museums and social media pdf

Museums And Social Media Pdf

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In response, organizations and individuals developed new forms of online programming, utilized social media as sites of dialogue and curation, digitally remediated exhibitions and events that were planned to take place in other formats, and disseminated content and materials that had previously been digitized or digitally recorded.

The Public Historian

Over the last years, Social Media SM have been emphasized as a means for nonprofit organizations to build and strengthen relations with a variety of stakeholders, although empirical studies have found a substantial delay in their adoption compared to profit-driven organizations.

Less attention has been devoted to the cultural sector, wherein SM have been widely emphasized as a way to empower visitors. To this purpose, the paper presents a case study of a medium-sized non-profit cultural institution, the Museum of Natural History of Florence MNH , which has engaged relatively early with SM. The empirical analysis allows to compare the theoretical potential of Social Media with their actual implementation in a real-life context, besides shedding light on the organizational challenges that medium-sized cultural institutions such as the MNH have to face when engaging with Social Media.

The potential of these tools for new communication strategies has been highlighted with respect to non-profit organizations, although empirical studies have found a substantial delay in their adoption compared to profit-driven organizations Waters et al.

Less attention has been devoted, however, to the cultural sector and particularly to museums, wherein SM have been proposed as an instrument of visitor empowerment Proctor ; Simon Literature on museums and SM highlight the importance of contextualizing the discussion on the potential impact of these instruments on different typologies of non-profit organizations, each characterized by a specific mission and governance.

The present paper aims to review the museological literature on SM and to provide an empirical analysis of their role within the marketing and communication strategy of a medium-sized cultural institution, the Museum of Natural History MNH of the University of Florence, which has engaged relatively early with SM.

Its six sections Footnote 1 are located in different areas of the city centre and cover about 10, square metres of exhibition spaces, gathering about 8 million objects and specimens.

The museum, which is a partly independent institution from the University of Florence, in started an intense activity of cultural entertainment involving the Florentine area and its surroundings through territorial institutions, schools, and the hospitality industry. This new approach has led to an increase in attendance from 20, visitors in to more than , in Since the opening of the first institutional website in , the Web has featured among the main channels for the diffusion of scientific culture.

Footnote 2 Although no specific goals or criteria of use effectiveness have been defined by the institution yet, the intensity of interactions is constantly monitored through dedicated services such as Facebook Insights and Museum Analytics. The advent of the Social Web has met a mixed reception among scholars of marketing of non-profit organizations, raising, on one side, enthusiasm for its potential support to a change of attitude towards stakeholders and, on the other, criticisms as regards the actual experiences of implementation.

Still, the potential of Web 2. Waters et al. However, their empirical analysis has shown that non-profit organizations tend to pursue these objectives by relying more on their institutional websites than on SM. Moreover, it has been advocated that the true power of SM rests in smaller community organizations Waters and LeBlanc Feneley whose possibilities of investing in website upgrade are limited.

In this context, several authors have called for a more accurate evaluation of the actual impacts of communication on SM in comparison with Web 1. The MNH represents a potentially significant research site for analysing the role of SM in the communication and accountability practices of small-medium non-profit organizations.

In , the museum adopted an accountability policy that has resulted in the release of a Social Balance Sheet Pratesi and Sibilio In the same period, SM were promptly adopted as an instrument of communications also in order to overcome the rigidity of the institutional website, whose structure and graphic layout are pre-determined so as to be homogeneous with the other University departments.

The establishment of a presence on the main SM took place thanks to the individual initiative of a museologist belonging to the Communication, Development and Events Service, who has directly administered the profiles so far.

The following section reviews literature on the potential of SM in the museum sector, which shows some relevant differences from the general literature on non-profit organizations.

This reception had informed the introduction of Web 2. Under this light, the participation of online users to communities has also relevant marketing implications, like the utilization of user-generated content UGC on the part of museums, also considered a tool that contributes to crafting a brand capable to evoke emotions and belonging, pushing towards participation Bonacini The small number of empirical studies that have attempted to assess the actual degree of implementation of such potentialities in museums, however, generated mixed results.

