Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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”When the people claim a picture…” #Blogg100


The film roll by Alberto Korda. From Wikimedia Commons.

I am very fascinated by photographs that become icons, claimed by people all over the world. There are by now countless examples of photographs of this kind, perhaps the most famous one is the portrait of Che Guevara, by Alberto Korda. Another one is The Scream that I have written about in a previous post.  Now the photographer and visual storyteller Platon tells in this video by CNN about the portrait of Putin that by now has been claimed by numerous communities.

”When the people claim a picture, and it somehow connects with the times we’re living in, that’s the greatest honor we could wish for.”
Platon Tells The Story Behind His Portrait of Vladimir Putin, Petapixel.com


Blog post 17/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Disruptive relations, ubiquitous connectivity and new nations – Pew Research looks into the future #Blogg100

Wearable technologies. IntelFreePress, Flickr, CC-BY-SA.

Wearable technologies. IntelFreePress, Flickr, CC-BY-SA.

The recent report by Pew Research Center’s Internet Project Digital Life in 2025 is great and important reading for anyone who is interested in how digital tools and services affect our lives, and will in the next 10 years. Many of the predictions may sound far fetched and distant, and that’s why it is even more important to take them into account. Ten years is not that far ahead and in many cases the changes are already beginning to take place. The predictions often relate to international relations and politics, but can clearly be applied to organisations and audiences as well. Here are a few thoughts on some of the conclusions from this extensive report.

The report has a main section called 15 Thesis About The Digital Future. For this section the Pew Research Center consulted experts and technology builders who contributed with predictions on mobile, wearable and embedded technology, the Internet of Things and above all connectivity. In the wake of Twitter recently being banned in Turkey by the Prime Minister, the notion of the new ‘nations’ in the report becomes even more interesting.

The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control…

…Traditional structures of government and governance are therefore ill-equipped to create the sensors, the flows, the ability to recognize patterns, the ability to identify root causes, the ability to act on the insights gained, the ability to do any or all of this at speed, while working collaboratively across borders and time zones and sociopolitical systems and cultures.

Digital Life in 2025

This is primarily a matter of international politics and far greater issues than cultural heritage, like democracy, providing food, water, education and a safe society etc. But it is also a matter of organisations interacting with and influencing, as well as growing as a member of, this changing society. To achieve this, I believe, organisations will have to strategically start reaching out to online communities and ”tribes” (1), becoming aware of the structure and nature of these audiences, and how to interact with them, and above all keeping up with what challenges and changes organisations are facing.

Responding to challenges and changes

One of the less hopeful theses presented in the Pew Research Center’s report is that humans and their current organisations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks. So far we have seen, and talked about, the disruptive technologies, but today we are in fact facing ”significant disruption to relations.” In the report this is primarily  again about disruptive relations between and among states, but also the emergence of transnational political actors and movements. Looking at consequences of disruptive relations on international levels and actors there is of course a probability for disruptive relations on other levels within societies, for example those between organisations and audiences, as we have already seen is the case. (2)

”..we are truly going through a paradigm shift — which is celebratory for what it brings, but it also produces great precariousness because existing structures lose meaning and valence, and hence, a new world order needs to be produced in order to accommodate for these new modes of being and operation. The greatest impact of the Internet is what we are already witnessing, but it is going to accelerate.”

Digital Life in 2025

The most interesting and in some ways alarming conclusion from this report is that what we are already experiencing in terms of organisational changes and disruptive relations is not only here to stay but is going to accelerate. How do we respond to these challenges? By making strategic plans for the organisational changes that have to take place, by implementing digital and social awareness and growing competences on all levels of the organisation. And above all as the final quote from the report states:

The biggest impact will come from something we don’t currently foresee. Stay alert!
Marc Prensky, gaming researcher and teacher

(1) Tribes gather around strong passions and reaching out to tribes requires being customer-centric and ability to serve rather than lead. Tribal Marketing is further described by Elia Mörling, Tribaling.
(2) Disruptive technologies and services like social media are already challenging traditional values and organisational structures, transforming organisations into social businesses, as Brian Solis, Altimeter Group stated in 2013.


