19 November 2008
Museum blogging – why bother? It’s very hard – impossible, actually – to know how many people read anything we put online. The one thing we can be fairly certain of is that the number of readers hugely outweighs the number of commenters. We can see that from our own online behaviour, after all – how often does any of us leave a comment on a site?
The nature of the online world, the way in which new possibilities become available before we have begun to understand / get a feel for / make best use of what’s already there, means that whatever we do is always going to be experimental.
As far as blogging is concerned, I think part of the key to readership is posting at a reasonable frequency, so that there is a reason for readers to come back regularly. On the whole people who may comment will read for a good while before they do so – the place has to become familiar, as it were, before they are comfortable to do so.
Museums, even the largest, rarely have the resources to be at the bleeding edge – the trick is not to neglect the bleeding obvious. We know that people (or at least a significant fraction of people) are interested to find out more about what it is that working in a museum actually involves. A blog seems to me to be a good way to talk about that, since it requires a more personal, less corporate, tone of voice. Of course it also requires a commitment from sufficient people in the organisation to provide the posts, and a commitment from the organisation not to worry too much about only presenting the (often tediously self-congratulatory) monolithic corporate image.
Museums are full of enthusiastic (indeed one might say obsessive) people with a passion to communicate ideas and stories – we’re paid to do that after all. Blogging is just another string to our bow.
Now can someone explain why a multi-stringed bow would be an advantage?