Museum learning and social media – some tips

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I had the privilege today of running a session at the GEM Yorkshire event ‘Museum Learning and Social Media’ at the Round Foundry, Leeds.

I thought I would practice what I preached and blog a few reflections and also use this opportunity to share the links of various sites I referred to but which weren’t on my presentation!

Following the discussions we had here are some tips:

Go for it! It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission!

If you can’t do anything with your institutional website (for example, if you’re part of a council), consider setting up a blog for a particular project or your area of work. You can link to the blog from your ‘official’ council website but you can enable users to comment more easily on the blog and you won’t need to go through marketing or IT every time you want to post something.

Advertise that you’re on Twitter & Facebook in your museum entrance

If you have a Facebook page or you’re on Twitter – put up a poster telling visitors! They may well be standing in the queue and whilst waiting can tweet or Facebook their friends about where they are and what they’re doing! You could also think about putting up a poster on people’s exit saying ‘why don’t you tell us on our Facebook page the best thing about your visit?’

Use free things!

All the social media tools I referred to in my presentation and below are FREE. The only cost is your time. Before spending money on something flashy – find out if something similar is out there available for free. You can try searching on Google for things like ‘open source’ ‘freeware’ etc.

Link your social media accounts together

If you have a blog, link it to Facebook and Twitter. Link all your different social media accounts together as much as you can. That way you can use one of the sites to post everywhere else.

Search for your organisation on social media

See if anyone’s talking about your museum already on Twitter – simply use the search bar on the home page. If you find someone saying something either positive or negative – respond to them! Thank them if they’ve said something positive. If they had a negative experience say ‘I’m sorry to hear that, would you be able to help us improve the situation?’

Useful sites/tools

http://twapperkeeper.com/index.php – Twapperkeeper – save Tweets in an archive (useful for saving tweets from a conference or event that uses a hashtag or tweets based on a key word or words)

http://screenr.com – free screen-casting service (videos your computer screen and records any audio commentary you want to give – 5 min limit). Can upload your videos direct to YouTube. To see one in action, ‘here’s one I made earlier’:

– my guide to creating a personalised homepage on the web.

http://www.xtranormal.com/ – turns text into animated films. An idea we had was to take positive comments from your visitors’ book and put them in and create a small movie to put on youtube and your website!

Here is an example:

http://audioboo.fm/ – create audio recordings & share on the web. You can create these with a smartphone (download the free app) and upload them from your location.

http://www.voisse.com/ – another free audio recording website (no download required)

http://digitallearningnetwork.net/ – Useful network for museum educators to join where you can discuss digital learning with others.

Recommended site for finding the right tool for what you want to do: http://www.philb.com/iwantto.htm – Phil Bradley, Librarian specialising in digital media.

Phil is also worth following on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/philbradley

If you have any further things to add or comments feel free to comment below!

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