Blog post 16/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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New Twitter report : 640 000 Swedish Twitter accounts #Blogg100

Twitter Census

Today, the yearly Twitter Census report was presented by Intellecta Corporate. The study aims to provide a picture of Swedish language Twitter accounts, the number of accounts, the use and growth of accounts over time.

There are 641,746 Swedish-language accounts on Twitter, more than ever before.  Only 84,605 ​​of them – about one eighth – writes an average of more than a tweet a day. The growth rate, the number of new accounts every day, is at the moment decreasing. The Swedish-speaking Twitter is still growing, but growth is slower than before.

Comparing number of accounts with the Nordic countries

  • Sweden: 641 746
  • Denmark: 260 194
  • Finland: 153 681
  • Norway: 406 250

Number of active accounts (more than 2 tweets during the last month)

  • Sweden: 243 312
  • Denmark: 53 333
  • Finland: 52 316
  • Norway: 118 809

Very active accounts (more than 1 tweet/day the last month)

  • Svweden: 84 605
  • Denmark: 10 233
  • Finland: 9 735
  • Norway: 32 812

What do people talk about? Mainly it is about technology and social media, but second most common topic is actually culture and third most common topic is politics and media. One interesting conclusion from the report is that the use of Twitter is different among the different Twitter communities. And the largest new group on Twitter in Sweden is the young population, a group that mostly follow each other.


Exploring the use of Twitter is of course interesting when deciding whether or not to use the channel for campaigns. Who is the target group, are they on Twitter and if so can the museum reach this particular community?

Sources (in Swedish)


Blog post 15/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Download textbooks through iTunes – schools and ICT #Blogg100

Students with iPads

Students with iPads. Photo: Brad Flickinger, CC-BY.

Using iPads in school, getting all relevant study material for classes downloadable through iTunes curated by the teacher is becoming reality at the Stephen Perse Foundation school in Cambridge.

Teachers at the independent school are making their own online library of lessons and course materials for GCSE, A-levels and International Baccalaureates. These are interactive resources, with video links and lesson notes, customised for the specific needs and speeds of their classes. There are extension exercises and links to further reading and ideas.
BBC News Business

This successful school is also planning to share its online resources for free. The need for skilled teachers is also discussed:

”…such online courses depend on the quality and the skill of the teacher, it’s not a plug-and-play education.”
BBC News Business

The same discussions are emerging in Sweden as well. The Swedish National Agency for Education delivered a report in 2013 ICT use and technical excellence in school.

The report shows that access to computers has increased dramatically for both students and teachers in the last three years, but that the technologies are not used more widely in education. ICT skills are in general low. More computers have not meant that ICT is used more in teaching. The use of ICT is almost equally low in several subjects as it was three years ago . It also appears that many teachers feel that there are large gaps in the ICT support and equipment. The report concludes that there is a great need for professional development of both teachers and principals.

As in my previous post it is interesting to once again conclude that introducing technology in itself does not automatically make an organisation or a community more digital.


Blog post 14/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Digital inclusion and the elderly population #Blogg100


Photo: Kajsa Hartig.

The central organisation Uppsalas Pensionärsföreningars Samarbetsråd (UPS) acts on behalf of 63 associations to represent and defend the interests of the senior citizens in Uppsala, Sweden. Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth city with its 200 000 inhabitants, 70 km north of the capital Stockholm.  UPS recently analyzed the report Digidel 2013 – Increased Digital Inclusion. Digidel 2013 was a campaign (2011–2013) to increase the part of the population actively using digital services. The campaign was formed by a network of NGOs, libraries, companies and authorities.

UPS’ findings and conclusions are relevant in many ways even if you are not working primarily with elderly people, but if you are about to implement digital tools in your organisation.

