MAAM 2009: Museums and the Social Web


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PowerPoint of Matthew Fisher's Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums 2009 presentation on "Museums and the Social Web"

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  • Museum as Platform could mean a lot of things, so I’m going to take a minute to explain how we are defining the term. But before I do, one quick announcement:
  • Please join us on twitter using the #maam09 hashtag. My colleague Alex will be monitoring the tweets and will attempt to gather your questions and comments for us to respond to at the end.
  • Trust First let’s start with a familiar statistic. In the 2008 IMLS National Study on the Use of Libraries, Museums and the Internet , [click] the number one conclusion was that “Libraries and museums evoke consistent, extraordinary public trust...”
  • Along the continuum of voice and authority in museums, [click] they are NOT Conventional Online Exhibits which typically provide a single, authoritative curatorial narrative on the one end, [click] and they are not the visitor-as-sole-curator or crowdsourced on the other end. These projects employ a hybrid model. [click] Each of these projects has its own curatorial goals and narratives, which inform the project framework. [click] They support a multiplicity of viewpoints and voices, so a key component is that they are participatory in their process. [click] Not only does this collaborative approach enrich the exhibit narrative, but it sets the stage for visitors to contribute. [click] The following are some examples of these projects we have produced with museums. I’ll run through them quickly, as Effie and Bill will explore two of them in greater detail:
  • To start, we thought we'd attempt to define what these projects have in common, and equally important, differentiate them from similar endeavors such as those discussed in Nina Simon's fantastic session on Visitor Co-Created Museum Experiences These projects are Online exhibits that showcase creative responses to collections and encourage visitors to participate in the dialog . [click]
  • Consider of a conventional online exhibit where visitors can only participate as spectators.
  • Isn’t an exhibit that encourages social participation across the entire continuum going to appeal to the greatest numbers? And aren’t moderated contributions from the creators and critics - stories & comments, artwork & oral histories - going to enrich the overall experience for everyone?
  • Audience Thanks to Nina Simon’s Museums 2.0 blog, I came across this Forrester report on online social behaviors, which reaffirms what many of us already suspected having launched projects like these. Most online visitors come to watch, perhaps join or comment, but on average only 21% are creators. So even after you make the additional effort to facilitate creative participation, it might only appeal to a limited segment of your population.
  • Audience Two things here. First off, you must consider your target demographic. In the case of 21st C Abe, they were primarily 18-24 year olds. [click] In this group, the Forrester research shows that our % of creators increases to 38%. This is a pretty significant jump. And if you don’t think your museum is targeting younger folks, keep in mind that Millennials & Gen Ys will outnumber Baby Boomers in 2010. [click] The Pew has some even more compelling numbers about audiences under 18:
  • They have found that 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more content-creating activities on the internet, up from 57% of online teens in a similar survey at the end of 2004. [click] But even if your target audience is the typical 8-80 with its wide range from creators to spectators, there are still compelling arguments.
  • But what about bringing people in the door? That is often the bottom line, is it not?
  • I will assail you with one more finding which might be new to you, coming out of last month’s study of the Philadelphia Cultural Engagement Index. [click] Among other things, this study compared the public’s personal practice of creative activities, [click] (creative things people do every day from dancing to singing to taking photos and curating them on flickr), [click] and their audience-based activities [click] (such as attending museums and cultural institutions). They found…
  • I would suggest that encouraging creative participation in visitors online will also lead to greater onsite visitation, and an increased involvement with and appreciation for your institution. [click] Now I’d like to turn it over to Effie Kapsalis from the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.
  • MAAM 2009: Museums and the Social Web

    1. 1. Museums and the Social Web: Integrating Visitor Voices into Museum Exhibits Matthew Fisher President, Night Kitchen Interactive
    2. 2. Join us on twitter. Tweet using #maam09 Tweet your questions & comments #maam09
    3. 3. <ul><li>TRUST </li></ul>
    4. 4. CONCLUSION 1. Libraries and museums evoke consistent, extraordinary public trust among diverse adult users.
    5. 5. Social Exhibits and Sharing Authority <ul><li>Conventional exhibits </li></ul><ul><li>Web 1.0 Websites </li></ul><ul><li>Museum-Curated </li></ul><ul><li>Multiplicity of viewpoints </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors create and contribute </li></ul>Continuum of Voice and Authority Visitor-as-Curator Crowdsourced Democratization of voice Single, authoritative voice @curiousattendee hmm… Not sure I get it. Like to see examples. #maam09 Less than a second ago
    6. 6. The Smithsonian Photography Initiative Curatorial blogs
    7. 11. The Smithsonian Photography Initiative The flickr commons
    8. 12. The Creative Commons Groups and Blogs
    9. 14. <ul><li>SOCIAL EXHIBITS </li></ul>
    10. 15. Social Exhibits <ul><li>Museum exhibits that integrate personal and creative responses into exhibits and collections and encourage visitors to participate in the dialog. </li></ul>@socialmedianewbie sounds complicated… #maam09 Less than a second ago
    11. 16. Conventional Exhibit Model CONVENTIONAL EXHIBIT SPECTATE
    13. 18. Online Social Behaviors Data from Forrester Research Technographics® surveys, 2008. For further details on the Social Technographics profile, see
    14. 19. Social Behaviors of Younger Audiences Data from Forrester Research Technographics® surveys, 2008. For further details on the Social Technographics profile, see @youngandhip embrace our creative input and we’ll built it ourselves! #maam09 Less than a second ago
    15. 20. …And Even Younger <ul><li>64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet. </li></ul>- The Pew Internet & American Life Project December 2007
    16. 21. <ul><li>THE BOTTOM LINE </li></ul>@execdirect that’s cool. But what about bringing folks in the door? #maam09 Less than a second ago
    17. 22. Philadelphia Cultural Engagement Index <ul><li>Creative Personal Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Audience-Based Attendance </li></ul>- Philadelphia Cultural Engagement Index, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, March 2009 <ul><li>Dancing/Singing </li></ul><ul><li>Taking Artistic Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Curating photos </li></ul><ul><li>Museums </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Live Performances </li></ul>More Creative Practice = More Attendance
    18. 23. Encouraging creative participation in visitors online will also lead to greater visitation onsite
    19. 24. frameworks for successful social exhibits <ul><li>know your audience </li></ul><ul><li>provide motivators to participate </li></ul><ul><li>ensure quality </li></ul><ul><li>build for sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>allow for transparency </li></ul>
    20. 25. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>@obviousplant awesome presentation, dude! #maam09 Less than a second ago