Lopez et al. From a quantitative standpoint, the engagement of museums with the Social Web seems to be lagging behind other cultural organizations, like theatres Haussmann and Poellmann As concerns the qualitative aspects of the use of SM, they seem to be used more as an instrument of traditional communication rather than of user engagement. This evidence has been often ascribed to the conservative attitude of museum curators, who seem concerned with protecting their role as authoritative interpreters of the collections from the proliferation of user-generated contents.

However, museology literature provides little evidence of the organizational challenges that may limit the adoption of SM by cultural institutions. To this purpose, Haussmann identifies shortage of resources, difficulties in the measurement of cost-benefit ratio and success of media campaigns, and the hierarchical structure of German performing arts institutions as the main obstacles against a further use of SM.

In synthesis, the museological perspective on the Web 2. A key difference, however, is that, whereas marketing literature emphasizes the relations between non-profit organizations and a variety of stakeholders donors, volunteers, employees, clients, etc.

To this purpose, an explicit analysis of the specific institutional and organizational context in which SM are introduced, as well as of the economic and organizational barriers against further engagement with these new instruments — which is likely to be particularly relevant for small-sized organizations Waters and LeBlanc Feneley — may contribute to bridging the gaps highlighted in literature.

In this context, the case study of the MNH aims to assess the effects of the implementation of presences on SM over the overall communication strategy of the institution, and to identify the causes for the potential misalignment with the initial objectives. More specifically, the empirical research addresses the following questions:. The studies conducted so far to evaluate the impacts of the presence of non-profit organizations on SM have mostly adopted a survey Fletcher and Lee ; Waters et al.

Differently, Haussmann and Poellmann have recently adopted a case research strategy Yin to analyze the use of Facebook by a German theatre. The main benefit of this research strategy, as compared to the approaches adopted in literature to study this phenomenon, refers to the possibility of understanding and interpreting the adoption of SM within a real-life organizational context Yin In this light, a case research also allows to overcome the main limitations of content analysis, namely the impossibility to identify the motivations that lead practitioners to use SM Waters and LeBlanc Feneley The MNH of the University of Florence, having engaged relatively early with SM and being awarded by ICOM for the use of these instruments, Footnote 3 was selected as the research site also out of convenience for data collection.

Due to the rigidity of its website, moreover, the MNH exemplifies the situation highlighted by Waters and LeBlanc Feneley , where SM can replace the website as instruments of stewardship. The interviews were transcribed and coded by the researchers, leading to the identification of the main objectives and perceptions regarding each social network. In the second phase, the intensity of the interactions generated by the museum with its stakeholders on SM was measured through the statistics generated by each platform number of followers, posts, comments, etc.

Finally, the nature of interactions with stakeholders on SM was identified through a qualitative contents analysis of profiles on Facebook and Twitter performed in the period January-March The texts in the form of posts and comments generated by both the museum staff and its followers were recorded and qualitatively classified by the researchers into distinct groups, based on their content.

As can be seen, each social network performs different functions within the overall communication strategy of the museum. It should be remarked that, despite all SM broadly aim to disseminate information about the museum collections and its additional activities, none of them was specifically considered as an instrument for social accountability — which is delegated to more traditional tools, such as the Social Balance Sheet Pratesi and Sibilio — and no other category of stakeholders than visitors e.

The nature and intensity of the presence of the museum on the main SM and the resulting types of interactions will be described in separate sections. TripAdvisor is a travel portal and an online community where registered users can share reviews and evaluations about tourist accommodations, attractions and restaurants.

On the other side, the secrecy of the popularity index algorithm entails problematic aspects concerning fraud detection, fragility and perceived lack of control over customer relations Scott and Orlikowski At the time of observation, the museum counted 13 reviews — all referring to the section of Mineralogy and the Botanic Garden — with an average grade of 4 that made it the 33th museum reviewed in Florence.

The second profile refers exclusively to the Zoological section, collecting 65 reviews since with an average evaluation of 4. Differently from the former, this second profile was created by the museum and contains an official description. Since profiles cannot be eliminated or merged, the museum may attempt to connect the institutional profile with the non-official one by cross-linking them.

YouTube has now established itself as the main social network dedicated to video sharing, where users can upload, view and comment videos. In the cultural sector, YouTube is increasingly used for arousing and maintaining interests in institutional activities and events.

