It is no surprise that museums are utilizing social media as yet another avenue to reach out to their audiences. In fact, if you are reading this blog post, then you are using social media to connect with the New Britain Museum of American Art in a digital way! These 21st century types of connections are quickly becoming major trends within the museum world. With technology constantly reinventing itself, it is almost certain that the continual redefinition and evolution of “social media” will be occur over the next decade.
Social media consists of any medium on the internet that in some way uses technology (including video, photo, and audio) combined with individualized profiles. This allows users to interact with each other in various ways. Virtually any website which allows some degree of personalization by users could be considered social media, depending on your definition. These profiles define their users, and allow them to provide feedback, comments, opinions, and follow the discussions and happenings of a particular person or group. They can even post their thoughts along with photos, videos, or sound.
The youth of the 21st century are completely computer-driven. Our culture has become overrun with images, ads, and media. As a result, social media websites like Facebook, Myspace, Youtube, Flikr, WordPress, and Twitter have become part of our daily digital lives. The way everyday business occurs is now internet-based, as are the ways companies reach out to their audience and customers.
Naturally, museums have jumped on the bandwagon. As a forum for gaining feedback from patrons as well as intriguing new visitors, social media has become a world-wide advocate for museums. It can also provide access to museum collections, promotional material, calendars, exhibition information, and discussions.
The benefits of these web-based programs are vast. Patrons can easily express interest in various elements of museums, and also become active participants without leaving their homes (which could be 5 or 5,000 miles away). The NBMAA and museums in general can do many things with a simple “tweet” or even an online exhibition. By promoting events, lectures, educational programs, new exhibitions, and other happenings, museums are able to reach a larger audience.
In turn, museums are able to reach more people with their mission. Exposing these audiences to discussions, images, and other forms of media , they allow the museum to become more than just a physical space. Social media allows for museums to become platforms for educated discussion about art, current trends, and more importantly, the future of a museum.
Adrienne Fletcher, a graduate student at the University of Florida, conducted a survey of 315 museums of various size, type, and location in America. Her findings show that allowing an intern to spend 45 minutes a day posting and using social media platforms, can greatly impact the social media presence of a museum. The NBMAA, for example, has various staff members and interns providing content for our internet pages, especially this blog, facebook, and twitter. We also plan on using Flickr and Youtube more often in the near future to provide our viwers with more video-based content. Fletcher found that increased focus on social media results in better user feedback and increased interaction and traffic both online and in the museum. Over 90% of the participating museums said they use social media in some form.
The NBMAA strives to be ahead of the curve on social media, and we currently have the platforms listed below. What do YOU want to see on the NBMAA’s social media platforms? How can we improve and expand what we are doing?
The museum world is rapidly becoming digitized, and the future promises to provide even more ways for users to interact with museums on every level.
Try accessing the other digital elements of the NBMAA below! And make sure to stop by and see our marvelous collection in person! Or do you think that the experience of seeing a painting is something that can be replicated online?