For step-by-step guidance on getting started with Twitter, have a look at the MuBu Social Media Guide, pages 8-9, created by Sound Delivery for Renaissance East Midlands.
Sign up at www.twitter.com, and create a profile for your museum or project. Try and choose the name of your museum, for instance @MuseumofLondon.
Send a tweet and promote a message in 140 characters. Start by sending one saying you have joined. Find similar museums or people to follow.
Twitter now has over 10 million users in this country according to a recent article and is a great way to create dialogue with museum audiences. It offers a unique way for museum collections to connect with others in similar networks and share links to webpages, documents, images, audio and video. It can also be used to raise awareness for museum events.
Tweets can be sent from anywhere using mobile and wifi technology. They can also be geo located to your exact location using Google maps. It is possible to tweet text and pictures on the way to or at special events, and in new exhibitions or the collection stores.
The time it takes to tweet a message is minimal but deciding on what to tweet can take a lot more time. Allow time for researching how you want to represent your collection or event and also for finding other similar organisations and individuals who are on Twitter to follow. A good active Twitter account will be sending out tweets at least once a week, and depending on the time taken to research and collate the content, between 1-3 hours will be needed each week for updating and communicating with your followers and those you follow.
For examples of museums already using Twitter, see:
For step-by-step guidance on getting started with Facebook and finding your audience, the following articles are useful:
Sign up and create a page for your museum or project. Select Local Business or Place, choose the category: Museum/Art Gallery and enter your address and contact details. You will also need an email address to set up a normal Facebook account for administrating the page. Prepare a photo or logo and a short biographical paragraph about the museum and its collections, to upload to your page.
Creating your museum page will enable users to become fans and follow your activities. To begin with, encourage other Facebook users who might be interested in the museum to “like” the page. Update your status with news and other digital content and begin to develop dialogue with your fans.
Facebook is an extremely popular social media website with an estimated 30 million users in the UK. It enables museums to connect with existing and new users and to share digital information and photographs relating to museum collections, exhibitions and events. It also enables two-way dialogue between the museum and the rest of the world.
Facebook is available as a mobile app and so, like Twitter, it is possible to update your status anywhere with an internet connection. For instance, your fans can leave comments on your page whilst visiting an exhibition on site.
If your museum Facebook account is going to be used for general information and promoting exhibitions and events, then you may only need to update it weekly. Ideally at least 1-3 hours a week should be spent on updating your status, responding to comments, promoting your page and creating and researching new content to share.
Most museums are now on Facebook. Here are a few examples:
There are several options for blogging as a museum. For general information and advice about blogging, see:
For text-based blogging, WordPress.com and Blogger.com are two of the most popular and easy to use. Many museums use blogging to give a personal voice to their organisation, with staff writing regularly about collections, events and people. Often individual posts on a museum’s blog are contributed by different people within the museum, so one person does not have full responsibility for coming up with content. For example, the curator might write a post about their favourite item in the collection one week, and the next week an education officer might write a “day in the life”, etc.
If you’re working this way, it’s a good idea to come up with some ideas for blog posts and plan these in advance, to avoid leaving long gaps between posts when staff are busy. Decide how often you want to blog (eg. every week), ask people to contribute a post, and assign them a deadline, so that you always have content available. A blog which hasn’t been updated in a long time is worse than no blog at all because it gives the impression that nothing is happening at your museum!
You can find a list of the “100 Best Museum Blogs” according to Museum Media here:
More locally, Cambridge University Museums have several blogs for different sites and projects. View the list here: http://camunivmuseums.wordpress.com/ucm-blogs/
For image blogging, Tumblr is the most popular choice. Tumblr is a blogging platform like WordPress and Blogger, but it is mostly used to share images, rather than text. Posts typically consist of an image with a short description (eg. a title and artist, and maybe an interesting fact), rather than a full text post. This is ideal if you have a large bank of good quality images of your collection, and you want to share them with a wider audience. However, be aware that “sharing” is the key word with Tumblr – the platform has a much-used function for editing “re-blogging” other people’s posts, so be prepared for your images to be re-blogged many times, possibly without your original text or credit. Tumblr also moves much more quickly than other blogging sites, so you will need to update it more often than you might a text blog. However it only takes a few moments to upload your photo and add the description, so the actual amount of time spent on each post is much smaller.
Tumblr is especially popular with young people and ideal for education and outreach projects.
Here are some examples of museums using Tumblr:
The DeYoung Museum http://deyoungmuseum.tumblr.com
The Horniman Museum http://in-the-horniman.tumblr.com
Sign up at for your chosen platform and create a username for your project or museum and a title for your blog. Follow instructions on each platform to search for other interesting blogs to follow and other users via your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Blog posts could be used for information about exhibitions and collections or to share specific projects. All the above blogging sites will allow you to upload and share pictures, audio or video.
Blogging gives your organisation a more friendly, less formal voice, and allows you to share your collections and engage with new audiences. Visitors to your blog can also comment on your posts, making them more interactive than a traditional website.
All three blogging platforms mentioned above are also available as mobile apps so you can blog ‘on the go’ via a smartphone. Posts can be linked easily to your museum website and other social media websites.
Blogs can be used whenever you want to share updates on projects or exhibitions and collections.