Week 10


Yesterday was the 10th session of the course. Time flies! Our class this week discussed the role of the social software in the museum and surrounding issues.

Social software, such as blogs and podcasts, is a new way to approach current visitors as well as potential visitors of museums, although there are many issues to be considered. The article of Von Appen K. et al. provided us with food for thought on this topic. People feel close and become more engaged to museums by participating in the web based community of museum. However, there still are limitations.

According to the survey of Forrester Research, 52% of computer users do not even browse the blog, and people who actually create own blog and comment on other blogs are 32%. So, in fact, not a large portion of users participate in such web communities, especially, in the museum context, a barrier seems higher than other types of blog. We also focused on the issue of censorship and moderation.

Through inviting user-generated contents, museums can also offer the opportunity for online debates about controversial issues. However, because of the nature of web-based communities, a museum blog could be exposed to language abuse. So, a certain degree of moderation would be required, although it may sometime be challenging to decide on what to moderate or not.

Maculan’s post “Museum and social software” also made us think about new styles of communication that would help to reach to new audiences. In the political world, some politicians have started to use social software such as You-Tube to approach new audiences. Should museums to the same thing? If so, then, in what way?