From Nina Simon at Museum 2.0
This is the reason that many museums and cultural organizations decided they needed websites in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We recognized that people were increasingly turning to the Web as a source of information–for content knowledge but also for trip planning. I believe that the primary reason most museums started their websites is about planning visits. Marketing departments realized that a large percentage of people were using online search engines to find interesting things to do, and they wanted to be there.
Now, things are changing again. Whereas the Web of the 2000s was dominated by search, we are entering a time when more and more people are using social media as their gateway to the Web. Ask a college student what her homepage is, and you are likely to see Facebook, not Google, pop up on her screen. The worldwide market reach of social networks and other “member community sites” (as Nielsen research deems them) is growing rapidly, and it seems likely that Facebook and other social networking sites will continue to attract older, more mainstream audiences.
This means that more and more people are “entering” the Web via social context. Last week, Susie Wilkening wrote a blog post expressing that Facebook has replaced her newspaper as the go-to place for relevant news in her life. It’s not hard to imagine a near future where Facebook (and sites like it) also replace a lot of the ways we use atomized search. This already happens for me with professional research. When I’m looking for a resource on something, my first stop is Twitter, where I can send my research question to my professional network. Then I use Google to track down the references they mention. People often ask me how I find out about interesting projects going on at different museums. I’m not constantly googling “visitor co-created exhibits” and searching blind. I find out about these things in my social networks–via blogs, professional communities, Twitter, and socially-selected content feeds, which contextualize and direct me towards information of interest.
And what about me? I do consulting work and research for a variety of museums (and I’m available!). Previously, I curated The Tech Virtual Test Zone at The Tech Museum, designed virtual experiences with the Electric Sheep Company, and worked as the Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. I live in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA, pursuing museum (and virtual) experience design from the mountains. If you would like to discuss opportunities for collaboration, consulting, or wild projects, contact me.
via Museum 2.0.