Monday, February 17, 2020

Positively Social

I was planning to write a post this week about positivity in management. And, I think I will, eventually. I have many thoughts, and a few notes on my dark forays into, well, darkness. But, instead, this week, I want to talk about the positivity of social media.

Listen, I’m not Pollyanna about much, and certainly not social media. It’s a time suck. It’s false social and often poor media. It’s disjointed and siloing. It’s hateful and harmless. All that bad exists in social. But there are bright spots of good. That’s what I want to showcase this week.
Work for many museum managers has gotten real recently, I suspect. If your fiscal year i
begins July 1, you’ve gotten past the blurry fun of the first half of the year and moved into budgeting. You are looking at spreadsheets. You’re trying to make tough choices. It’s keeping you up at night.
At the same time, if you’re in this field as both an avocation and a vocation, you can’t help but hear the constant drumbeat of change. The quicksand of philanthropy is underneath, and our footing feels precarious. I’ve buttonholed more than one colleague to try to talk about real solutions for salary equity. The problems in this field are real, and so many of us want to be the ones to solve them. Though, these solutions will only occur if we talk more.

I’m so lost as to how we’re going to get out of the mess that is the equitable support of arts and culture in the age of billionaires. It’s a big ole mess, frankly. That said, I know I’m solving this with others.

Enter social media. I started a conversation about salary as a percentage of operating costs. Mostly, I was trying to understand how to make sense of the field. I wanted some outside perspective. So many people responded, like Michelle Moon of the Tenement and Bruce Wyman of USD-Mach Design Consulting. Their conversations with me helped me continue and expand my ideas. It might have been a moment in their days but it had a big impact on me. I suspect many of us have dropped a note on social, without much thought, that had an impact on others. It might not be social like your coffee meetings with live colleagues at work, but it is a social form of meaning-making. I am truly appreciative of this resource.

Which brings me to the larger comment about social media. Museums are a very small sector (though larger than coal-mining!). The scale might feel suffocating. It’s hard to be in this a while and not know everyone. But, it’s also wonderful. It’s great to be in this a while and know everyone. The power of connections is what makes this whole crazy fieldwork. I suspect, and tried to test this on Twitter, but didn’t quite hit it right, everyone is about three degrees from everyone else. 

Think about that. Everyone can find someone else who can help them within three degrees. I’m not talking about a popularity contest. Being cool or popular isn’t the point. Instead, it’s about being three degrees from someone who can help you with your thoughts. Or being three degrees from someone you can help. We’re in a position, largely due to social, where we can make collective action happen every day on social media. Art Museum Transparency is one good example of this; as are #MuseumsRespondtoFerguson and #Museumsarenotneutral.

What are the ways you can make a positive impact, one social connection at a time? 

Next week, we’re going to talk about how the quirky parts of our job can be positive. Do you have a story to share about something positive that resulted from doing the “other duties as assigned” parts of your job? Tag me so I can add your thoughts to this month’s summary post @artlust on twitter, @_art_lust_ on IG, & @brilliantideastudiollc on FB. 

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