Monday, October 13, 2008

Quick Hit: Meet Me in Philadelphia!

I'll be in Philadelphia October 17-21 for the ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) annual conference. I'd love to meet many of you there, whether you will be at the conference or will just be in town for the annual Art Buggy Derby.

I'm speaking in a few sessions, and all of them include opportunities for you to participate and lend your thoughts. On Saturday, Bryan Kennedy (Science Museum of Minnesota), Jim Spadaccini (Ideum), Kevin Von Appen (Ontario Science Centre), and I will be reprising our annual Web 2.0 session. Because attendees at these Web 2.0 sessions come from all walks of museum/technology, this year we're taking a new approach. We've identified four questions that we think you might be interested in. We'll ask for additional questions from the audience then use an applause-o-meter to select the questions of greatest interest, which we will discuss. Our four starter questions are:
  1. How do I convince those above me that it's a good idea and what are the quick, cheap and low-risk social media tools I can use to get started?
  2. Who should "own" social media initiatives internally--marketing, content, floor staff, or a combination?
  3. How do we measure return on investment?
  4. How do I tell if social media's the right approach for the topic/project at hand? What should I consider in terms of strategy?
Please come to the session with your (better) questions, or share them in the comments here. We have been collecting resources to address these questions on Delicious here.

Then! On Sunday, I'll be hosting You Can't Do That in Museums! with Kathy Maclean (Independent Exhibitions), Tom Rockwell (Exploratorium), and Eric Siegel (NY Hall of Science). We'll be taking a look at five topics that science centers tend to avoid--subjectivity, religion, politics, humor, and sex, presenting examples of what is considered "safe" and "not safe" in each category. Then, we're going to open it up to the audience to share your examples and opinions on the why of what's not safe. Tom will be creating a live mind-map of the session and it should be an energetic creative delving into the negative space of museum practice. Please come to the session with your own "can'ts" and "shoulds," or share them in the comments here.

Finally, on Monday, I'll be hosting an informal meetup about the Superstruct alternate reality game. Join us at noon at the Franklin to explore the world of ARGs, discuss how your institution might participate in Superstruct, and play with the future a bit.

If you don't want to come to any of this stuff but would like to meet up, let me know. I'm particularly keen to talk while exercising. Benchpress brainstorming? I'm there.

For those who won't be at the conference, I'll be twittering and will post reflections next week.

2 comments, add yours!:

HiveBoy said...

Dear God get me an answer to who should own!
I sat in a meeting where we committees that would be developed to approve posts on a blog were considered.
Isn't that antithetical or is that something people should consider?

Nina Simon said...

Yup, some museums do use editorial committees to approve posts before they are published--the most extreme case of this is at the Smithsonian. Jeff Gates wrote a great paper about the approach at SAAM: New World Blogging within a Traditional Museum Setting.

I'm not a fan of editorial committees, but I understand museums' desire to have some oversight over social media. I make three recommendations to wary institutions:
1. maintain a standard PR blog alongside any other blogs that exist. That way, you have one stake in the ground that is traditional (with tightly controlled messaging), which may make some folks more comfortable with using other blogs to do more unusual, edgy things.
2. Instead of editing, monitor. Pick someone who is "in charge" of the message who reads posts and can communicate with authors about any concerns, post-publication.
3. Create a social media toolkit. Every museum marketing department should create a set of approved logos, required links, and general guidelines for engagement in social media. This is useful for creators (because they have easy access to graphics and understand where they have to link) and for marketing (to be a support, not a hindrance, to social media activities).