The first “Follow a Museum Day” was started by Jim Richardson (@SumoJim) four years ago in 2010 and has since been celebrated on twitter every 1st of February. Richardsons basic idea of this virtual museum day can be found on his page:
»With respect to Mr Gates, this got me a little depressed, most museums on Twitter struggle to attract more then 500 followers. I started to think about how we can draw attention to the museums on Twitter, and get more people to consider following a museum. …« (followamuseum.com)
— Musei in Comune Roma (@museiincomune) 1. Februar 2015
His idea continues to be relevant today. There are thousands of museums represented on twitter and other social media channels. Their follower numbers are increasing and many museums use twitter daily as a tool of communication. Twitter is still a young medium – perceived differently in each country. This year, the Follow a Museum Day campaign started in January with the main aim to draw attention to the participating museums and their current exhibitions. The following means were used:
- a pinterest board visualizing the museum‘s locations by place pins
- a public twitter list »Follow a Museum Day«
- the consistent use of the hashtag #followamuseum
What‘s the aim of Follow a Museum Day?
All (twitter) eyes on museums and their exhibitions! That‘s basically the concept of »Follow a Museum Day« in a nutshell. On 1st February, this online version of a museum day brings fresh air to the interaction between museums and their followers on twitter. It is a great opportunity for the museums to grow their twitter presence and the users might find a new interesting museum to follow or rediscover renowned ones in their timelines.
What is my connection to the different museums? What are my expectations towards them? Today, we have the opportunity to communicate directly with museums – with their directors, curators and other members of staff – thanks to social media tools. At first glance, this form of communication appeals to be a very simple and convenient approach. However, an important question arises: How should the relation between “museum – visitor, visitor – museum” be like and how should it be shaped?
Ultimately, this pattern of visitors/ social media users/ followers & museums results in a n entire new form of communication and the participants themselves determine individually the scope of interaction. The »Follow a Museum Day« should be considered to be a communicative impetus and maybe act as a catalyst for new ideas and projects.
Follow a Museum Day Edition 2015
The online registration for museums started on 1st October 2014. More than 220 museums from 27 different countries joined this year‘s Follow a Museum Day. Especially smaller museums really showed an effort in order to promote their exhibitions. All different kinds of museums were part of the Follow a Museum Day campaign, whereas the following three main categories were strikingly represented the most:
- 50 history museums
- 40 art museums
- 22 archaeological museums
Many museums joined Follow a Museum Day with educational offers or by including their followers directly in their twitter dialogue in order to exchange ideas.
The day itself
More than 6.700 tweets were written and sent to the twitter timeline on the actual Follow a Museum Day 2015. All the tweets reached more than 25 million Twitter user (reach). Campaign-related data (time period: 2015 February 1):
- 6.770 tweets
- 44.494 retweets
- tweet reach: more than 25,8 million
The data relate to all tweets with the official Follow a Museum Day hashtag #followamuseum. The social media based project »Follow a Museum Day« demonstrates impressively that many twitter users have a keen interest in museums and therefore, special social media events may result in an above-average response, as well as an expanded tweet reach. What about the content quality? Does the participation of a museum automatically result in an additional value for their exhibition and their (potential) visitors? A selection of opinions can be found here:
Thanks to all participating museums and twitter followers for this amazing social media day! A special thank you to the fellow campaigners of Follow a Museum Day behind the scenes, who spent their free time preparing and pushing the project.
Please feel free to send us your feedback and suggestions. We are looking forward to the next Follow a museum day to come.
See you 1st February 2016 on twitter!