Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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#MuseumWeek is approaching #Blogg100

MuseumWeek2015 (kopia)

March 23 to 26 more than 1 000 museums from 44 countries are participating in the Twitter event #MuseumWeek. I encourage all museums to join, for the following reasons:

  • To get better at managing a Twitter account
  • To get to know the Twitter audiences
  • To test the museum organisation and the readiness to participate online
  • To have a dialogue with curious online museum audiences
  • To think twice about the museum’s digital identity
  • To be inspired and find new ways to communicate and mediate heritage
  • To increase the museum’s readiness to produce online content
  • And most of all: The break daily routines and have fun 🙂


Blog post 14/100 #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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Social TV is here – for real!

Chinatown, London. Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of Sherlock. CC-BY.

This weekend another part of the series Sherlock was aired on Swedish national TV. It was broadcasted just after the first round of the Swedish part of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

As I wrote exactly a year ago, Twitter is the place to be when the ESC competitions are running. It is the talk of the day, and noone misses out of the opportunity to express awe, horror och sheer joy over the contestants. All in the company of a crowd that is mostly well known (people tend to discuss with people they already know), but in some part a huge anonymous crowd, available through hashtags.

This year, the social TV has taken a step forward. During the episode of Sherlock the other day, a Sherlock Holmes fan (a nerd as he calls himself) started to tweet information that added extra value. Mattias Boström, or @mattiasb, gave commentes on every scene that framed the episode with anecdotes and background information.

As a huge amount of people are already watching TV with their laptop, iPad or mobile phone at hand, it seems like watching two screens at the same time is not a problem. On the contrary, being a part of this social network that Twitter provides seems important, especially in front of the TV. A shared experience.

Tweets by Mattias Boström, @mattiasb

Tweets by Mattias Boström, @mattiasb

I myself was watching Sherlock and keeping an eye on Twitter as usual, when suddenly something interesting, valuable and entertaining came up in my stream. The tweets by Mattias Boström.

What Mattias Boström did was a spontaneous act of sharing stories around the series Sherlock. But what if the Swedish National TV themselves had offered this as a bonus? Timely tweets together with a helpdesk, answering questions and taking part in a dialogue around Sherlock. What does this bring to our experience of the television medium? I am curious to follow the development around TV broadcasting and social media. I am sure we’ve just seen the beginning of these multi channel experiences.

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Twitter, trending topics and dashboards

Twingly Liveboard #mel2011

Last night the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 was broadcasted live on TV. It was the first out of four saturdays when the Swedish people will pick a Swedish representative for the big European event in Düsseldorf in May.

The ESC is a huge event that has been going on for decades, and it’s become more and more popular the last ten years. And now with the effect of social media, the hype just seems to explode. For a couple of years, there’s been a growing community of Swedish Twitterers/Tweeps that you could call early adopters and especially interested in social media and communication. Last year the Swedish version of the ESC was followed by a lot of these people and an extensive conversation, small talk I would say, was taking part on Twitter.

This year the small talk within a fairly limited community has grown into something much larger. The hashtag #mel2011 even raised into the top trending list world wide for a couple of hours. A Twingly liveboard channel was set up to display the Twitter stats for the hashtag, and the tweets just kept coming faster and faster, it wasn’t even possible to follow the flow.

In the end, after about two hours or so, the spam tweets started to show up. This is the risk of all trending topics, as we experienced with the #askacurator initiative in September 2010. How this will effect the next competitions within #mel2011, we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.

In any case, the nicely designed Twingly Liveboard gave interesting statistics, and the speed of the twitterfall was astonishing. This makes me wonder how many people are actually using Twitter in Sweden? And how will communication through social media, and services like Twitter, evolve in the next couple of years?

The best use of Twitter last night goes to (my own awards): @wikimediase who happily threw themselves into the Twitter conversation giving links and personalized comments to each of the competing artists. Well done!

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This is what museums are all about

Watch the Blériot fly at Youtube.

Yesterday, the Swedish Science Museum moved into the field next door, just outside Stockholm city, with their Blériot XI from 1918, made in Sweden, and bought by the Museum in 1929. The plane has been restored and is now in great shape, which was proven by the pilot Mikael Carlson who took the Blériot up in the air.