In Sweden, less than 10% of the population never use the internet. Unsurprisingly, most of these non-digital citizens are seniors. The reasons for elderly not to be online are many, from cognitive and physical difficulties to pure disinterest. Another major obstacle is to start learning how to use complex technical devices. The interesting question raised by Uppsala Pensionärsföreningars Samarbetsråd is:

To what extent is this lack of IT-proficiency a problem for an elderly population who’s lived all their life offline?

Most of those without access to the Internet already feel they are missing out a lot, from opportunities to live a less isolated life to fully enjoying their democratic rights. It is a fact that most authorities in Sweden expect all citizens to be using their online services, which have silently replaced their traditional, offline ones. Being part of the online community can also lead to better healthcare as well as a sense of inclusion, networking with people in different communities, etc. The list of situations where offline seniors are missing out is already very long and it won’t stop growing. Even worse for these seniors the digitization of services are seen as improvement and progress by the society in general.

On a national level a direct consequence of the quasitotal absence of seniors in social media media is that they are not getting the attention that they deserve in broad cast media, especially during this years national elections.

One major issue when trying to get elderly people online is that they can’t be reached through usual training programs. They don’t see the benefits of using internet to the extent that they will want to overcome technological barriers. As Digidel states in their report:

”More than seventy percent of those not using the Internet in 2013 specify ’lack of interest’ as the main reason . It may also be that the Internet is not commonly used in the environment they live in. Just less than twenty percent say internet is too complicated. The rest thinks it is too expensive or that they are prevented from using internet by practical difficulties or disabilities.”

This report and the analysis made by Uppsala Pensionärsföreningars Samarbetsråd shows that when reaching out to elderly people, the focus should be on making everyone understand the relevance of internet (including social media) in a person’s everyday life. There is a need for computer classes, but this is not enough to attract the quite large number of elders that lack interest for Internet and new media. To put it simply, technical training initiatives won’t reach their goals if the very purpose behind this training isn’t understood by participants. I believe this approach is applicable in any organisation when implementing digital tools and services.

I will return to the subject of digital inclusion and the relevance of social media and internet to individuals in an upcoming blog post.

This blog post was written i collaboration with Matthieu Hartig, communications strategist at Uppsala Pensionärsföreningars Samarbetsråd (UPS).


Blog post 13/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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New tech more important to museum management in 2014? #Blogg100

Importance of new technology

I just came across these survey results on Twitter (shared via @danspock) from a company called Museum Management Consultants in San Francisco. The survey is called 2014 Museum Thought Leader Survey. The survey in itself is not very extensive and lacks explanatory text, and there is no way to know how many museum leaders actually received the survey (apparently 55% replied).

One question involves New media: ”If funding were no object, which one initiative or project would you develop at your museum”. It is interesting to se the growing importance of and awareness of New technologies. However the question is rather confined: ”If funding were no object…”. It would certainly have been more interesting to know what the priorities would be, concerning New technologies, without the condition of disregarding funding.


Blog post 12/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Tell IKEA about your relationship with Billy #Blogg100

IKEA museum blog

Today the upcoming IKEA museum in Älmhult, Sweden launched a new blog, collecting stories about the one and only bookshelf Billy and the couch Klippan.

The KLIPPAN sofa and the BILLY bookcase have been part of the IKEA furniture family for a long time now. Over these years they’ve become two of the most popular items of IKEA furniture, so we’re pretty sure you’ve got stories to tell about your relationship with KLIPPAN and BILLY.

Aside from being featured on this blog, the best stories will be showcased in the first and only IKEA Museum, located in the original IKEA store in Älmhult, Sweden.

The IKEA Museum opens in the autumn of 2015 and will be housed in the world’s first IKEA store in Älmhult, Sweden. It will contain a permanent and a temporary exhibition as well as a restaurant and a gift shop. The most unique stories about BILLY and KLIPPAN collected through the blog will be featured as part of an exhibtion featuring the bookshelf and the couch.

As Billy might be the most common bookshelf in Swedish homes (and probably elsewhere?) hopefully the IKEA Museum will have plenty of exciting and personal stories to choose from when building the exhibitions.


