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Saturday, November 7 • 9:15am - 9:30am
Twitter: From Followers to Co-creators

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My talk is dedicated to the history and behind-the-scenes work that my colleagues and I do for museum marathon Twitter project. That was born after SHM’s unsuccessful attempt to participate in #AskACurator day: the public’s responses were scarce and there was an obvious need to learn how to communicate with audiences on Twitter. After a series of experiments, such as, for instance, museum salon, came #?. The Russian segment of Twitter is fraught with potential pitfalls for any public figure or institution trying to reach the audiences via this medium. On the one hand, there is a danger of talking to yourself, as if the content is not interesting/accessible, it will not strike up a conversation. On the other hand, there is a possibility of a too heated discussion, since it is a typical platform for uncensored politically charged debates. Keeping these possibilities in mind, initially we formulated 2 goals for the project:to promote Russian museums on Twitter;to reach new audiences, mainly from outside MoscowAt the very beginning we ran #??????????????? each day, which itself was quite challenging. We were looking for our voice on Twitter, and quite soon we came up with the idea that it had to be an interactive micro-lecture about one particular museum, each time a new one (not the SHM, although published by the official SHM Twitter account) and a typical set of elements that had to be covered during the session:museum historymuseum buildingcollectionsexhibitionscurrent Internet projectsEach session lasts for 30-60 minutes, depending on the information available, and ends with this tweet: ‘When you start following museum @..., the person who runs its account smiles. Let's spread smiles!’. It usually works.The very first session took place in March 2014, and since then we’ve “visited” 120 Russian museums. At the moment there are approximately 200 Russian museums on Twitter, so we’ve covered at least half of them. After a month of intense everyday posts we switched to a more comfortable few times a week schedule. We were gradually building an audience (it was visible from the organic reach, comments, and retweets), so we started asking them which cities in Russia they wanted to visit, so we could tell stories about museums in those cities. Sometimes followers shared their own stories and pictures about the museum in question as a reply to original tweets.There were two outcomes that we didn’t foresee from the beginning:the project provoked conversations among museum professionals who run Twitter accounts, thus helping to establish a community both online and onsite (at conferences and meetups);we found several really dedicated followers who were ready to run sessions of #??????????????? by themselves.Now sometimes the sessions are hosted by the accounts of other museums, each with their unique voice and perspective. There is also a Facebook group where professionals working on the project share ideas for upcoming sessions.#??????????????? has become one of the few Russian longstanding museum projects on Twitter, and we are going to continue working on it. At the moment we try to run two sessions each week, on Tuesday and Sunday at 8 pm Moscow time.Our followers asked to expand our scope to foreign museums, and we’re going to satisfy their expectations in the nearest future.

avatar for Anna Mikhaylova

Anna Mikhaylova

Director, Ideas for Museums
I have been working in the field of museum digital technologies since 2010. I hold a specialist degree in Museum Studies from the St Petersburg State University, MA in Digital Heritage and PhD in Museum Architecture from the University of Leicester. I previously worked at the State... Read More →

Saturday November 7, 2015 9:15am - 9:30am CST
Great Lakes A1 1300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403, United States

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