In recent years, museums have added social media to their toolbox of online communication in order to establish interactive two-way contact with their audiences. Social media has become very popular in museums’ online communities because it allows people to interact around ideas conveyed through texts, images, video, audio, and multimedia applications. This interaction creates deeper connections to the cultural content of museums and moves the audience to greater appreciation of museums as social venues. Though social media potentially presents a strong opportunity to reach new audiences and to create communities around museums’ content on a global scale, there is no clarity so far as to how instrumental social media can be to truly engage international audiences. For those museums claiming in their mission statement to serve international audiences, it might be instrumental to track their online visitors from an international perspective. “Who is coming to museums’ online communities?”, “Where are they from?”, “What motivations or goals do they have?”, “Do they stay within those communities and how engaged are they?” “What do they bring to the communities from their cultures?”– all these questions and many more can be a meaningful part of the discourse around the use of social media by museums in their international online communities. This study explores the international component of the online museum community by measuring the engagement level of foreign audiences in a participatory online project. The research presents major findings from the analysis of the “Bedroom Secrets” Blog Project, developed by the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands).
|Keywords:||Social Media, Social Technology, Online Museum Community, Online Audience, Online Engagement, International Social Networks, Museum Blog, Museum Online Project, International Online Visitors, International Audience|
PhD Student, Cultural Policy and Management Program, City University London, London, UK
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