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Film: How Museums can bring the social back to Social Media

Mar Dixon, Independent Consultant

Museum Social Media is becoming less social even though more people are using social media platforms than ever… so what’s happening? Where is all the sharing the public is doing going, and can we get back to conversations? Mar talks about the ebb and flow of social media and how museums can bring the focus back to conversation.

I usually walking talks, I apologize if I’m,

I decided I was talking at another conference. I put this slide in, because I’m I just got back from Philadelphia. And we did the escape room, which was what I think that was talking about earlier. And as you can see, we lost, my family has not been able to manage to get out the paper and once but we love going to that experience.

I run something called culture dances, anybody here at culture things before

a couple of people, um, once a month for about six, seven years now, I run a hashtag. And that’s basically what I do.

I started it because in the UK, there was a lot of budget cuts that were happening, and museums, art galleries were using social media to complain about the cuts, and I kept sitting there going, why am I going to visit you guys, if you guys are bitching and moaning that’s not the experience I want.

So the first hashtag that was I did was #WhyILoveMuseums real simple as a hashtag. And it went world trending and it got people to understand or museums to understand that people actually do love you. But you got to actually love this basketball. So and there seems to be an unbalanced sometimes there’s a there’s an expectation that because museums exists, we should like you and and they forget about the competition that they have.

But doing stupid stuff. Actually, I gotta give credit to Jim I met him because he actually started Ask a Curator Day, and then I took it over from him. But that’s actually is maybe not mine. But I did stuff like have Museum Selfie Day, which we’ll talk about I did, I do stuff like left here, which I’m going to talk about, and fixture museums. And as I talk to people about it, they are really silly ideas. But it makes such an impact internationally to people on many different levels.

And I cannot see my screen which way small, so I’ll keep looking at that way also. So he’s saying somebody dying. I’ve been writing this for about four years. And this was this was one of the culture themes. It was December, I was looking for something to do in January, because it is really hard to come up with a hashtag every single month, I gotta say, because you are trying to change them around. And also

So I found out that

In 2014 or 15, the word selfie was putting a dictionary is word of the year I have a daughter who’s a teenager I figured right now at this word is cool. They’re going to stop doing it. So let’s prime museum selfie day in January because nobody’s going to be taking selfies anymore. Kind of was so wrong on that trend.

And it was a filler for me. And I didn’t know what museum selfie one is. I at that point, wasn’t really taking selfies when I went to a museum and I’m just basically put this up and I was like, here’s here’s so its culture, themes. com. This was basically what they are said to people. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But it was just like, I’m fulfilling my obligations to have a hashtag for this month.

And then this happened. And it went mad. And he went mental, and everybody was getting involved in it in their own way. And it was it was quite funny because I had museums contacting me, because every single hashtag that I do, for the most part is done towards the end of the month on a Wednesday, because I found out the debts to slowest day for museums and the public because we’re all authority we have not paid and we need something to do. So dex dex. Why do it on the Wednesday I had museums contacted me saying can you move to date? Because we’re not open on Weinstein? No, sorry, it’s kind of international can’t work around everything. I had other people complaining because technically, people were sharing stuff that weren’t selfies as like, you don’t want to sharing show your face.

I mean, I tried it. I don’t say this for sympathy. But I don’t get paid for this. I do this because somebody needs to do it. And obviously, if you’re within the sector, you probably get fired. Which is why I don’t work in the sector. Because I would get fired repeatedly once a month at this point. But it was about this people just let them deal with the collection however the hell they want, and stop telling them what to do, or how did they and what to do around it.

My telephone one year this has happened all from Philadelphia. So they have semester salon from rocky to post a selfie was pretty awesome for me. Um, but I would a 20 page I got people who were tweeting about the impressions and the numbers and all the metrics that were around it. And none of that means anything to me, because I don’t have any funders. I don’t have to report to anybody. So it’s a I understand it to balance but people complaining about these because the director funded Museum of Fine Arts which I think he’s left now. But he was a coach was in a selfie and people are still bitching about it. And I was just like, but I got to jump director of the Museum of Fine Art to actually take a selfie and getting involved in a project that I could walk up to him today, he would have no idea who I was. But if I say to him I would you know, museum selfie day they’re like yeah, the day just don’t know you know, fair enough. I don’t do it for the frightening but gets it so it’s about how how people were engaging with it with the word and a hashtag was completely different than what I ever envisioned this one was sent to me I think this is 2014 so for what four years now I still have not a clue what any of those numbers are.