Blog post 11/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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Meet the staff on Twitter #Blogg100

National Gallery of Art

Another rolemodel in how to use Twitter for cross organisational collaboration, staff training, outreach, building a dialogue and create awareness among the staff for the use of social media: Yesterday the National Gallery of Art in Washington participated in a Twitter initiative. A Twitter discussion with the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the National Archives, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Two experts were available to answer questions.

During World War II, American “Monuments Men” were deployed as military officers to protect historical monuments, art, and archives in war theaters throughout western Europe. These men and women worked to protect cultural heritage, ensuring its safety in the aftermath and returning works, when possible, to their rightful owners once peace and security were restored.

Take part of the Storify here >>


Blog post 10/100 #Blogg100 challenge


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Artoneforty – takes Twitter one step further #Blogg100 #Art140 #SSXW


Totally excited about MoMA’s new Twitter project, launched today at #SXSW in Austin. The Twitter account @artoneforty will get us talking about art on Twitter.

MoMA has 1.6 million followers on Twitter and 1.5 million likes on Facebook. Still they decided to create a brand new account, a thematic stream which relies ”less on chronology and more on ideas around broader topics” as Adweek writes today. The purpose of Art140 is to provide ”means to better understand how the public feels about art. The project also creates an opportunity for people to connect with living artists.”

In addition to the Twitter account MoMA has launched a website with images of six pieces of art that are the center of the conversation. ”They will represent a wide range of work, including abstract and landscape art, according to Victor Samra, the digital media marketing manager at MoMA.”

Hashtags beneath each piece will link conversations on the feed. The aim is to create ”the most engaged art community in the world”. The tweets will also be analyzed to help MoMA understand more about what people love and hate about art.

I am definitely looking forward to follow this project.

Read article on Adweek >>


Blog post 9/100 #Blogg100-challenge

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The Cultural Value of Digital Engagement With Heritage #Blogg100 #heritageCR

From my recent visit to the wonderful exhibition Britain: 1 million years of the human story at the Natural History Museum of London.

Britain: 1 million years of the human story at the Natural History Museum of London.

Experiencing the Digital World: The Cultural Value of Digital Engagement with Heritage is an exciting project at University of Leeds, aiming at providing

”a critical review of the role of digital engagement and access in shaping cultural experiences in the context of museums, galleries and heritage. Academics and practitioners alike have explored the potential of digital technology for offering new insights into our understanding of the past for an ever wider section of society. This has taken a number of forms, from 3D modelling of archaeological sites to large-scale digitisation projects for the long-term preservation and curation of material heritage. At the same time, the digital world can be used as a tool for increasing and broadening public participation in heritage culture.”

As well as the critical review document, the project will be producing a briefing paper for museum, gallery and heritage professionals and hosting an international workshop with partner organisations in Leeds on 9th May 2014. I have been invited to this workshop and am very excited to start looking into the cultural value of digital engagement with heritage. My role is to provide insight from the museum sector (along with others). And I will be drawing on my 19 years experience of working with disseminating heritage through digital channels.

However, taking a step back and actually reflecting on the cultural value of what we do at museums in terms of digital, is something we need to spend much more time doing. I am speaking for the museum sector, rather unashamedly – though of course there is plenty of research going on on different levels. In times of funding getting cut, and resources scarce, we will have to argue even further that our digital efforts are in fact bringing great value (and in what way) to society.

These are just some primary thoughts as I am starting to prepare for the workshop in May. And doing research online I came across this interesting blog #TheCulturalValueInitiative by Dr Eleonora Belfiore, who is connecting cultural value to the very relevant issues of funding. And developing these thoughts further knowledge of cultural value and digital engagement with heritage is of course central also for decision making in terms of allocating resources, making priorities etc.

I am very happy to explore this subject further and will return to cultural value and digital engagement with heritage in a couple of blog posts.


Blog post 8/100 #Blogg100-challenge