The high level of involvement obtained by the MNH is consistent with other international experiences, in which the main potential of YouTube consists in the diffusion of diversified and focused contents allowing the museum staff to present their research and public activities in first person. Similarly to YouTube, Flickr is a photo and video hosting platform launched in by Ludicorp and acquired by Yahoo in Besides being a popular website for sharing photographs and photogalleries, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they can embed in personal websites and SM.

One of the most popular features offered by Flickr is social tagging, i. The museum staff has uploaded photos of the museum collections and exhibitions, subdivided in eight sets, which achieved a total of visualizations 3. Only the images belonging to the Zoology section have been tagged by the museum, whilst no comments have been posted so far by other users. Potential and actual visitors, instead, are invited to contribute with videos and photos that portray their experience of the museum, thus facilitating the establishment of an affective relation with the institution and the development of customer loyalty.

In this light, compared to TripAdvisor and FourSquare, these SM seem to act more clearly as instruments of two-way communication between these two key groups of stakeholders. In turn, this requires an accurate planning of the type and timing of contents to be diffused, and cross-promotion through other SM is also required, which implies significant organizational investments Pett Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging platform that enables users to exchange text-based messages of up to characters.

In April , the MNH opened an institutional profile on Twitter which currently counts followers, whilst the museum in turn follows users, including other museums and its most committed subscribers. In this context, the social network is mostly used to enliven the collections, to promote the collateral activities of the museum, as well as to involve and sensitize followers on scientific issues. The social network is also used episodically as an instrument of accountability, as in the case of the special opening of the museum to raise funds for the City of Science in Naples, whose final sum of donations was communicated as a tweet on March 25th being re-tweeted twice.

In this case, a SM team composed of four bloggers was created and an hashtag fidino was launched in order to follow and communicate the event on social networks. In total, tweets were posted, of which by the bloggers and the museum staff. Overall, although the innovative live blogging experiment marks a major attempt to adopt new communicative strategies, evidence that the majority of the posts have been contributed by the museum team seems to show a relative low engagement on the part of the followers.

Facebook is the most used social network at a global level, counting 1. Providing a platform for connecting with friends through a variety of modalities posting, private and instant messaging, photo sharing, comments, group pages, etc.

Facebook enables the richest experience of online interaction compared to other social networks. In the museum sector, the network is especially valued for its ability to sustain a relationship with people who may have been only briefly interested in a particular collection or have visited one time in their life but now have an opportunity to keep up with events Pett Italian museums have shown some delay in approaching Facebook, as the first national institution — the MAXXI in Rome — ranks only 81th in terms of fans www.

With over 15, friends at the date of research, the MNH ranked right after larger organizations, demonstrating a good level of popularity relatively to its size Fig. In the monitored period, followers statistics were collected through the Facebook Insights service and compared with those of actual museum visitors.

The online audience is mostly composed by women Likewise, the percentage of under is slightly higher among Facebook fans However, the adult public 35—54 accounted for one third of the followers, thus showing a high readiness in the use of the instrument. This represents a major difference from the case of onsite visitors — a large share of whom are foreigners In the monitored period January-March , 13 posts were received.

Footnote 4 The museum staff appears to have promptly replied to requests for information, but not to unrelated posts or promotional highlights. This exemplifies the possible two-fold effects of the use of Facebook by cultural institutions. On one hand, the platform provides users with a direct channel of communication with the museum, enabling them to share and request information: in this sense, differently from the emphasis in literature Proctor on the possibility to enact a more equal dialogue between the museum and its audience through SM, the museum seems to be viewed by its followers as an authoritative source of knowledge.

In the monitored period, 69 posts were published by the museum, representing a weekly average of 4. In general, Facebook seems to perform the same functions as Twitter for the MNH, as a large share of the posts are published, with adaptation to the respective formats, on both SM.

This gap can be ascribed to two main causes. The MNH in Florence represents an emblematic case study of a small-medium sized cultural organization that has embraced the potential of SM with enthusiasm, also as a response to the constraints posed by the institutional website.

This suggests that, despite recent proposals for non-profit cultural organizations to address their constant reporting on the achievement of organizational goals and projects to a wider audience of stakeholders Dainelli et al. Differently from marketing literature which tends to consider SM as an homogeneous category of instruments see for instance Waters et al. Social networks geared at the tourism market such as TripAdvisor and FourSquare are clearly used by the MNH as one-way communication tools to enhance visibility of its offer and locations.

