THATLou @ #MuseumCo

Museum Conference - Paris January
@MarDixon @DianeDrubay and @Sree speaking at Museum Conference – Paris, Jan 2015

A lightning bolt of museum social media energy struck Paris last week at the 20th Museum Conference: 352 tweeters reached an audience of 1.8 million in 2 days. Attending it has jumpstarted my return from blogging-lassitude & merits at least 3 Museum Musing posts on the THATLou blog. Two posts to follow:

·         Mar Dixon, the Queen of Hashtagging, is an inspiration to ALL (not just those in museums, not just those in social media, but to ALL because Mar is the lynchpin – internationally – of democratizing art and museums; she’s fighting the good fight for small & medium-sized museums and de-snob-ifying the art world). Participating in her MuseumCamp set my mind (& to do list) on fire.
·         Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer of The Met, former Professor & Dean at Columbia J-School (21 years), an avid & generous favoriter with 61K followers on Twitter, will be another subject, to at least gloss over the wealth of information he provided on the cross-section of The Met and Social Media tips. After all, I have become a #SreeGroupie with l’Etudiant’s Helene, the Louvre’s Elise and the US Embassy’s Kim (who’s been a #SreeGroupie since 1994 when she was his student at Columbia J-School) to name a few, so it’d be odd if I didn’t devote a post to The Man Named Sree.  

But before touching on those gurus here are some tidbits on an array of museums that contributed to Diane Drubay’s 20th Museum Conference out at Porte de Versailles last week. Museums like the Tate (Claire Eva and Elena Villaespesa), the V&A (Julie Chan), Palais de Tokyo (Gaelle de Medeiros) and the Van Gogh Museum (David van Zeggeren) sent speakers (just to list a few).
Museum Conference Paris January
As for some Museum Musings:

·         Claire Eva, Communications head of the Tate, has a tricky job of branding 4 different locations and types of collections. The Tate wants to “Democratise Access to Art” whilst “Provoking a Dialogue”. This isn’t just a message on a banner: Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, actually read 950 staff letters (on a very long flight) of Tate feedback. You can’t get more democratic than actually listening to the feedback of BOTH the check-out chick as well as the PhD curator. Just brilliant. Taking art off the pedestal. Claire, who goes by @OtterClaire on Twitter, was both succinct in her presentation and very generous and accessible with her time thereafter.
·         The V&A‘s Julie Chan, spoke on partnerships (for instance the V&A has a line of shoes partnered up with Clark’s or a limited edition of magazine covers with Harper’s Bazaar for sale) & in the age of funding cuts she highlighted the importance of museum stores. The V&A made 2 million pounds last year and has a staff of 85 (just the retail dept!); their goal is to be seen independently from the museum (she cited the MoMA, whose design store is across the street from the actual museum on 53rd St in NY). As a social media tip, Pinterest is a better platform to monetize, Instagram is better for engagement.
·         David van Zeggeren, of the Van Gogh Museum said that a good museum website should be able to answer 99% of all questions asked by visitors to the museum. Makes sense. Their quest for accessibility has come in the form of presenting Van Gogh as “Vincent”.
·         Palais de Tokyo dubs itself an “Anti-Museum”. Development head, Gaëlle de Medeiros said they were resistant to the word “branding”, although they are clearly open to partnerships having hired the Boston Group to analyze their strategy. Their economic model is 60% private, 40% public; with this in mind they host all 4 fashion weeks & are popular on social media thanks to fashionistas. They’d like to be thought of a “Lifestyle Place” she said, with YoYo (their nightclub), Madame et Monsieur (2 cinema rooms), a café, resto & exhibition space within their 22,000 m². I hadn’t known that Quai de NY used to be called Quai de Tokyo before WWII, thus their name.  
hashtracks #museumco
Sree’s #hashtracking on #MuseumCo — which I mis-tagged as #Museum_Co throughout both days! Some help I am…

Soon to come: two more THATLou Museum Musing posts concerning The Met’s Sree (did you know The Met has a digital department of 70 people? Their video series iPad App is called 82nd and 5th, Eighty Seconds for the museum’s address. Clever things!) and #MuseumSelfie brainchild Mar Dixon (the 5th most influential person museumer — and yes that means that one very energetic lady is more influential than most major museums!). Not shabby!

** Papers like The Guardian (Mar Dixon, Nicholas Serota), New York Times (Sree) and various other sites are not credited but are provided via hyperlink

*** And I can’t call them #SreeGroupies without having asked their permission, but was so pleased that the following were among Sree’s last-minute audience at l’Express’s @educpros: Mary Kay of Out and About in Paris, Elodie of Elodie’s Paris (& the tourist office), Bryan of Where is Bryan? (& la Sorbonne), Colleen of Colleen’s Paris, Anne of Pret-a-Voyager, Damien of the US Embassy, Catherine of France24 and Krishna of K_Puro.

**** After a bout of Museum & Social Media postings I intend to run a weekly THATKid Tuesday… opposed to slipping back into my blogging lethargy!
Khan Academy's Sal Khan
Khan Academy democratizing education

·         Continuing to democratize art, The Met has partnered Sal Khan, by contributing the content of 82nd & 5th to the Khan Academy, a free on-line education resource. When Bill Gates met Khan and heard of what he was doing he gave him 2 million on the spot, likewise Carlos Slim is funding the translation of Khan Academy’s entirely democratic education
·         Sree was big on having a story to tell – here’s my fave of his: Lucy Redoglia started a twitter acct named @MetEveryday where she posted a photo of the museum everyday, eventually earning her a job as one of two social media strategists there. Social Media is changing the landscape of so many domains, including getting great jobs.
·         With Lucy’s generous approval I’m going to try to post a #LouvreEveryday photo on my Google+ in tribute to her clever @MetEveryday
·         ABC = Always Be Connecting, Always be Charging (battery), Always be Collecting (photos)
·         An addition to this was the common sense that you must connect before you need something from someone (so to avoid removing the K before you have to ASK (my most un-snappy paraphrasing)
·         Last and most important Sree adage “Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on Social Media… Until you make a mistake
We’re going to New York soon and I look forward to taking an #EmptyMet tour with Sree before the museum doors open. And hopefully from NY I can also learn more about the Everhard Jabach family (the Met just bought a Le Brun family portrait and European Paintings curator, Keith Christiansen is blogging about its restoration)

Sree Social Media Success Formula
Sree-Recommended Apps (my faves – he recommended a lot more):

·         EverNote scans business cards and see ALL internet presence (accidentally my Nom de Plume was outted – although I’ve written about being the more stuffy Charlotte Louise with a Lou in Paris interview.
·         IFTTT (IF This Then That – to program recipes, for example to get around the fact that IG photos don’t post on Twitter (thanks to FB)
·         BananaTag tracks your emails (to see which attachments your boss opens)
Sree + Daisy Selfie
Not at a museum, but taken on Mar Dixon’s #MuseumSelfie day

Next week I’ll conclude this Museum + Social Media trilogy with a quick profile of the Queen of DEMOCRATISING ART, Mar Dixon.. The brainchild behind #AskACurator Day, Museum Camp & a million other inventive, engaging things. Then I’ll resume with a weekly THATKid Tuesday post, running the gambit from much needed Art History vocab to Things to do with Kids in Paris before and after your Louvre Treasure Hunt.