But I like to throw this whole idea to show people because you guys might be

impressive I have no idea but it means absolutely nothing what what is more important for me is I know that on that day or running up to that day people are going to a museum taking selfies and having fun

okay staff like not happy having fun but for the most part the public is having five staff has to put up with it

so this is culture themes dot com and this is why I’m here about how basic it was and I wasn’t sure if I would have the internet here so I didn’t I could you describe

your spelling mistakes first crappy graphics there’s there’s like no information with two other other nine here’s the day here’s a hashtag and this is where I think it’s going to mean but we know whatever you guys want to mean you take you take advantage of it so

museum holiday obviously I was in December because I was running out things to do didn’t care it was fine

can talk a little bit more about asking curator day afterwards but the top right hand while I was doing the laundry and I really had a hashtag so I decided to do museum socks the damn thing went world trending

they were supposed to be like a light months for me where I didn’t have to worry about falling to Tiger were paying attention to it but it was people showing the socks and they were wearing a museum or socks that were in collections

and then yeah just like disregard showing your socks and the public showing yourself and I never wanted to see socks again after that it was nice and fun because it was it was something that it was it took off on a gym path again which is what I love about these hashtags I don’t go into it with it thinking that our need to go world trendy or I need this to happen for for for it to happen unless people want to get involved day to the bottom right hand one which I won’t be running again soon but i i saw i need to give everybody a break for a couple years that’s actually a cake I think museum cake day and what my idea was really wanting to see cakes and cafes

and this is what people did they actually made cake out of the collection is that we’re online in a day and then the ad is like you can’t cut that

but yeah it was amazing Nexus One of many that that that had happened or museum cake day and it’s just again it just took a life on its own because I literally didn’t think that was just gonna be people in a cafe shake sharing your food which I would have been happy with my cake

so for accelerator day, which I think I messed up from the side here but we’ll go back to it it’s quite hilarious because Judy started in 2014, 2012 something I don’t know anyway I took over a couple years ago and it’s been growing and growing and growing and and I asked people to sign up I asked museum sign up I really don’t care like I don’t do anything with your data it’s just more for me to say like here’s a dates here’s a reminder

music museums overall internationally hate me for this day because it’s work for them. But the public do love it. And then on this particular day, last year, I actually January Science Museum of Natural History Museum, but contact me because I know I know the people that are there. Okay, we didn’t get a lot of question. So we’re not quite sure like how much involved we’re going to be there share a psycho look on the hashtag. There’s always like, general questions out there. Like, don’t be a snob and wait for people to ask, you know, get your own information. And this person asked the question who would win in a staff battle between Science Museum of Natural History Museum and this ran for 36 hours

I got I kept getting texts from them. They’re like, you know, we’re, we’re all work now. But we’re still doing it. But you’re not getting paid for me. I don’t care go home, do whatever you want.

But what was funny about it was the press picked up on it. so depressed either really picks up on this good stuff where they pick up on the negative stuff. And there were some negative stuff that happened with the British Museum, I think it was,

Which was a misunderstanding, by it was a lesson learned for them on how they respond. But every year, I think that we ran this or the disk array runs, there’s always some negative word or some lessons that can be learned about how a museum to respond or what they respond to, and how they how they go about it. But for the most part, I would say 98% of it is finding an and like banter. And I love when museums talk to each other with the public because I do public to get involved in this battle also,

And as you can see it so went on the next day,

Getting involved in everything

And it was getting it was getting later and later in the day.

We’re getting pissed off.

So yeah, it was Yeah,

and then Australian Museum

guys, we need to go to sleep we need to put this debate Um, but yeah so showing these damn agreements that got the ball involved in the battle and I was just like you guys are on your own i i i’ve done like 36 hours of assay curator day because you guys obviously started like before for me. So it’s always like a 36 hour journey for me. But it was just a fun way to show a hashtag that was supposed to be like a slow day for people actually turned into a a pretty fun day it showed showed the public how the collection is, it showed

people who who might not have wanted a museum or realize what was into collection or, you know, we still get people from the British Museum going into the British Museum looking for dinosaurs, you know, so it’s, it’s a good way for them to signify their collection.

And then just gonna talk briefly about love to your day. So I sit on the bingo card if you want, I don’t work in a museum so I could be that person for you. And I could be the American if you want. Um, I don’t work in a museum because I don’t really enjoy them. And this is why I started doing what I’m doing is because like, I hate

to be completely honest, I started going because my wife I had my daughter and we start going to museums because they were afraid and then I was like, hey, why aren’t more people in England going to museums because you’re free to the stage gotta pay so there’s that barrier I can see where I’m going to go there and actually going to museums icon because they’re boring

that’s where they’re going so artist I’m Feeding America and I just would talk to the staff and then just say can I talk to your director and be like you know why isn’t there x y&z and hockey implement these changes which shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. And that’s kind of how I got involved in a roundabout way. It’s always been about young people for me also.