Although the main category of stakeholders addressed by the museum through social networks are either actual or potential visitors, moreover, at the MNH the adoption of SM also performs a relevant indirect role within internal communications, as it contributes to empowering the museum staff. In the light of these limitations, a comparison between the theoretical potential of SM as it is presented in museology literature, and their implementation at the MNH, allows to complement the prevalent emphasis on their intrinsic advantages with a fuller understanding of the complex challenges related to their adoption by small organizations.

Social media/Web Guidelines and Strategy Worksheets

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Purpose — The purpose of this paper is to highlight and reflect on the increased use of social media in the museums sector in the UK and beyond. It seeks to explore the challenges of utilising such media for institutions steeped in discourses of authority, authenticity and materiality. View PDF.

The Public Historian

This book is both an introductory textbook and a guide for working professionals who want to go beyond mere promotion to developing a planned and deliberately managed marketing campaign. Beginning with mission, goals, and objectives, readers will review the components of both the internal and external environments which must be understood to plan an objective campaign. Chapter coverage includes how to do a SWOT analysis, identify and involve stakeholders, a 4-step marketing model, market research, market segmentation, market mix strategy, and evaluation are all covered. Each chapter includes explanatory topical content designed to build a framework of marketing and social media management understanding including discussion questions which can be developed into classroom or workshop assignments and key terms.

Explore more content. Social media analytics in museums: extracting expressions of inspiration. Cite Download Museums have a remit to inspire visitors.

Being Social: What Museums Need to Understand for the Future

How Museums Can Measure Their Social Media Success: New Research

The Alliance has compiled this set of attendance resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector. Creating a Social Media Strategy. Presenters from the Technology, Interpretation, and Education TIE online conference share a white paper on Creating a Social Media Strategy PDF, 5 pages to help museums understand the importance of strategy when implementing social media activities.

The following strategy worksheets and guidelines were developed by Enterprise Technology and Local History Services at the Minnesota Historical Society MHS as templates for use by other history organizations. The guidelines were created both from experiences here at MHS and by glomming good ideas from the guidelines of others around the web. If you have not created your own, look at these as a starting point, if you already have your own, add these as tools to your arsenal. Also of interest is the Web Standards Guide PDF which outlines good, better and best practices for local historical societies in designing and maintaining web sites.

Museums operate in a new participatory age. The big challenge now is the balance between traditional museum activity and the social and participatory demands from new younger audiences. Often weighted toward the side of tradition, museums can seem out of step. A group of 30 or so contemporary adults, representing a wide range of ages, meet each Thursday after work at a local museum. The conversations are lively, and the adults are self-led; they know each other and the museum well.

The Museum Scholar

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JavaScript is disabled for your browser. Some features of this site may not work without it. Museums, Social Media, and the Fog of Community. Author Wong, Amelia Selene. Advisor Sies, Mary C. Metadata Show full item record.

Over the last years, Social Media SM have been emphasized as a means for nonprofit organizations to build and strengthen relations with a variety of stakeholders, although empirical studies have found a substantial delay in their adoption compared to profit-driven organizations. Less attention has been devoted to the cultural sector, wherein SM have been widely emphasized as a way to empower visitors. To this purpose, the paper presents a case study of a medium-sized non-profit cultural institution, the Museum of Natural History of Florence MNH , which has engaged relatively early with SM. The empirical analysis allows to compare the theoretical potential of Social Media with their actual implementation in a real-life context, besides shedding light on the organizational challenges that medium-sized cultural institutions such as the MNH have to face when engaging with Social Media. The potential of these tools for new communication strategies has been highlighted with respect to non-profit organizations, although empirical studies have found a substantial delay in their adoption compared to profit-driven organizations Waters et al. Less attention has been devoted, however, to the cultural sector and particularly to museums, wherein SM have been proposed as an instrument of visitor empowerment Proctor ; Simon

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Museums and social media: the case of the Museum of Natural History of Florence

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PDF | Over the last years, Social Media (SM) have been emphasized as a means for nonprofit organizations to build and strengthen relations.

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