In this article, I would like to explore the social media space in the context of Museums, and investigate different critical challenges in bringing museums experiences to social media space exposed through the body of related literature.
Recently, there has been a popular trend to introduce museum institutions and their digital contents in social media space in order to reach more audiences and build an online social community which better establishes the relationship between people and museums.
However, emerging museums experience and contents in social media space has created several challenges such as privacy issues, cultural ethics, authority management, tailored experience issues, educational role preservation, and so forth.
Meanwhile different aspects of social media exposition needs to be addressed, such as using this medium for marketing (effective ways Vs branding techniques), building social communities, Creating active collaborative environment for creation, and socio-cultural exchange, and finally collective intelligence computation power.
First, I will introduce the main perspectives and challenges, and then I will summarize this week papers while trying to connect their perspectives with introduced subjects and challenges in former section.
Social Media and new Challenges for museums
Social media is playing an over growing role in humans’ everyday life, while trying to address different needs such as social awareness in social networks, and promoting new dimensions in human life, by providing a set of tools for collective creation, socio-cultural exchange, media sharing, online community management and etc. It will be beyond of this article to explore these different dimensions, meanwhile it worth to investigate how museums benefits from this medium to increase their accessibility, and addressing their audience needs through social contents, and building an active collaborative environments while addressing issues such as user privacies, cultural ethics and authority management.
Museums as institutions which tries to preserves history, tangible and tacit cultural heritages, are trying to be responsive to social media phenomenon and connect its content and educational plans with this over growing medium. One of major goals in using social media space is to benefit from its accessibility power to outreach a larger number of audience and communities. Mediums like Facebook, and Twitters can be very effective is this domain, meanwhile Twitter is getting used mainly for marketing’s paradigms which might makes museums promotions as brands rather than symbols of cultural and historical centers. This can make the museums sort of distant from its audience, meanwhile a good social media strategy can better initiate connections which are more reliable and trustful, This can be reach either through community ambassadors or tailored invitations sent from existing trusted social groups.
Furthermore building online social communities is quite a challenging problem, which does not necessarily can be reached only by increasing the number of followers or friends, and it demands a good level of trust for bringing people in and keep them motivated and engaged with interesting contents. Using social ambassadors and active group of content creators, and many to many communication models can be effective for this case though.
Finally, having an active and collaborative environments, which lead to a better dialog demands a good level of collective intelligence, which can be achieved either by story-making or crowd-sourcing techniques, while the latter one is more engaging and effective, However it creates a shift in authority of medium from the expected experience initiated by museum designers to personalized and collective experience by social groups.
In addition to mentioned perspectives, in connecting museums to social media, there are several concerns and questions raised by community of intellectuals and critics about the limitations, and potential problems of this new space, the following papers and their summaries address these issues:
Museum Management and Curatorship : Ethical issues of social media in
museums: a case study
Amelia S. Wong a
This article explores the ethical issues raised from intertwining modern museum practice with social media space through a case study of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It investigates how this new medium can create synergy by increasing the size of audience and bringing the museum educational practices in humans’ everyday life, while exploring tensions raised from ethical questions around transparency of goals Vs process, Censorship of socio-cultural comments, and privacy of end users.
The paper mainly address questions like: “Can we selectively delete comments, feeling the museum’s memorial function affords the people lending their stories to these videos respectful treatment? Or should we allow any comment to stand in the name of free speech, even when it is hate speech?”, and it tries to provide a context to better understand whether the social media is appropriate for every museum practice or not.
Finally it discusses that modern museums largely motivate the inclusion of visitors’ views in social space, without considering the level of privacy that their users might be interested to be involved.
My critical point about this paper is about the authentic nature of some museums like one explored in this case study, and the openness emerged from bringing the museum experience to everyday life of a large audience which might not share the same cultural ethics.
Question: Social media can create a diverse audience for a museum which can cross the geographic and cultural borders, Should Museums expect to preserve their cultural ethics which might not be common among different communities?
Enacting engagement online: framing social media use for the Museum
This article demonstrates museums’ uses of social media by analysing critical frames which their use is currently being configured. It inspects the intersection of social media space with museum practices in Marketing, Inclusion, and collaborative intelligence frames, and tries to address the problematic views in each different frame. For example, how using marketing techniques widely applied in social media like Twitter can create a distant between museum and its audience mainly because of this fact that museums are quite different than brands.
It also investigate methods like creative ambassadors, many to many communication models, and creating shared knowledge and believe as important factors to initiate and build an online social community for museums, which cannot be necessarily reached only by having a Facebook page, Twitter account, and a Youtube channel.
Finally it compares story making and crowd sourcing techniques for maintaining an active online community, while recommending the second approach as more effective one.
Questions: Why does a museum need to have an active and collaborative online community meanwhile the social media can play an effective informative role about museum events, and contents and encourage people to visit the physical space?
Can models like collective intelligence in systems like Wikipedia be a good suggestion for museums in domain of social space?
The Use of Social Media in the Danish Museum Landscape
Nanna Holdgaard, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
The aim of this paper was to investigate how social media and their online communications has been used in museums in Denmark Content analysis is considered as their basic systematic and reliable technique to infer generalizations of representations and meanings of media content. Different museums have been explored by considering following categories:
Language (usage of Danish language or other languages)
Videos (moving images)
Games (interactive features)
Findings suggest that the majority of museums communicate with a low degree of user interaction, participation and engagement in social media space. While benefit from this medium in order to attract more visitors to the physical museums instead.
Question: Why museums only consider serious games (interactive and educational programs), while they can benefit from social gaming frameworks for a larger education, with better motivational derives. Is entertaining nature of these applications in contrast with new museum practices?