Note from Beth: If you’ve been following my blog lately, you know I’ve been having this conversation with Marnie Webb about abundance. On Twitter, I asked Marnie for examples of abundance approaches in the nonprofit and she answered in her blog. Marnie says that nonprofits should own the impact and not the to dos, but I asked her but who will actually do the work? She says it is a mix between doing and curating, but the we’ve got to change the “I’ll do it” as the default organizational behavior.
Marc van Bree and I were chatting about some of the collaborative arts marketing strategies that some arts organizations have experimented with on Twitter. Since there have been a few examples, I asked Marc if would write a post looking at some of these.
How Abundance Can Connect Arts Organizations With Audiences by Marc van Bree
A month or two ago, museums and galleries around the world participated in a Twitter event called Ask a Curator. The hash tag #askacurator became a top trending topic on Twitter on the day of the event. I asked Jim Richardson, who blogs at the Museum Next Blog and is the brainchild behind the event, a couple of questions:
How did #askacurator come about? What was the objective?
In February 2010 I organised an event called Follow a Museum, this was prompted by the low number of followers which I felt most museums had on Twitter and simply aimed to boost those numbers. The project was a success, but I felt that it lacked real engagement between the public and the museums and Ask a Curator came to mind.
How did you get 340 museums to participate? And why did you think museums were eager to participate?
The only promotion we did was through Twitter, museums were keen to get involved and retweeted information about the event, virally spreading the word through the museum community.
I’d like to think that so many museums were keen to participate because they want to step beyond using Twitter as a tool for promoting exhibitions and try something which really engaged the public.
What were some of the outcomes of the #askacurator event?
Ask a Curator attracted a large number of questions on a whole range of subjects, the event hashtag became the number 1 trending topic on Twitter and was featured in press around the world.
We ran an evaluation after the event and found that the majority of those who had asked questions during Ask a Curator were encouraged by the event to visit the museums they had exchanged tweets with.
We also had great feedback from museum curators who told us that over 90% of them were encouraged to use social media again after the positive experience of Ask a Curator.
Editor’s note: you can read about some of the feedback here, here, and here.
What do you have in store for the future?
We are now planning to create a video platform for Ask a Curator, a website where members of the public will be able to find hundred of questions on Art, History and Science answered by leading experts from around the world.
The website will also host live video question and answer sessions with curators on a regular basis.
Editor’s note: download a PDF of the plan.
The #askacurator and #followamusuem events sparked other sectors to follow suit, like #followanarchive and #followalibrary
It also sparked a conversation on Twitter among some classical music people. “Wouldn’t it be cool to do something like that for classical music?” Well, here we are…
Together with Lacey Huszcza, Director of Operations & Promotions at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, I am putting together an event called #askaconductor. The accompanying Web site suggests that we have room to expand the event to other musicians throughout the year. Maybe we can have a #askacomposer or #askacellist in the Spring?
So, #askaconductor is the first #askthemusicians Twitter event. On December 8, 2010, conductors from around the world will come together to engage with fans, first-timers and complete strangers. The concept is simple: conductors make some time available to answer questions; Twitter followers ask their burning questions, and the conductors answer the questions. All in one day.
It is an opportunity for classical music organizations and the conductors that lead them to connect to their community and share their stories, love and passion, one tweet at a time, and really engage meaningfully with the public and to go beyond the cut-and-paste news release headlines streaming from many accounts. And itís an opportunity to have some fun on Twitter and debunk some of those stubborn classical music myths.
Of course, there are challenges. How many conductors can we sign up? The event requires a little bit more commitment from classical music organizations than say Marcia Adairís tremendously successful #operaplot event.
Rather than just relying on Twitter to spread the word, Lacey and I reached out to many orchestras to see if their music directors or other resident conductors would be interested in participating. The success of the #askaconductor event will depend on the participation from both organizations and conductors, as well as the audience asking questions. We’ve already gotten some great responses and we’ll be updating the line up as we confirm conductors. The League of American Orchestras, Chorus America and the Association of California Symphony Orchestras have pledged their support in promoting the event. Participants and bloggers can use these handy banners and already San Francisco Symphony’s Donato Cabrera put on up on his site.
What else can we do to ensure success? And how do we reach those outside of the classical music circle on Twitter?
If you’re on Twitter and have always wondered how a conductor picks the music, or what exactly it means swinging a baton in front of a hundred musicians, save your questions for December 8. Any questions about the event? Find us at @askthemusicians.
Dutch native Marc van Bree (@mcmvanbree) is a marketing communications professional and blogs at Dutch Perspective on the intersection of communications, culture and social media.
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