Museums and social media

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Today’s museums are enthusiastic exploiters of social media. Museums, employing new technology in their effort to engage and attract the public, are turning museums into “virtual community centers.” Facebook, podcasts, iPhone apps and YouTube are enabling museums to present information in creative ways and to reinvent themselves. Here are just a few successful examples:

YouTube Play: Created by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum last summer, YouTube Play allowed anyone with a video camera, a computer and a little time to submit a video to its art Biennial. The Guggenheim received a stunning 23,358 submissions from 91 countries. More than 24 million viewers watched the Biennial on YouTube and at the museum. YouTube and the Gugenheim are holding discussions about the next Biennial.

ArtBabble: A web site started by the Indianapolis Art Museum, ArtBabble offers viewers videos (most in high-definition) from institutions around the world. During its initial phase, the Indianapolis Art Museum asked a 6 institutions to participate, including the New York Public Library, SF MOMA, LACMA and the Smithsonian. ArtBabble now has 30 museum participants. Each video is accompanied by notes offering links to related material such as artist interviews. (New York Times, “ArtBabble Site Opens Window to World of Museums”)

Podcasts: Many museums are utilizing audio programs and podcasts to support online visitors. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art developed “SFMOMA Artcasts” available on topics ranging from current and past exhibitions, interviews with artists, collectors and curators, and discussions about the formation of the collection.

For more on this topic, checkout the New York Times article “The Spirit of Sharing.”

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