It’s funny, if you know me, I’m sure you can imagine that I would have had a total fit if someone came into my office pitching an “web 2.0” membership (yes, yes, go ahead and LOL at the thought of my reaction), but when Will came in for our meeting he wasn’t pitching an online membership or a tech/electronic/web2 membership—he was pitching something personal. Rooted in visitors coming to Target First Saturday, many of whom live right down the street and come every month, his aim was to make personal connections with this group and create a package that would encourage them to get on the membership escalator sooner by combining a low cost to entry with a very personal interaction.
It was this idea of personal interaction that piqued my interest. Whenever I speak at conferences, one of the first things I try and get across is Social Media…or Web 2.0…or [insert whatever you want to call it here] is not about technology, marketing, or PR—it’s about people. When we establish a presence on social media site for the Museum our goals are simple: put a personal face on the institution and make personal connections with our visitors. This extension to communities on the web is just one part of a larger mission-driven synergy that begins with making these same connections within our building, in nearby communities and, now, with 1stfans.
Given that the crowd at Target First Saturday tends to be connected via the web, we started to discuss ways to utilize the social web to get to know and communicate with this new group. Rather than relying on the standard e-mail newsletter (which is more of a standard push relationship), why not reach out and go directly to these new members in places where they happen to be and deliver updates tailored to their own preferences. Just as important as delivering content is the idea that this is a social exchange, where we can better get to know the 1stfans at the same time.
We are calling 1stfans a “socially-networked membership.” To us, that encompasses the in-person, social aspects of the events planned for this group at every Target First Saturday and the way we intend to socialize with these new members on the web. At the end of the day, I think we will have done our jobs well if 1stfans get to know our Membership team, just like many of our current followers on the social networks have come to know me.
A little later today, I’ll be posting about the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed and look for posts from Will about Swoon and a few other things in the coming weeks. If you signed up this morning and have not heard from us, we are just starting to catch up and you’ll be hearing from us very soon.
Shelley Bernstein is the former Vice Director of Digital Engagement & Technology at the Brooklyn Museum where she spearheaded digital projects with public participation at their center. In the most recent example—ASK Brooklyn Museum—visitors ask questions using their mobile devices and experts answer in real time. She organized three award-winning projects—Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition, Split Second: Indian Paintings, GO: a community-curated open studio project—which enabled the public to participate in the exhibition process.
Shelley was named one of the 40 Under 40 in Crain's New York Business and her work on the Museum's digital strategy has been featured in the New York Times.
In 2016, Shelley joined the staff at the Barnes Foundation as the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer.