Sunday, July 23, 2023

Museums and Social Media

Museums, as a general rule, are not the most up to date in the realm of technology and certainly not in the use of social media. But as they are finding that it brings in more visitors, that is beginning to change. I believe it is an unintentional consequence of the pandemic. Just like restaurants thought of building more outdoor spaces, museums started doing lectures and panels on Zoom and then started to use social media to keep the larger audience that they had gained. Here are postings from the Museum of Illusion ...

I heard from an artist that he gets most of his information about what is going on in the art world from YouTube. That surprised me. Then I read from a website I had never heard of,, “Thanks to its Community posts and commenting features, YouTube shares even more similarities with traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Here in our relatively small town with a large disproportionate number of museums and galleries several do post video recordings of their lectures and panels on YouTube. They have found it works in keeping their public interested.

The School of Advanced Research in Santa Fe is devoted to the study of anthropology and related disciplines with an emphasis on Native American artists with an important collection in that field. This is their YouTube channel

It seems that The Art Newspaper keeps track of the most popular art museums on social media every year. In an article by Aimee Dawson with research conducted by Chinma Johnson-Nwosu it mentions that for some reason the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia has slipped out of the top 20. I don’t know why, though I can guess, but it does say something about how social media works. The article does not say whether the museum tried to get followers just that it did not get as many. The premise is how many followers did the museum receive through their efforts. The one with lowest number of the top 20, having 1,550,777 followers, is the Guggenheim Museum in Bibao. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is at the top of the list with 13,346,854 followers. The next ones down are the Metropolitan Museum and the Tate in London, both having over 10 million. The Louvre comes in 4th with over 9 million. Of course, those large numbers come from the best-known museums around the world. These figures are a huge jump for social media from before the Pandemic.

You may already know that there is a new game in town challenging Twitter. Actually, there are several, but the one I believe most likely to succeed is “Threads”. Meta, aka FaceBook, has thrown its hat into the ring. One of the first art institutions to take make a move there is the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The person in charge of the Whitney’s Threads account is Casey Betts who started the account which Annie Armstrong on Artnet News called a quip-centric approach posting “weird contemporary art”. Betts said, “It actually fits in with our larger social media strategy, which is to reach as many people as possible. If the way to do that is to be more light in tone or be more casual, then this is a great opportunity to explore a voice that’s different than what we’d do on either Instagram or even TikTok.” Here are a couple of examples ...

I am excited at the prospect of some toning down of the serious, highbrow attitude toward art in favor of posting in a lighter vernacular to show that art is for everybody and readers do not have to feel ignorant or be scared of it.

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