There comes a moment in every trajectory where one has to change course. As part of a social media strategic plan, we are changing gears a bit to deploy an engagement strategy which focuses on our in-building audience, closely examines which channels are working for us, and aligns our energies in places where we feel our voice is needed, but allows for us to pull away where things are happening on their own. Here are the changes we are making as of today…
Over the years, it has become clear that the key readership of this blog has been from the technology community—those colleagues and students following our tech efforts at the Museum. We’ve tried for broader content here, but we’ve never been able to do that consistently and it’s never (at least statistically speaking) landed well. Starting today, this blog will focus on tech and continue to do so. The former content is still here if you are looking to surface it, but the focus from here on will be on technology.
So, where is all that great curatorial, conservation, and archival content going? In the past few months, we’ve been testing Tumblr and it’s been a much better channel for this type of content. Statistically, we can see that this very visually rich content has a much broader reach here and our Tumblr will focus on these areas. Interestingly, we found the tech content which does so well here fell totally flat there, so splitting content to platform in this manner makes sense.
As of today, we have left Flickr (including The Commons). We’ve seen a steady decline in the engagement level at Flickr and it was clear it was time to leave the platform, though we still love it. For those of you who gasped, fear not! We’ve moved all of The Commons material to Wikimedia Commons and images are now being seeded to appropriate articles (take a look at the Paris Expo 1900 to see this beautifully in action). This move will continue to give those assets much-needed visibility while allowing us to focus engagement efforts elsewhere. Additionally, it allows us to continue to focus our efforts at Wikipedia, which is working well and continues as a highly visible platform.
As part of this same thinking, we have also left History Pin; another platform we love, but wasn’t working for our goals and was splitting our attention. As for day-to-day image sharing of exhibition load-ins, it won’t surprise you to hear that will continue at Instagram where we are seeing a high level of engagement.
We have left iTunesU in favor of sharing content via YouTube and SoundCloud. We just were not seeing the statistics to continue with iTunesU. We found the administration of the account laborious and the statistical reporting onerous. It was clear to us from an administrative standpoint, it was a drain on staff time that simply wasn’t giving back enough as a distribution channel.
Additional cleanup that may surprise you? We’ve deleted our Foursquare branded page because it wasn’t working well from a community engagement standpoint; it was confusing to have the branded page (that most people didn’t know about) sitting alongside the venue page, which is created and maintained by site users. Over the years, we’ve come to learn there are some places where our own presence is not needed and the community functions beautifully on its own. Foursquare is one of those (and our feelings are similar about Pinterest).
If there’s one thing I’d love to do that would be to …..leave Facebook. Interaction on this platform has plummeted and while we don’t feel like we can leave just yet, we are spending our energies elsewhere in places where we are seeing deeper engagement.
As platforms and our goals continue to morph, you’ll see us make even more changes. In the meantime, we hope you’ll continue to read our newly-branded tech blog because we’ve got some exciting projects coming up.
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.