And then. So I asked a curator day in September. And the Guardian was supposed to run an article for it. And I think it on the article. So I contacted the guys like today I gave the exclusive because the media was contacted me and I was like, No, I can’t give you a quote. Because the Guardian is going to do it. He’s like, I’m really sorry, Mark. But I just got an embargo letter saying that theaters are going to be really bad and that that has good oppressed tomorrow. So it wouldn’t look good talking about glorifying museums on one day. And then talking about after Katrina theater and the next day and mean this big mouth goes, Okay, why don’t we run left theater data cancer,

I don’t sell theater properly in New York buying I don’t really go to theater at all. And so our contract to Twitter was just like a key backup me up on this campaign. So we ran love theatre guy and we really did think it was just meant to be for England and their cuts. And it went worldwide because people do love theaters. But they love it in different ways. They love to get your keyboard to students or people who go to theaters will people who are working in theaters they weren’t expressing their love for it and it’s now it’s an annual event and it was probably coming up with the idea with it being in November was that would be panto seas and apparently, Panther season does not start in November. We didn’t know we found out the hard way. But that’s why we did three separate hashtags about backstage ask a theater and Showtime just to to get to theaters a little bit of concept of of what they could do on that day. Because there’s this was new world for them to be getting into it. They didn’t really know me and I’m showing here they go world trending again, which is is great for the theaters. It doesn’t matter to me. But I’m grateful that we can do something every day what I’m getting around to is all I do is I listen to what’s going on around me in society online,

would like to say, Listen to my Twitter, but not really I try and understand what’s going on in the world. But mostly, I act on like a, you know, in the china shop when it comes to stuff because I don’t care if I make a mistake because anybody can fire me. So it’s a really good position to be in.

But I think museums you’re really good with listening to people with your feedback forms and their surveys and their evaluations that they do they kind of understand the numbers that are coming in, but we fail on acting on what the public actually wants or needs. And I think we need to look more into that.

And again, this is where 52 museums came I was having dinner with a friend of mine who has an another account called 52 quilters. And I was like, why don’t we do 52 museums or went on to 15 museums and here’s the cycle it really work because museums have Instagram accounts and they already have their you know, they have their systems already in place as I can but they only talk about them in the wrong way with that you’re not reaching new audiences they’re going back to the audience they already have. And this is for me it’s really important that we look at non visitors were people who aren’t coming into your museum and how you can get them into it

and basically the idea is really simple once a week a new museum takes over the Instagram account and I am so lazy because my friend who does a emails everybody every week to password and I’m like no whoever has the passwords on Sunday Kayla personal Monday to the password if you were like you’re talking about security issues on my curl adult and I never he’s never gonna do anything and if they do it out, figure out who it was.

But yeah it’s just kind of taken off

for two or three years now I’ve been writing it well I don’t even write it I don’t that’s the beauty of it. I don’t do it I just created the account on Instagram and Twitter answers like just do whatever you do just know that to international crowd so kinda don’t do your normal stuff that you’re doing your own channels because this is about you playing and finding out what you can’t do on your channels and then you can take it to your boss and say hey this this really work for this their work

and um this is just a little example of it but I basically just artists did a shout out on Twitter so it’s like hey I didn’t have a stupid projects don’t museums, you’re like again, curse a mighty don’t you don’t do it enough for us.

But I had I think my waiting list is like 216 now of people who want to get involved in it. So it’s been quite interesting and I’m basically on my website if you just search to museums i a i asked people to do a VBAC. It’s really simple, what’s your numbers before what your numbers afterwards and I think I asked him like, what was a post it surprised me most or something. And then I have a report and

they respond to me, and it goes into a Google forum. And I am so bad that my husband has to translate for me. So the reports are actually written by my husband, because I still don’t have to read the data that I’m asking them other than what their name is.

But it’s important that we listen to what’s going on what’s working, what’s not working, Instagram, obviously is working blogs are on the way back up, podcasts are on the way back up right now. Which is really interesting. But it’s also a trend with the fact that more and more people are traveling, so they’re looking for something to put on their phone other than downloading Netflix, which a lot of us do. Twitter still does exist, although it is dying out a little bit. But it’s still great for campaigns. And it’s really great for campaigns when people work together as a community rather than trying to make their own

hashtag go viral, or however you want to call it Facebook. Now, hilariously, I haven’t been reading the news that much, I don’t know if they still couldn’t exist after what’s going on with the Cambridge and I information, but I think we’ll find out. But obviously, Instagram is really big, Snapchat really big, but they’re very, they’re getting more and more insular as far as the younger generation. And I and I hate saying that, that debt, that terminology, but they did. People who are using Instagram right now are either doing stories and posting stories and going away and not really being social, which is annoying, because that’s the whole part or like, My daughter has accounts on everything. But she only uses it for email. So it uses it to contact people, she never post anything on online at all. Because she she’s one of those generations, you’ll be 16 who grew up with digital identity being forced into her brain at a young age.

Again, too many words for this,

I think basically, you got to know what your communities doing.

So if Twitter’s working for you, and you have a big following, obviously, keep it up Facebook,

because of all this stuff that’s going on right now is it’s unless you’re paying for sponsors is it’s really difficult for you guys take to make any momentum. And Instagram obviously is growing. But again, it’s not a really social platform. In my eyes, I think it’s more of just say, we’re going to post something out there and and see where where it goes. But we can’t be there. We can’t, we can’t say we can’t invest time in it.

Because people are still going there. And if you’re if you’re a museum that has an international market is also really important to understand where that mark is coming in from.

I did a month in Vienna, and I had to go to me say, Hey, you know, what was really difficult as I see all these people coming on buses from different countries. And the first thing they’re trying to do is like, go to Twitter or Instagram to check in and you guys don’t have Facebook, you’re like, Yeah, because that’s all we use in this country. I was just like, Yeah, but your visitors who are paying money to go to see you

are using this platform. So maybe you need to look into that. So it again, it’s looking at not was the easiest for you. But what is what your public points and how you can get around that

pop up scheduling, because that’s one of the things that’s my my major pet peeve. I hate scheduling. I get why museums and art galleries have to do that. And theaters have to do some scheduled posts to get some marketing out there. But it negates the fact that is social media because it’s not social. When you’re when you’re just pushing out information. Unless you’re going to be there to respond to it. It’s a very difficult job. And I get that and to you know, you’re not 24 seven, you do have a life after that. But I think it’s important that we also remember that people are are working nine to five and most of the questions and, and people people may even go on social media after 7pm because they’re watching TV, they just on dinner they’ve done they’ve done the washing up and there’s nobody there to respond to them. And it’s important that there’s some kind of coverage.

At that point, if you can. I know it’s very difficult and i and i don’t say that lightly and I don’t expect anybody to give but you know I don’t understand why we’re doing stuff nine to five from everybody else’s work nine to five and then just no cover tonight and that’s exciting. So Linda Spurdle who’s a friend of mine who works at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery in England and her and I had this debate constantly because she does not schedule many things unless she’s forced to by her bosses, and she is the type that will get home and then sit down, just check social media for about 20 minutes just to she can respond to people because that’s when people are going what time you have and tomorrow. You know what events are on tomorrow and it doesn’t take a whole hell of a lot of out of her schedule to to do that but it makes such an impact to the audience that she’s she’s been growing.

Interestingly, she started I the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery account when they had to this big collection. I have no idea what happened there.

I don’t know what that background is anyway Sephora limiting have that window

so she started the account because she I they had the Staffordshire Hoard which is a big collection that came to it and they had a master people who are queuing up outside and I she just started a Twitter account saying like here here’s the way time type thing and I stayed there her bosses actually yelling hurts and do not want to do that and she was just like, but the public’s actually respecting me for for doing that.

So she did it so you know it really funny. Can we just do the jazz hands real quick because this is hilarious.

I’ve been telling everybody how many jobs had to something happens with my tactics out there we go i gotta figure out where I’m at now.

Okay. And basically, the main thing I also wanted to talk about was I trying to why it’s important to look at trends and the good behavior society. And next is not for your people who are coming in. It’s where you’re down visitors more fringe know what your visitors are doing and why why they not go to museum nowadays. We’re in competition with Netflix and YouTube and people saying go to amusement parks or but they’re going to places where they know they’re going to get an experience that they’re kind of sort of aware of. So even if it’s a movie that they haven’t seen they know that they’re going to go see a movie that’s going to be of some type.

It won’t matter or whatever.

And I think that’s a major trend for me over the last couple years has been I don’t think museums and does it I’m saying this. Generally, so don’t don’t don’t yell at me later and say no wires exams doing this, but I think in general I think one of the issues is museums and art galleries for built on the fact that they were research centers, so it’s very academia and it was all about research. It was all about back knowledge and just signing really wanted that. But now we have these babies and we can just do whatever we wanted for from this ask somebody a question and they can do it for us, or even sorry for the answer is now and we use now we want more of an emotive feel when we go to movies and so there’s a shift from academia to emotive and I don’t think that we’re respecting that as a former right now.

So that’s one thing I think that is and that’s one thing that social media can help with because you can get you can get answers on that. And sometimes you might not like the actors, but you got to ask questions to find out. And even if it is something as stupid as to to museums or you know why I love museums or whatever and let people yell at you and say, Oh, I don’t like your museum. Why don’t let your Museum, because x y&z take it as a learning rather than in Seoul, because it does. At least they took the time to tell you because they wouldn’t tell you to your face and they wouldn’t tell you want to be back form when a clipboard to give you, so you have to take to balance both ways.

And I think I’m pretty much done. So is there any questions.

Mar Dixon spoke about Museum Social Media at MuseumNext Brisbane in 2018.


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