Tag: Social Good

Upgrade Now or Become Obsolete!

I try to keep abreast of developments in social media as it relates to museums – the tag cloud on this blog reflects that interest.  There are several blogs and e-newsletters that offer insights on how we do social media at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa. These resources include Nonprofit Tech 2.0,  Marketing Profs Today, and Tech Soup.  One of the most relevant social media blogs for museums is Coleen Dilenschneider’s Know Your Own Bone.

“Upgrade Now or Become Obsolete” is a heading from Heather Mansfield’s newly published Social Media for Social Good: A How To Guide for Nonprofits.   The heading seems a dire warning.  With budget cuts and reduced staffs, how can the medium to small-sized museums be expected to take on the additional social media upgrade?  I don’t think there is an easy answer to this question.  However, Mansfield’s book provides a firm basis to assess a museum or other nonprofit institutions social media presence.  She notes in the Introduction that the book can form the basis of a social media strategic plan.  I agree.

For museums who are beginning to think about mobile apps (Web 3.0), but are still grappling with their social media (Web 2.0), and wondering if the upgrade means they are going to abandon their websites (Web 1.0), Mansfield’s book is ideal.  Mansfield divides the book into three parts based on the noted types of online communication methods.  She clearly demonstrates the interrelationship of the three types.  She argues that one is not better than the other, but serve different purposes.  For example after discussing the Web 1.0 static web page and e-newsletter, the subsequent Web 2.0 discussion of Social Media is viewed as a tool that also drives traffic back to the web page.  At the same time, the web page promotes and is tied to the Social Media.

Each discussion in the book concludes with a list of 5 Must Have and 11 Best Practices for topics such as Website Design, E-newsletters, and Donate Now campaigns.  In discussing Social Media projects Mansfield starts with 11 organizational points to consider before even setting up a Facebook page.  A pleasant addition to the book is that Mansfield provides time estimates that different tasks, such as blogging, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, will take for staff to complete each week.  Although only estimates, I found the numbers a bit on the high side and geared more toward larger institutions than the average museum with only a handful of employees.

Another asset to the book is that each section ends with a list of sites that are Examples of Excellence for the points discussed in the chapter.  “Google This” listings for further investigations are also included throughout the book.  The volume concludes with an appendix checklist to guide the reader through the entire social media process.  Mansfield writes that “To utilize every tool and best practice on this checklist could take 12 to 24 months.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by this.  As long as you have the will, you have the time” (p.xiv).  My takeaway is that if one expects to “do” social media in the next month and check it off their task list, they will be disappointed.  As well, Mansfield notes that one should not expect huge returns, whether in visitation or donations, after publishing the first few e-newsletters or fund-raising appeals.  Social media is a process not an event.

Mansfield’s book will be useful to the novice just launching an online social media presence and for those who have worked at it for a few years but need to review, fine-tune, revise, and update their process.  I suspect that the only folks who will find the book too simplistic are those on the caliber of Mansfield’s Examples of Excellence.  For the rest of us, Social Media for Social Good is an excellent resource.  For myself, I have a shopping list of tasks to get busy on.

What are the key resources that guide your social media process?

Tools for Public Participation

Easter Egg "gather" at Chucalissa

In the past couple of weeks I have come across several very cool tools to promote public engagement whether in museums or broader archaeological contexts.  First, is the recent publication of The Participatory Museum by Museum 2.0 blogger Nina Simon.  I posted earlier about Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog.  Ms. Simon is clearly on the cutting edge in the practical, hands-on, and applied participatory end of Museum work. I always enjoy her outside-the-box thinking that is firmly grounded in practice. The volume is an excellent resource to kick-start creative thinking from conceptualizing through to implementing and evaluating visitor participation.  The book is useful for both museum and field settings.  As well, her most recent posts on Museum 2.0 blog review the book’s creation process and are equally insightful on that rather unique participatory experience.

Another fantastic idea I learned about this week came from the Social Good podcast of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  The concept is the Dashboard web page from the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  What I find so intriguing about the page is the opportunity for building transparency and relationship with volunteers, visitors, and web-surfers alike.  Here are a couple of examples I intend to use for employing this tool in archaeology.  Last year at the C.H. Nash Museum we launched monthly Volunteer Saturdays.  Thus far, with well in excess of 500 volunteer hours, we processed many thousands of artifacts.  A dashboard entry for this activity shows the volunteers that their 2 hours here and there are part of the greater whole.  Second, a dashboard entry with hours volunteered and artifacts processed shows the visitor to our website that we have an active volunteer program in which they too can take part – or minimally, appreciate that we have a dynamic presence in our community.

In the April issue of our museum’s monthly e-newsletter, Chucalissa Anoachi, we launched a project to digitize a considerable amount of our archived photographic and research records.  A dashboard entry on pages/images scanned will not only promote the active nature of the project but also point to a product that is a resource available for public use.

I see the potential of applications such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art dashboard as  a tool to move a core of folks from the being casual visitors and volunteers to stakeholders in a process.  As well, highlighting the ongoing nature our programs demonstrates our role as an active cultural resource asset in our community.

How might the Dashboard concept apply to your visitor engagement?

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