Tag Archives: museum

re-imagining museums

Photo by _Robert_C_

Photo by _Robert C_

Museums are changing.

That is, the smart ones are.

Museums are getting involved in social media, just as many corporations and brands are: some of them brilliantly, some less so, as we all stumble up the learning curve and discover that online communities are not just another place for an “e-blast,” an impersonal press release, or an automated newsfeed.

So yes, museums are using the tools of the internet to reach audiences old and new, to build their brands, to raise awareness of their programs, collections, and exhibitions. For a look at how museums are using microblogging tools like Twitter, take a look at Beth Kanter’s recent interview of Amy Fox, otherwise known as @museumtweets.

But a few of them are taking that extra step, and playing around with the implications of social media — exploring community-driven content, collective intelligence, crowd-sourcing, and more — and integrating it into what they do and why they do it.

Take a look at what Nina Simon is doing over at Museum 2.0.

And don’t miss Seb Chan’s work at Fresh + New(er) in Sydney, Australia.

And be sure to notice what Jake Barton is doing over at Local Projects.  You’ll recognize some of his projects, and, if you’re at all like me, wonder with barely concealed impatience and excitement as to what he’ll do next.  Wildly creative projects.

I’m starting to frame some research around this phenomenon, as part of my MBA program at the Simmons School of Management in Boston, so I’ll have quite a bit more to say on the subject over the months to come.

In the meantime, if you’re in the Boston area, and want to help get my research started, why not join me for an hour’s conversation about museums and Web 2.0?

I’m running two informal focus groups this coming Thursday and Saturday.  Details are below.  What do you think about museums, technology, community?  What can a museum be?  What should it be?

Thursday, October 23
6:30 – 7:30 pm
Room W-205
Main College Building
Simmons College
300 Fenway
Boston MA

Thursday Focus Group RSVP:


Saturday, October 25
1:00 ­ – 2:00 pm
Room W-205
Main College Building
Simmons College
300 Fenway
Boston MA

Saturday Focus Group RSVP:


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video snacking for cultural organizations

The New York Times published an article by Brian Stelter on Saturday about the growing trend of workers watching short videos online during their lunch breaks, either on YouTube, CNN.com, or elsewhere.

“The trend — part of a broader phenomenon known as video snacking — is turning into a growth business for news and media companies, which are feeding the lunch crowd more fresh content.”

True story! There are thousands of young, mobile, professional internet users out there who are looking for fresh video content every day. In his article, Stelter mentions that there is a wide variety of tastes, too, citing workers who enjoy watching archives clips from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, daily political commentary podcasts, and wire stories from CNN.

Stelter also mentions some of the benefits the viewers see in using a little lunch-at-the-desk time to enjoy some fresh, brief bursts of entertainment:

  1. It keeps your hands free to eat, as opposed to clicking through text content
  2. It can be a communal activity, with workers in nearby cubicles sending each other links throughout the day, which they all then watch simultaneously at midday
  3. Staying at your desk keeps the momentum of the day going, and avoids the interruptions presented by traffic, lines, and crowds.

How can cultural organizations use this information?

If your organization is a performing arts group, and you are already in the habit of recording some or all of your performances, why not consider creating brief (3- to 5-minutes) clips of those performances for lunchtime broadcast?

Here are ten tips for cultural organizations (theaters, opera companies, symphonies, chorales, author readings, museums) thinking about trying to reach lunchtime media snackers:

  1. Record a dress rehearsal of your next production. Break the recording up into brief segments and post them on YouTube.
  2. Tag your videos prodigiously, so that people can find them with a variety of different keywords.
  3. Link from your website to the videos.
  4. Link from the videos to your website.
  5. Link directly to the page that promotes that production, so that viewers can learn more about what they watched with just one click.
  6. Post your links to an aggregator site, like StumbleUpon or Reddit (find more here) to further help people find them.
  7. Blog about them on your organization’s blog (you do have one, right?)
  8. Get creative about your recordings, if you have the time and resources. Interview performers, interview the lights guy, interview the popcorn sellers. Interview the crowd before the show starts.
  9. Be consistent about the length of your segments. Snackers are mostly looking for clips of no more than 5 minutes in length.
  10. Be consistent about posting new content. Fresh Content Daily is the mantra of choice.

What would you add? Is there an organization you know that is doing this well?