I love social media. In particular I enjoy using Twitter because it provides me with a wonderful opportunity to engage in dialogue with interesting and knowledgeable people who have helped me develop in my profession, and I hope that I have been able to enrich other people’s experience in turn.
It was therefore a real pleasure to have been nominated by Katie Hobbs for the #TwitteratiChallenge, which was originally started by @TeacherToolkit to “recognise your most supportive colleagues in a simple blogpost shout-out. Whatever your reason, these 5
educators [museologists] should be your 5 go-to people in times of challenge and critique, or for verification and support“.
Note that I have slightly tweaked the focus of the challenge from the original – it’s such a nice idea that I think it’s worth borrowing (stealing?) for the museum sector. To help prevent the original intent of the challenge (i.e. finding helpful educators) from being diluted, I’m going to suggest that a new/additional hashtag be applied – so witness the birth of #MuseumTwitterati!
This is quite timely, as I recently attended the NatSCA conference, which was called Museums Unleashed and it focussed, in large part, on the role of social media in the museum profession.
As new tools are introduced, we need to be willing to give them a go, to see if they can be used to improve how we work. But Twitter is no longer a new tool. It has proved its worth as a way of communicating and I see it rapidly becoming as important for museum professionals to use as email (although there are still a few people in the museum sector who haven’t quite got to grips with email yet).
For colleagues who are just starting out on Twitter, the #MuseumTwitterati hashtag may provide a helpful trail for identifying good people to follow.
Subversive as always, I’ve tweaked the original #TwitteratiChallenge rules, and simplified the ‘What to do’ section:
- You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life (ex-colleagues are fine, it’s a small sector and we’d run out of people in no time otherwise).
- You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge or #MuseumTwitterati (sorry Jan Freedman)
- Copy and paste the ‘Rules’ and ‘What to do’ information into your own blog post and be sure to cite @TeacherToolkit since they came up with the idea.
What to do:
- Within 7 days of being nominated you must write your own blogpost identifying the top-5 museologists that you regularly go to for ideas, support and challenge. Share this on Twitter using the hashtag #MuseumTwitterati and tag them in – they are thus nominated.
- If you do not have your own blog, write your list by hand or on a computer, take a photo/screenshot and upload it to Twitter, tagging the people mentioned (yes, you can do that) and using the hashtag #MuseumTwitterati – they are thus nominated.
So here is my selection, which sadly omits a lot of fantastic people who I engage with regularly about my specialist interests, but who are not really museum professionals per se (people like Jake, Ric and Ben). There are also a lot of notable absences because I work with some excellent Twitterers (Tweeters? Tweeps? Whatever – check out this #TwitteratiChallenge post by Rupert Shepherd who is one of them, and he lists most of the others):
Mar Dixon () – Doyenne of digital media for the museum sector. Trendsetter and maverick empowerer of the people, who has probably done more to unstarch the undies of the stiffest museum staff through the innovative Culture Themes than anyone could have imagined possible.
Erica McAlister (@
Mark Carnall () – Incisive and provocative natural science curator, with a playful sense of humour and a passion for Lego.
Tincture Of Museum () – Another Lego lover, museum volunteer and a passionate advocate for access in museums, with a special insight into autism.
Nicholas Poole (@NickPoole1) – Trend tracker, strategist and big picture thinker. Tweets to share nuggets of museum management gold.
Apologies to many of the other fantastic people I engage with on Twitter who didn’t make the list – nothing personal, since I used commun.it to help me decide; it’s a very useful tool for managing your online community!