It really feels like just a few days ago that we started this blog and the museum’s active presence on social media, but — believe it or not! — we’ve just had our first anniversary! To celebrate, we opened the doors of the museum to the online community one Monday, which is the day of the week we are closed to the public, to give our visitors the special privilege of having the place to themselves.
How did it all start?
When we first started — rather shyly — we were one of only a few museums in this country with a 2.0 presence, and for those few, initially there were no references or links on the museums ‘official’ websites to the social platforms. But in the digital world everything moves incredibly fast, and in just 12 months the outlook has changed almost beyond recognition. With Twitter, for instance, there has been a real take-off in museums in the last six months, and it no longer seems strange to see the Prado, the Louvre or the British Museum on Twitter, to name three great museums with a long career.
Getting the Picasso 2.0 project up and running was relatively simple. Having identified the potential and drawn up the overall project, the support of the Museum’s director was not only instantaneous but nothing short of enthusiastic. The presentation to the museum team was another milestone which we reached far more quickly than might have been expected, considering the initial difficulties many other museums had to overcome. Here at the Picasso, although the 2.0 realm was still uncharted territory for most of staff, seeing the good example set by some of the world’s leading museums in pioneering the social networks was a decisive factor, opening up perspectives and future implications for the project. The writing of the blog is now shared by 17 staff members here, and we have also had a number of guest bloggers.
The first fruits
Our warmest thanks go to the Museum’s online community. Our work and our progress on the networks owe a great deal to the acceptance and support you have given us from the start. The figures for the beginning of June 2010 are:
Blog: an average of 2,000 readers per post
Facebook: 7,280 fans
Flickr: 350 photos
Slideshare: 5,181 views
Twitter: 1,615 followers
YouTube: 3,250 views
But of course it is not only the figures that matter: the most important thing is the quality of the relationship. In a previous post we mentioned the blog comments, so let me now cite some of those on Twitter:
@Puig_VA: @museupicasso Congratulations on yesterday’s initiative and the Museums & Web Award. You really deserve it! And the micro-stories, great quality!
@evaa: Listening to the micro-stories in the @museupicasso competition with @lletra with @losilux. Good level.
@daviddeleu: social media for museums? @museupicasso great strategy! http://www.museumsetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/MuseuPicasso.pdf
@jsdemontfort: very intelligent gesture from @museupicasso to give its fans and followers an exclusive invitation to the museum on Monday, the day it’s officially closed.
@MACBA_Webmaster: @museupicasso well-deserved prize! Congratulations.
@museumsetc: @museupicasso we’ve just posted your whole case study chapter to celebrate your #mw2010 win! http://pea.to/eK
@MuseumMarketing @cshockstories: a good museum blog? -> This is a good one! http://trunc.it/8jw84 from @museupicasso
In the local press there have been articles about the Museum’s 2.0 presence and also on digital media and blogs. Within the professional community, during April and May there were three fairly high-impact interventions:
· The downloadable chapter on the Picasso’s Twitter, from the book Twitter for Museums
· The article published in the magazine of the Andalusian Heritage Directorate, Mus-A, ‘From 1.0 to 2.0: the museums’ journey to social communication’
· The Best of the Web prize awarded by Museums & the Web to the Museu Picasso in the social media category at the Denver, Colorado, conference.
Which have been the most successful projects?
We have had successes and one or two failed projects. Of note among the former, the Become a Fauvist photo competition, which as well as attracting a lot of submissions, many of them very good, led to our being invited to explain it in the Louvre! Another was the collective writing on Facebook based on works in the collection.
Failures? Of course we’ve had a few, because when you’re learning and experimenting that’s part of the process. I’ll mention two here: our attempt to mobilize people on Facebook to create a two-minute video with a soundtrack inspired by Picasso’s work. It seemed easy with a webcam, but either it wasn’t or the proposal wasn’t appealing enough and just didn’t catch on. The other was the attempt to do video interviews near the Museum to ask people what they knew and thought about the Museum and 2.0. That didn’t work because most of the people who were approached didn’t want to be video-interviewed.
The lesson we learned was that even in the more informal 2.0 context, initiatives have to be planned and prepared well if they are going to attract and engage a participatory audience.
What are we still missing?
Well, I think that we need to achieve greater interaction with our users, higher levels of participation in our proposals, especially on Facebook and here on the blog. We need to be more imaginative in our channels of participation. We are still doing most of the emitting, keen though we are to open up to dialogue, to conversation: our communication is still very linear, or at best a dialogue between museum and user, when it should be a conversation between users and museum or among users themselves. Next step: going mobile, like users websurfing and sharing already is.
Internally, it would be good to see a greater degree of involvement by the whole team: this is difficult not only because we are a small team with a lot of projects and a heavy workload, but also because it takes time to acquire the habits of social sharing and of co-creation with users and visitors. We’re moving in the right direction, however: the social wave is expansive and 2.0 attitudes and skills are becoming more prevalent every day!
How would you rate the presence of the Museum on the social web? What would you like the Museum to offer? Do you have any ideas or suggestions?