Posts Tagged ‘social media’
How can the internet change the way that we conduct research in the humanities? This is a question that scholars have been asking since the earliest days of the web, but as our own relationship with the internet develops through the growth of social networks and smart phones, we continue to find new answers to this question. In my February post I discussed the ways that museums are reaching out to involve adults in the exhibition planning process. These efforts usually take place outside of the museum on interactive online platforms. post: Notes on Modern and Contemporary Art Around the Globe takes these efforts to engage the public a step further. post is a new interactive research platform developed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It was launched just two months ago and the concept is still relatively new, but hopefully the website will blossom into a lively community of amateur researchers working alongside scholars affiliated with the MoMA and beyond. The idea is that users will contribute to bibliographies and research, as well as engage in meaningful discussions about contemporary art. In many ways the idea is an elaboration on the idea of community curation. But rather than solicit the community to help plan an exhibition, post brings amateur art lovers, scholars, and artists from outside of the museum into the conversation at an earlier research stage. The resulting collaboration will then feed back into the work of the museum. Read more.
Last year, I wrote a post about Broadcastr.com, which allows users to record and present “location-based” stories online. A few weeks later, another location-based site launched: HistoryPin.com. There, users can post audio stories AND photos, videos, and text to a location on a map, as well as create collections and tours. For instance, check out this neighborhood tour created by the San Francisco MTA Archives. Don’t miss the fade-out tool in the right-hand sidebar, which allows you to see the modern-day photograph as well as the historic image of the same location. Impressive.
But if you want to share stories based around people, not places, these tools are less useful.
Earlier this month, a librarian drew some well-deserved media attention for creating Facebook profiles for two students from the 1910s. Unfortunately, the profiles also violated Facebook’s terms of service (and now seem to have been removed, probably due to all the attention).
So how can institutions easily share stories based around people and families? More importantly, how can we share these stories on platforms that already have a built-in audience?
One possibility may be 1000Memories.com. Its users can post images and stories, create digital family trees, and comment on their own and others’ content. And users can do it all using their Facebook profiles, theoretically connecting one social network with another.
With “memories” in the site’s name, it’s not surprising that much of the current content seems to date to the last 50 years or so. But I don’t see any technical limitations on posting older images and content. The site also offers an app that allows you to digitize photographs using your iPhone. (Lacking the requisite iPhone to test out the app, I can’t tell you much about how it works or what kind of images it produces.)
I’ll be watching to see whether any cultural institutions decide to give it a try.
This time of year is known for many things: holidays, the beginning of winter, and a barrage of end-of-year fundraising appeals.
Online giving is especially important in December, as people rush to make donations before the end of the tax year. In fact, a significant portion of online giving apparently happens in the final two days of the year. I guess we’re a nation of procrastinators. Fortunately, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, many nonprofit groups are seeing better fundraising results this year compared to 2010.
One interesting strategy I ran across this year was organized by the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. The Council’s “Ways to Share . . . A Holiday Wish List” compiled organizations’ needs from around the state into one go-to resource for potential donors. Groups could list specific items they needed, as well as volunteer opportunities and a “big wish” item. Then, in addition to posting the resource on its own web site, the Council posted highlights from the list to its 450+ followers on Twitter and Facebook — making it very easy for donors to retweet or share on Facebook to their own social networks.
I’d love to see an association of museums or public history sites try a “history holiday wish list” or something similar. Sure, groups would be competing for donations, but we all know that we’re competing no matter what. Pooling marketing efforts just might reach a broader audience than individual organizations would reach on their own.
For other ideas for online fundraising, check out these tips for creating effective online campaigns. And for next year, make sure to investigate some of Mashable’s picks for the best online fundraising platforms.
Happy holidays, and happy fundraising.
Despite my day job in digital humanities, I am a reluctant social media user in my personal life. I dabble here and there, but I know about many social media platforms by reading about them—not using them. I don’t even own a smart phone (gasp!).
But I’m beginning to be persuaded that I’m missing out.
And I’m convinced that if you work at a public history or cultural institution, you’re missing out too if your institution hasn’t embraced at least a couple of these platforms.
Facebook, to take the most obvious example, now has more than 750 million users around the world. Those users reportedly share 30 billion pieces of content each month, including links, photos, news stories, etc.
Twitter has a smaller user base, but that base is now posting an average of 200 million tweets each day. In case you missed it, the White House recently hosted a Twitter Town Hall. You can watch the full video of the July 6 event here, or check out a brief recap of the event in this YouTube video:
Can we as cultural institutions really afford to ignore that large an audience?
Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, FourSquare, LinkedIn, MySpace, various blogging sites . . . the specific platforms may be different, but the basic mindset is the same. And more platforms roll out each month. Google+ launched just three weeks ago, and already has somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 million users. I wish I could say the same thing about my own digital projects!
So what does this mean for those of us who are newer users of these tools?
First, carve out some time to start exploring. Check out how other people are using these platforms, and start an idea list for how you might use a particular social media tool for your own institution. For instance, I recently stumbled across “25 content ideas for your company’s Facebook page;” you’ll have to adapt some of the suggestions to make them work for cultural institutions, but it’s well worth a read.
Second, if you need some other facts to convince your bosses or board members why social media is important, crib from this brief list of statistics or check out the many interesting reports written by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The National Archives is also remarkably open about its social media strategy and how many people it’s reaching.
If you’re a member of LinkedIn, you can find several interesting conversations about museums and social media over at the Museums and the Web group.