In the process of sedimenting the contents of the conference a fair number of summaries and reflections, most of them in English, have been appearing in blogs. There is so much to Museums and the Web that each of us can only highlight some of the aspects and links that we find particularly relevant. Allow me to present my selection. At the end you will find links to others. As every year, all of the papers and presentations are accessible online.
- Alignment of the intervention in networks and on mobiles with the mission and goals of the institution
- Integrated digital strategy
- 25 concepts and actions
- Planning of multiplatforms and multichannels from the outset
- Social networks and organizational change: cause or effect?
- Mobile in the centre of user-oriented museums
- Selected statements
- ‘Best of the Web’ awards
- Networking / socializing
Today we will discuss the top 5 and in another post the rest.
1. Alignment of the intervention in networks and on mobiles, in everything we do, with the mission and goals of the institution
If we agree that the basic mission of a museum is all about making the content accessible and extending knowledge to all kinds of audiences, it follows that a well-conceived action on the social networks and mobile devices will help us to row in that direction. While this is true in general terms, each centre must adapt the strategy to its own mission and the specific goals it has set itself.
2. Integrated digital strategy
An effective and coherent action calls for an integrated strategy. We cannot row together in opposite directions or out of time: we need teamwork and synchronicity. Here, in general, museums have a lot of room for improvement. There needs to be integration at a number of levels:
-I will deal first with the one that seems elementary, but I think I can fairly say that none of us in any centre applies it very well. I am referring to the integration of the centre’s own digital content: that is, all of the extensive material that the museum has amassed in its various departments — Communication, Conservation, Press, Internet, Events, Education, Publications, etc — in different media — text, photographs, audio, audio-visual, internet, e-books — and on various networks — social media, mobile devices. And it is not so much a question of having a good CMS or technological tool to facilitate this as of there actually being an attitude of sharing, transparency, and, of course, method.
-Integration with the ‘physical’ communication — in publications (inclusion of social media and mobile apps in brochures, posters, invitations, postcards) and onsite communication in the museum (signage, information screens, interactive devices).
Integration of social network info in the Guggenheim’s print guidebook. Photo: Elena Villaespesa
- And, most importantly, integration with the museum’s overall communication. The social networks and all of our digital action should not be a thing apart but part of a whole. It should be integrated into the overall communication strategy to ensure a well-planned action and the coherence and consistency of the message. In other words, multiple platforms and channels but a single strategy, all serving the mission and goals of the centre.
3. Concepts and actions mentioned at the conference
4. Planning of multiplatforms and multichannels right from the start
Having the complete picture of what we are going to do right from the start will be a triple benefit: in defining and adapting the content to different platforms, in ensuring better coordination between the various departments involved and in scaling and organizing workloads. In other words: better conceptualization = better organization = better result.
It sounds simple, it’s complicated.
I strongly recommend the excellent presentation by the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Mobile Means Multi-platform, and also the approach adopted by the Finnish initiative DECIPHER (Digital Environment for Cultural Interfaces: Promoting Heritage Education and Research), which was launched this year and will conclude in 2013.
5. Social media and organizational change: cause or effect?
It has often been said that the social networks involve organizational change, and it’s true. With the direct thread between users/clients and professionals, making the structure horizontal, collaboration, transparency and so on new possibilities emerge, expanded and accelerated by the use of social media in organizations. But this process is inseparable from a predisposition on the part of management not only to permit but also to facilitate this change. I have no intention of getting lost in musings about which came first, the chicken or the egg. But I do think without a previous commitment to openness, to transparency, and a real desire to connect with the users, not just to follow a trend but because we see how important it is, it must be very, very difficult to extend a 2.0 action.
As my friend Samuel Bausson of the Muséum Toulouse says, ‘Pas de 2.0 dans un musée 1.0’. The more we are able to extend the participation of museum teams on the networks, the more points of view we will offer and the richer our 2.0 action will be, both in quantity and in quality. And the more sustainable! The amount of time dedicated to the social media is growing continuously and rapidly: the more friends, followers ans and readers we have, the more levels of interaction with them.
The extremely interesting paper Social Media and Organizational Change contrasts setting limits and affording access and talks about organized structure versus organized chaos.
One of the presentation’s thought-provoking conclusions is that it appears that an increase in online public involvement is accompanied by an increase in face to face conversations between the museum’s own staff. In other words, social action results in more internal communication.
Similarly, the paper Why Reinvent the Wheel Over and Over Again, setting out the experiences of the Dutch network INE (Heritage Innovators Network), sheds light on the way offline networks lead to online innovation in cultural institutions.
I’ll address the five remaining points in a forthcoming article.
Other reviews of Museums and the Web 2011
Museums and the Web 2011 recap by Nate Solas
Conference Wrap-Up: Museums and the Web 2011 by Deb Boyer
Museums and the Web 2011 – the web site picture byJulian Bickersteth
Museums and the Web by Joshua Routh