That's a pretty good question. A museum's about 'stuff' isn't it?
And yes, it is, and stuff moves with the times. After all, in the Holdsworth Room we have video media talking about the Second World War and showing how Dartmouth and the surrounding area was then. What's different about Social Media?
So far we use Facebook and Twitter. And we use them differently. We're also on Foursquare, so you can check in. And if our webmaster had a smartphone he'd know what that meant! A little bird told him there is a "to visit" list you can put us on. So please put us on it!
What we do on Facebook
We have a page on Facebook, and we use it relatively seriously, certainly compared with our use of Twitter. We're using the new (well it's new in April 2012!) timeline layout. And we're using it to start to display the history of our museum. Of course we could do it here, on this web site, but they have the system set up already. We're still finding our way, of course. This stuff evolves all the time.
As well as the history of the museum we use it to announce things that you can't do in the 140 characters Twitter lets you use. Pop over and have a look! Don't worry, you won't lose your place here. We keep it open for you.
We think a timeline of our history, and of our relationships and interactions in the present (well, what was present when we posted them) will interest folk now and in the future. In so many ways it's an online museum collection in itself.
Oh, and you can check in on Facebook when you visit us. Please do.
What we do on Twitter
We use Twitter for fun!
No, seriously, we use Twitter for fun!
Yes, we're a museum, but who says we can't have fun?
Twitter's pretty much just like sending a text message from your phone, but it's public, so we 'text people' and say stuff about all sorts of things. We have a policy about what we tweet. That sounds pretty grand, but this is what we cover. Grand? Ha!
- Dartmouth Museum things, like opening times, news items, exhibitions,
- Dartmouth things, like local events, charities, personalities, TV programmes about the area, historical things
- Local area things, like what's going in in local National Trust and English Heritage places, travel news, local news
- Devon things, like what's happening on Dartmoor, and not just pony news, either
- Museum things. We support loads of other museums with our tweets and they support us
- Off the wall things that are somehow relevant right now
- We answer folk who ask us things and we ask folk things, too. Twitter's like sitting in a busy coffee shop and enjoying chatting to your friends, their friends and to passing strangers, so don't be a stranger!
That's a pretty wide policy, and it's made us a lot of friends. We're a small museum, perfectly formed, of course, but we punch well above our weight. And we have fun. Have a look and see what we do there. Again, you won't lose your place here. We're nice that way.
The gentle art of tweeting should be to make friends. It’s like having a chat in a crowded pub (Oh look, we said 'coffee shop' a bit further up! Never mind! Pub, coffee shop, it's all the same, really!). Sometimes no-one else hears, the background noise is too loud; sometimes you make a new friend because of what you say or how you say it; rarely, you make an enemy. In the middle of the chat there are things you want to promote. We think you get tacit permission to promote yourself by the contribution you make in general.
We have a feeling we must get some of it right because we’re a really tiny museum (small but perfectly formed!), but we have a disproportionately wide Twitter following. We're not speaking of numbers of followers, but the width of the types of folk who follow us. It’s a black art, though!
We’d like you to follow us, but it isn’t important that you do, if you get our drift. We don't mind if folk follow us for a while and then unfollow for a while, either, not unless we’ve upset them. There’s one chap who’s unfollowed us because he told us we'd upset him, and, though we’ve tried, we don’t understand why. And he thinks he’s told us, but we don’t understand even so. You can’t please everyone.
Other Social Media Things
We haven't yet made a decision about using things like Flickr, Tumblr, any sort of blog or things like that. Those things take more volunteer power than we have available right now.
When we created the site we made a decision about Pinterest, which was not to allow people to pin pictures from this site, simply because other people offer us materials to which they own the copyright, and Pinterest users tend to be cavalier about breaking copyright. On 2 October 2012 we took the decision that Pinterest as improved so much that copyright is no longer an issue:
Pinterest has improved! It now makes sure that the attribution of pinned pictures is always linked back to the source site. That means our initial issues over copyright are much diminished.
So, today, we opened up Pinterest pinning on our web site. It's going to be interesting to see what, if anything, changes in our world.
We're very grateful to By The Dart who told us about this and to Museums Computer Group whose members confirmed it for me, despite my believing By The Dart and seeing it with my own eyes! I am not a trusting soul when I'm the custodian of other people's copyrights
We are most definitely on Foursquare! And we love it when our visitors check in!
You can review us on Tripadvisor, too. Even if we don't reply there, and we tend not to reply there, you can be sure we'll take your thoughts to heart. We love good reviews, of course we do, but we most definitely need to hear from you when things haven't gone the way you or we would have hoped. Ideally you'll tell us directly, in person, on the day. If we haven't met the standards you feel we should meet then, or if you would prefer to talk to us later, please get in touch, ideally by email or post. We believe very much in "If we did well please tell your friends. If we fell short, please tell us." If you want to tell the world about it, Tripadvisor is there for you, too.
Yes, but why do we do this stuff?
It's very simple. We want you to come and visit us.
If you find out about us then we know you'll want to peep round the door. One peep and you're a friend for life!
Who are the team?
Tim set it all up. He created a lot of the web site. He did a lot of marketing in real life before he came to play with us. Tim started us on Twitter and Facebook in the first place, but he's relinquished the role now and we're looking for volunteers to join the team. Could you be one of them?