Such an event is en excellent way to communicate not only the museum object, and the story around it, but to communicate the entire museum.

> The Science Museum brought the museum object into an unexpected place (surprise, do the unexpected)
> They created a new contact point, a new surface where to interact with their audience
> They tell the story behind the plane (doesn’t have to be a long story, but it gives a context)
> They created drama ”would it really fly?!”
> They used evicence, ”Yes it can actually fly because we restored it”
> They used professional film makers, it’s not an amateur film
> They broadcasted the flight live through Bambuser
> They have made a beautiful short film available on Youtube
> They tweeted the event, and got retweeted by key figures who use social media

It is a great example of communication where social media plays an important role. Museums might be boring, but they don’t have to be. Let’s create more of this!

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The broad spectrum of cultural heritage web presence

For many museum visitors, it is not always clear that museums have very diversified activities. Nor is it obvious how they are reflected in the web presence. Below some excellent websites, with very different purposes, many of which have been awarded at Best of the Web Awards, organized by the conference Museums and the Web, www.archimuse.com/mw2010. Many of the websites come from the U.S., but also England and Holland.

Art Babble: www.artbabble.org is a gold mine for everyone interested in art and it’s a collaboration between the various art museums. This website is produced inhouse by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This website mediates art as well as make up a platform for curation.

www.philaplace.org Produced in 2010 by The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in collaboration with Night Kitchen Interactive. Phila Place is an online resource that creates commitment and convey local history in a lively way. The site is also an example of how museums are now starting to use external services like Google Maps. Phila Place is an example of how to build long lasting relationships with target audiences and at the same time be a channel for collecting stories.

Augmented reality finds its way into the museum sector. The Netherlands Architecture Institute has produced a 3D app for architecture: http://en.nai.nl/exhibitions/detailexpo/_pid/left1/_rp_left1_elementId/1_601695 And another example is the Museum of London’s app: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/MuseumOfLondon/Resources/app/you-are-here-app/index.html

Brooklyn Museum has early adopted use of social media in the dissemination of collections on the web. They are also working to link the digital and physical experience, an example is: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/click/

Further examples of crowdsourcing is: https://www.mos.org/fireflywatch/ and http://solarstormwatch.com. Both sites convey science for the general public and transform statistics into an engaging format. In particular, Solar Storm Watch has committed a huge audience.

A favorite is: http://kids.tate.org.uk/ that engage children and young people, and create encounters with art in the museum in a way which is not otherwise available to this audience. A website you don’t leave in a hurry.

A winner in the contest ”Best of the Web Award, category” Education ”, is http://www.moma.org/meetme/index the Museum of Modern Art. The museum would like to share good practices and experience of conveying art work toAlzheimer patients.

The fact that museums have collections is for the general visitor often quite irrelevant. It is also perhaps the most difficult part of the museum activities to convey. Here are some examples:

www.europeana.eu the great European portal which presents Europe’s heritage.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/ Historic Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Nordic Museum, Others Institutions: www.digitaltmuseum.se
Swedish National Heritage Board: www.kringla.nu

Of course it is very rare that large institutions produce websites all by themselves. The most successful web agency in the U.S. that work with the cultural heritage sector is www.secondstory.com Second Story, Portland, Oregon, that since the mid-1990s have presented website after website with a high standard and great innovation.

Finally: One size does not fit all as they say, and creating user centric experiences is a way of following that device. It’s possible to create niche websites and still remain interesting, an approach that many museums may have to take on. But to actually attract new audiences and to get the visitors to stay as well as return, museums need to stay well informed about the situations and conditions under which the digital stray visitor actually makes contact with, or encounter, the museum. Knowing your audience is central, and deciding what to focus on. There many cultural institutions still have a long way to go.

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Twitter and customer relations: Two cases

Recently I carried out a small survey on social media among colleagues within the MLA-sector (museums, libraries and archives). Out of 32 responses only 1 actually saw social media as a channel for customer relations. Most common among the responses was to use social media as a channel for listening, to push information and to have a dialogue with the target groups.

