donderdag 26 mei 2011

What did I learn form attending the conference MuseumNext?- about Oprah,engaging and truly listening

I heard in 2008 about an American actress who asked herself all the time 'What would Oprah do' and started to find out by following her advice and blogging about it. Attending the congres MuseumNext made me think of this actress, she is called Robyn Okrant. MuseumNext 2011 in Edinburgh was all about how museums and galleries can benefit from new technology and the latest web trends.

I heard so much good advice during the conference that it was sometimes somewhat overwhelming. Like a good Oprah show: 'living the best life you can', being happy with all the good advices and quotes but at the same time feeling it is almost unhuman to really execute all of it (or even half of it). Helppppp!!!!

Just a splash (at random and very unorganized) of all the advices and comments on day 1:

  • Lobby for you bright ideas within in your own organisation
  • As a museum, you can let the visitor see himself through the museum
  • Using social media: focus on visitors voice, letting them hear a personal voice from within the museum
  • You really have to listen to your audience!
  • Evaluate in detail your actions, every few months , fe how much interaction was there, how many retweets id you get and by whom, what worked and what didn't. This kind of information you can use in your organisation, future marketing purposes.
  • It is a place of watch and being watched, people like things like the "Hand form above', or project like ' it's time we MET' (Metropolitan)
  • You have to inspire visitors to cooperate
  • Remember: its 'people that make the space interesting'
  • Make conversation starters
  • Make nice relaxing spaces like in the exhibition The science of spying- London Science Museum
  • Engage with your audience
  • Be responsive and try new things
  • Offer also content that is not part of the physical experience
  • Snackable content must be readily available (love this one!!-FH)
  • Public engagement is at heart of our plans
  • Look outside the sector for inspiration
  • Ask questions first and make time for and pay attention to analysing your stats
  • Employ a geek in residence
  • Don't get distracted by shiny things
  • Word of mouth is still one of the best forms of marketing
  • Make friends with your superfans
  • Be responsive to your visitors
  • Liverpool Museums made a seperate press account (stream) on Twitter separate from their normal tweets
  • Invite people to your openings, events with loads of followers on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook
  • Use the correct hashtags like #museumspics #museumMeM etc
  • Make all your content sharable not only by share buttons, stick numbers to it
  • drawing in gallery is shared through a site (MOMA)
  • At the Hepworth Wakefield they share your remarks
  • Signs in museum tell us what you think about museum on textboards (do NOT remeber what that exactly means)
  • Why not place a permanent Twitterscreen in your museum
  • Allow photography, museum overplayed the copyright issue, photography is your friend, museums!
  • The MET invited people to pose next to an artwork and made a poster advertisement with the material. MET on the move!
  • Take in a lodger: a girl lived in museum a month, she was selected (1.500 people wanted it). She blogged, made video's, posted on the Twitter etc. Please somebody, steal it!
  • Run a competition and make the most democratic exhibition in the world
  • Like in Yorkshire, let visitors pick their favorite painting and take it home (on canvas)
  • Treat bloggers like rockstars (Hell, yeah!-FH) (example Cold War exhibition V&A)

Well, my English is not perfect and I hope I quoted most of it right, but you can imagine it was a whole lot of advice. Most heard was: engage with your audience and listen to your public. It made me think what it exactly meant for me. I always think of myself as someone who loves to engage with the public. But do I really fulfill the expectations....? Don't we all think we are auditive, responsive and nice, while really half of the time we are not....?

How was my ' Edinburgh score' of engaging and all so far? Just talking to people I already knew, safe...or? I took several times a taxi and had nice talks with friendly Edinburgh taxi drivers. I listened and talked with them about football, using iPhones, being a female taxidriver for 28 years, about life, about listening all day to people in the back...etc etc I thought I was doing pretty well. If anything, the opposite was true. I was about to find out.

In one of the short breaks a nice man came up to me and said: ' That is a nice laptop'. ' I said: 'Yes, it is my pre iPad laptop,' and smiled at him. We started talking and exchanged cards. I looked at his card carefully and I mentioned: ' Hm, Blue State Digital, never heard of your company, but you are major, you have several offices...New York, Boston and let's see London, DC en L.A. Hi, nice to meet you Rich Mintz!' He smiled at me and he exchanged some sentences with me before we went our seperate ways to the bar.
OMG what was I stupid!!! This encounter made me realise I was not all interested in the people around me on the conference. During the day I found out Rich was one of the keynote speakers (on day 2), he is vice-president of a company that for Barack Obama’s historic presidential run, developed and managed an online campaign operation that was unprecedented in size, scope, and influence. How could I be so stupid not to study the programme closely, knowing names? Recognising a person were I would be listening to, would have been something that a truly interested person would have done. I even felt worse when I found out that Rich was following all of us on Twitter before we even thought of it (I checked with other people). He was truly interested in US, his audience he was going to speak to, following us, moving around and chatting. Instead of being busy with himself.

Yep, Oprah. Yes, Jim Richardson, I still did not learn. Although you provided me with all the best advice. Perhaps I can make up by admitting mistakes. Like I just did. And now Oprah left television after 25 years, I guess I have to attend Museumnext next year in Barcelona. Just to be a truly engaging and listening person. Hasta la vista, babies!

PS Thank you Rich Mintz, for being a truly engaging and listening type of a guy! Oh and thank you so much for the wonderful Not in my name and It gets better projects

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