Archive for February, 2009

What do we do when someone sets up a blog called Museumsuck.com?

This morning’s twitter feed (artech05) included a link to the ‘Museums Suck” website (thanks to Seb Chan).
While the article is provocative, the site itself is quite interesting. William Crowley, whoever he might actually be, has actually spent a great deal of time posting videos he’s taken, discussing museums he’s visited and sharing technical knowledge.

This last point is of particular interest. Crowley provides insight into how to create interactives simply, efficiently and cost effectively. He discusses iterative exhibition design, provides instructions for developing a simple tilt application and a simple multi-touch surface platform. This type of public user innovation is quite rare to find in a museum context. Between Crowley’s sometimes hurtful assessments of the museum environment, he’s actually providing useful design and exhibition information.

The blog is only new and Crowley doesn’t tell us enough about himself to assure the critics that he isn’t a fraud, yet his desire to share useful technical information seems genuine. Granted he does this between his individual insights, but I admire his generosity.

Be warned though, the rest of the blog is not for faint-hearted! Perhaps this site is an example of ‘look who’s talking’ – one of the themes for next week’s Transformations in Cultural and Scientific Communication Conference!

Here at Enterprise 2.0

Just spent the day at Enterprise 2.0. Really interesting conference! Well done to Ross Dawson. Here are some notes from the conference. It also ended up being a great example of how Twitter can be used to broadcast conference ideas live. You can follow the feed at #e2ef

Ross Dawson: Enterprise 2.0
– understand drivers
– create enabling frameworks
– support initiatives
– drive adoption and value
iteration and refinement – unpredictable intersection between culture and technology
build on what the community is already doing

focus on people, not on technology

discover, pilot and integrate
find champions within the organisation
be open, transparent, honest

Nathan Wallace: http://www.e-gineer.com
all news to be posted to internal intranet
anyone can edit almost anything
we know who you are
capturing the flow of ideas – lead to more conversation and collaboration
shift from user innovation to open innovation
embedding this flow of ideas in the development of products, services and experiences

Twitter
What is the business value?
focus on interactions over processes and tools
ease of use over comprehensive training
flexible tools over completeness
respond to needs rather than creating demand

clarify what the business is looking for
simplify
implement

Peter Williams: Deloitte
leadership and culture is where it starts
employees want to put in vs employees are scammers
experiment and embrace
make it participative
make sure you do something when you get the involvement
don’t be scared
it’s emergent so just do it!

JP Rangaswami
consume structure
produce structured
consume unstructured
produce unstructured

post 1982 – trained to use computer capabilities and facilities well before they began work

trading information across conversations – marketplace

giving people the right to right – upload rather than download rights

what do people do at work?
search – all search is wildcard – not deterministic
syndication – subscribing only to those aspects of information you are interested in.
eg: Twitter – subscribe and publish – requested information rather than broadcast at a time and in form you require
fulfillment – what the inventory is, does it match your needs, price, deal, settlement instructions

Focus on value of output rather than input

While much of what we do in enterprise is insecure, in Web 2.0 environment we leave a trail!

David Backley Westpac
PhD – role of ICT in work/life balance
new initatives must demonstrate
– retention
– new business
-drive down costs

You even need to have a methodology for doing something agile within an organisation.

Code of contact online is same as that offline

content and context: the technology is not the issue, it’s a work style generational thing!
– my revelation!
i sit on the phone most of the day and then I go home and phone friends and family – do I wonder about the work/life
balance of this technology?

technology needs to be able to scale
stop or wind up a project when it is done!
have fun
getting something to stick – embedded in the organisation!

And finally, my take on measures of success:
It’s a boomer – you drive costs down or create new income
Collaboration – new partnerships
Impact on organsiational communication – new strategies
outputs – new products and services/ experiences. increased empowerment of key resources
innovation – broaden collection intelligence

Demos on Democratic Culture

John Holden from Demos recently released this report ‘Democratic Culture’ to explore what it is that we mean by culture in our times. The report establishes three useful spheres:the public, commercial and homemade. The public is that which is defined as culture through the act of being funded by governments, commercial culture is determined by the consumer and the homemade by the creator and/or community. Holden proposes that as these three spheres become increasingly interconnected and networked, the ambiguities between each is likely to increase. He suggestst that the reaction to this by those  who consider art to be ‘for an elite’ will be that they to try to maintain their power to define what art is by separating it from everyday life. This is probably not such a new thought; before the internet we found ways of defining high and low culture, particularly in the museum/library/archive/gallery sector. Kevin Moore’s ‘Museums and Popular Culture’ (1997) dealt with issues of interpretation and representation and focused on the paradox of the museum in attempting to maintain a distance from those cultural events which, in another time and another place may well be defined as high culture.

But this is not the place for yet another ‘divide’ discussion. Holden describes the impact of ‘exculsivity’ and ‘the cultural snob’, suggesting levels of expert skill and knowledge are relative. He proposes that the arguements which frequently break out between the ranks are in themselves a mechanism for ‘asserting exculsivity’ in order to  “guard the territory that they have mapped together, in order to keep the public out.” (Holden 2008, p. 20) Holden asserts that if we can begin to consider the demos as  ‘us’, ” a self-governing, enlightened citizenry, with the capacity to make judgements and decide questions” then three-way communication can develop.

The article is an interesting read and contexutalises existing debates quite well. Where it seems to lack punch is in a sense of the future. Recognising that there is a big gap between the rhetoric or access and audience expectation, I can’t help feeling somewhat worn out by the report. It’s not the fault of DEMOS. Perhaps it has more to do with a sense of frustration that before we can move forward, we have to locate the muscles that work together to propel us through space.

In 2009…

It’s been a few weeks without a new posting. This is almost entirely due to preparations for the Transformations in Cultural and Scientific Communication Conference which is only 4 weeks away now!!!!

In the moments between getting that ready I’ve just finished a paper with Darren Peacock on rewarding participation in social media initiatives. I have to admit that it was harder to write than I anticipated. There is of course excellent analysis and data from Seb Chan and Courtney Johnston regarding the early Commons initatives, but there remains a remarkable disconnection between audience experience and organisational expectation. This seems to result in a number of initiatives which can be described as successful for the organisation yet are difficult to pin down in relation to audience experience. This isn’t unusual but it is something we’ll be looking at in 2009 through the Engaging with Social Media Research project. Most of the projects we are covering at the Australian Museum are now on the http://museum30.ning.com/group/engagingwithsocialmediainmuseums

We’ll be undertaking a great deal of field work for the project this year, looking to add to the knowledge around museum learning and communication in the area of social media. I’m particularly excited in how the Transformations conference has elicited thoughtful and provactive discussion – which you will find out more about as we get closer to the day!

Over the next few weeks I will attempt to think deeply about these issues in preparation for our illustrious guests! In the meantime, we look forward to more participation and discussion on the ning site!


About us

This blog examines social media, cultural institutions and digital participation. It's based on the research projects Engaging with Social Media in Museums and New Literacy, New Audiences. Regular contributors are Angelina Russo, Lynda Kelly and Seb Chan

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