Outside the cultural heritage sector, pure customer care through Twitter is growing. I have myself had two experiences as a customer where my use of Twitter actually made a difference. Well, a huge difference I would say.

Pixmania and customer care

First experience was in September 2009. I had purchased a microphone from Pixmania, a French company that is web based. They charged my credit card for the microphone but sent me a dvd instead. So, checking into their website to return the dvd I discovered that:  a) I douldn’t call to get personal service from their representatives and b) to return the dvd I had to fill in a form with a couple of mandatory fields that did not correspond to my needs. Their website completely reduced my possibilities of making a complaint. I was seemingly stuck with the dvd.

In great frustration, the microphone was expensive, I ventilated my problem on Twitter. And soon enough I actually got a personal response from a Pixmania representative. She helped me sorting out the problem and I finally got what I had ordered and paid for.

The Lufthansa experience

Second experience was in April 2010. I was travelling with my husband from Denver to Stockholm with Lufthansa. Due to the volcanic ash clouds that covered Europe at that time our stopover in Frankfurt, Germany, turned out to be an uncomfortable experience. We ended up being transported by bus to Copenhagen, and to get on the bus we had to sign a release so that Lufthansa’s responsibility for us would end in Denmark (hotels in Frankfurt were not offered).

Being dropped off in Copenhagen at 3 o’clock in the morning we had to get a hotel room (at our own expenses) for a couple of hours sleep. The volcanic ash cloud caused a lot of chaos in the air transport industry in April. I was quite aware of that, but when Lufthansa_USA two days later cheerfully tweeted about flying some celebrity for free from the US to a German beer festival (just for fun), I was rather annoyed. There were stillthousands of passengers affected by the huge delays. Not to mention we had ended up in another country than our final destination.

I tweeted out my distress and soon enough Lufthansa_USA responded and said we should contact the customer relations. So I wrote a long letter to the customer relations on April 22nd.

Almost three weeks later I still hadn’t recieved any reply from lufthansa customer relations. So, I started again to ventilate my frustration on Twitter. This was on a Sunday. To my surprise tweets from Lufthansa_DE started to show up in my Tweetdeck, regular tweets about flights being on time etc. But absolutely no response whatsoever.

After several tweets about our Lufthansa experience, still no response, but several retweets and responses from people working with social media reacting to the very big mistake by the company. One way communication through Twitter is not a great success. And not responding to direct questions is a number 1 fail.

Then, Monday morning, Lufthansa_DE apparently had other staff coming in, with mandate to actually speak on Lufthansa’s behalf. The first tweet that I recieved through a DM, 9.12 am, was:

”Good Morning, Unfortunately we cannot solve complex issues via Twitter. Pls contact customer relations instead, thanks http://t.lh.com/GPjo”

I replied at 9.32 am:

”I did, on Aril 22nd, still no reply!”

At 9.48 I recieved this:

”Thanks for your quick reply. The amount of volcano-related issues is huge, your request will be dealt with in due time.”

And at 10 am:

”Customer relations informed us that your claim is indeed filed. Working hard to reduce backlog. Thanks for your patience.”

To show my gratitude and satisfaction to finally get a response I replied at 10.04:

”Thank you for replying! :-)”

Then, the very same day I got a long letter from Lufthansa with great regrets about the situation explaning that they were not able to predict the cancellations etc. They also stated they would reimburse us for the cancelled flight, but then not reimburse our extra costs when travelling from Copenhagen to Stockholm (our final destination).

Two days later

Two days later I recieved a personal phonecall from the Lufthansa customer relations saying they would reimburse us for the hotel night in Copenhangen and for the bustrip to Stockholm. They admitted that making us signing the release in Frankfurt was not correct.


These two experiences have raised a few questions, that are relevant to any company and organisation working with customer relations. What role did Twitter have in this case? Would I still be awaiting response had I not started to tweet about our distress and frustration? Right now the single Twitter-user can make a difference and these are just two cases out of many. A likely development is that the number of people using social media to be influential in their role as customers will grow, and for the cultural heritage sector this is ofcourse important to have in mind.