing, Facebook. Fans of the orchestra are up in arms; the management of the orchestra has made some bad public relations blunders (for example, demanding to know how many of the complaining Facebook fans had ever donated money…), and the striking musicians have set up their own Facebook fan page.

You can listen to the NPR story here.

What can museums learn from this?

Well, there’s the constant lesson that people keep learning about the internet: it’s public. It’s very, very public. That website you made back in 1995 as a stunt for your friends? Yeah, it’s still there somewhere.

Inherent in that broad publicity is a responsibility in two parts. First, be careful what you say out there. Just because the internet makes it easier to be anonymous doesn’t mean it makes it easier to escape repercussions. It also doesn’t remove the necessity of being thoughtful, sincere, and polite – a lesson the majority of anonymous commenters have yet to internalize. The responsibility for civil discourse in the internet age belongs to both sides, moreover – to a museum and its fans.

Second, be honest. Be transparent. Share with courage and emotion. If we’re moving into this brave new world of anonymity and computer screens, it’s incumbent on us to establish human connections to the people behind the usernames. This goes double for museums, I think, which are traditionally regarded as secretive organizations. I’m not saying over-share. I’m saying be honest and sincere about what you do share. Commit with emotion, and people will respond.

(Maybe a third lesson is don’t piss off your donors. For these purposes, donors also includes “potential donors” which is everyone from your elderly grandmother to the three year old who came to the family concert last week. Make bold artistic choices, not boneheaded managerial ones.)

Anyone else take anything else from this? Any other observations on online conduct in the information age for nonprofit organizations?

AAM Webinar on Social Media and Museum Advocacy

In early December, AAM sponsored a webinar on social media and museum advocacy. Led by Stephanie Vance of Advocacy Associates, the presentation provided basic lessons in how to use newer tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to cultivate supporters and engage elected officials. Here are some of Vance’s suggestions:

Blogs: If you’re writing on behalf of an organization, Vance advises avoiding politically partisan messages, but there’s no reason you can’t talk about legislation that affects your museum or ask your audience to let their representatives know how important your museum is to them. She cites I Heart Art: Portland, Small Museum
Association
, and Exploratorium Explainers as examples of blogs that do a good job informing and inspiring their audience beyond just marketing.

Twitter: Search for your museum’s name to see who is already talking about you, and respond to those people. Cultivate followers and let them know about issues your museum is facing, locally or nationally. You can follow AAM (@AAMers) to get advocacy action alerts that you can share. Sign up for your legislators’ Twitter feeds and tag them in relevant messages. For example, Michael Capuano (@mikecapuano) is the congressional representative in Tufts’ district, so you might ask your audience to retweet a message asking him to support FY12 funding for IMLS.

LinkedIn Connect to your city councilors, congressional representatives, mayor’s office, etc. and see if you share any 2nd-degree connections. You may find that a former classmate or colleague has a connection that could help your message find its way to a legislator’s desk more quickly.

Facebook The fastest-growing demographic on Facebook are users who are 35 and older, Vance says, and more and more legislators are using it as a major communication tool. You can “like” your legislators’ pages and post on their walls about upcoming events and community partnerships. Search for your museum on Flickr or YouTube and repost links to any user-generated content that shows their constituents are engaging with your organization.

Once you get the hang of in social media as a way to communicate with legislators and cultivate community supporters, make sure you teach these tools to volunteer committees or friends’ groups who are already valuable “real-world” advocates for your museum.

Speak Up for Museums is AAM’s museum advocacy initiative. Check there for more tips and webinars, and to find out more about AAM’s Museum Advocacy Day, February 28 and March 1 in Washington, D.C. You can view a recording of this webinar as part of AAM’s advocacy trainings website.

Kris Bierfelt is a student in the Tufts Museum Studies certificate program, and works as a freelance writer and editor.

This Place Matters

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a neat project up on its website: This Place Matters.

“This Place Matters” is a simple Google Map on which any visitor to the site can pin a flag, marking a place that matters to them.

The NTHP says “It could be your favorite local diner or a treasured neighborhood movie palace.  How about the school you walked to as a kid; or even your corner grocery store?  It could be a project you’ve taken on yourself, or one being championed by a local preservation society, Main Street organization or other community group.”

At its most zoomed out, the map is a riot of colored flags – most of the eastern seaboard is barely visible. Zoom in and there are all sorts of empty spaces. Click on a flag to read about a spot, who submitted it, and why it matters to them. The NTHP hopes to use this map as a tool to encourage preservation – to identify spots in need of saving and to spark a group consciousness and conversation about why historic preservation is important. It might have been an even more powerful experience if there were a way for multiple people to comment on one flag – to react and converse with each other about places that matter to them. It doesn’t appear that Google allows that sort of thing, however.

There are some really wonderful places on the map, but there’s a lot more that needs adding! So, Tufts museum community – what places matter to you?

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