Anatomy of a Twitter conversation

Anatomy of Twitter conversation

I often find myself having conversation with younger colleagues who don’t “get” Twitter.  So I post a selection of my Twitter feed from the past 24 hours as an example of the kind of interesting work that can be done via Twitter that I’ve never seen done in any other communication medium.  Especially not one where I was in my pajamas having breakfast throughout most of it.

I have done some violence to the chronology in order to keep threads separate, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few posts. This is the bulk of the conversation, though.

Somebody posts a provocative question.

Suse
Hey #musetech folk… Are we terrible at talking about what we do, and why it’s important? That’s the conclusion here: http://www.museumsassociation.org/comment/21032012-can-a-technologist-get-ahead-in-museums

Comments follow:

Mia
@shineslike after reading that I suspect many people don’t realise they’re dealing w technologists because we aren’t the dweebs they imagine

Mia
@shineslike but it doesn’t help that museums in the UK are probably losing tech-speaking staff to the cuts

Mia
@shineslike OTOH there are so many misconceptions alongside the interesting points I wouldn’t know where to start…

Suse
@mia_out That’s true, though even more reason to advocate for their value.

Mia
@shineslike breaking conversations out of the bubble has been a theme for years, shame progress is so slow!

A need is identified:

Suse
@mia_out The timing might be right for it to happen now? I think it’s becoming a personal mission…

Mia
@shineslike IIRC, non-MA members can’t comment on their posts, but as the MA doesn’t do digital, we don’t join and our voices are missing…

Mia
@shineslike all that said, museums I’ve worked with appreciate what tech can do for them, even if mostly as marketing…

Mia
@shineslike hard to say, people might be turning back to old certainties in response to pressure now? Will keep trying but it’s getting old

Ed
@shineslike @mia_out There is a def. need for ppl who can nurture these conversations outside of the bubble. Not a bad personal mission…

Mia
@erodley can we embed tech-savvy people in generic museum conferences? Though surely that happens already, digital is everywhere?

Ed
@mia_out inside instigators? Yes, it’s a q. of getting the right ppl together for the right sessions. Gotta get at conf. organizers.

Mia
@erodley as in, we don’t need to do PR for our tech work; we need museums to understand how digital changes the world they work in

Mia
@erodley though realised that’s aiming at wrong level; tech is used throughout museums, but getting it embeded in strategy is what counts

Suse
@mia_out @erodley This is what’s important. It’s not “look at this shiny project”, it’s “the world’s changed. This is what it means for you”

Ed
@mia_out Agreed. PR isn’t needed, access and examples are for the ppl who decide what their museums do.

Somebody has a concrete idea:

Seb
@erodley @mia_out isn’t that an AAM session in the making? 2013?

Ed
@sebchan @mia_out that was my thought.

Mia
@sebchan @erodley if only US museum conferences weren’t so difficult at the moment! But I could suggest good people from UK for it

Ed
@mia_out @sebchan @shineslike I s actually thinking MuseumNext as a venue, too. Needs a format…

MuseumNext
@erodley @mia_out @sebchan @shineslike Sounds like it has possibilities, let us know if you need help…

Chad
@erodley @shineslike @mia_out Reminds me of a convo at the SIG lunch: once an idea’s mainstream at MCN, it’s time to take it to AAM, etc.

Seb
@erodley @mia_out @shineslike i think we’re actually after a more generalist event aren’t we? or maybe a Getty Leadership related thing?

Suse
@erodley @sebchan @mia_out These are also my plans (but obvs in Oz).

Ed
@sebchan @mia_out @shineslike what’s a generalist event in Europe? Here, it’d be AAM. Getty’s possible, and has leadership focus…

Ed
@mia_out @sebchan @shineslike I s actually thinking MuseumNext as a venue, too. Needs a format…

Seb
@erodley @mia_out @shineslike there’s always ICOM . . .

Ed
@sebchan @mia_out @shineslike I was waiting for someone to say the dreaded acronym…

Mia
@erodley @sebchan @shineslike MA conference in the UK (have put in a proposal on strategy for it), maybe wider Arts ones?

Suse
@erodley @sebchan @mia_out Museums Assoc UK has #museums2020 as their focus this year. Tech issues *should* be on the agenda.

Meanwhile, another simultaneous thread is going on about issues:

Ely
@erodley @mia_out @sebchan having tried to nurture museum science outside the bubble, getting traction for new topics at confs is hard. 1/2

Mia
@elyw @sebchan @erodley maybe it could be about showcasing impact of good digital design in projects presented? But again means valuing it

Ely
@erodley @mia_out @sebchan and you can run the risk of looking like a sideshow. But agree that it’s worth trying. 2/2

Ryan
@elyw @erodley @mia_out @sebchan Nothing worth doing is easy anyways, I say!

Ely
@mia_out @sebchan @erodley @RyanD How to introduce concept of technology as something more than adjunct to exhibitions?

Ely
@mia_out @sebchan @erodley @RyanD: question posed by@NickPoole1 how to change the physical situated idiom of museum?:http://www.collectionslink.org.uk/discover/sustaining-digital/1269-the-culture-paradox-presentation-at-orgcon-2012

Seb
@mia_out @elyw @erodley don’t think project showcases work. Needs to be examples of bigger transformative work. But probably chicken/egg.

The limits of Twitter start to irk:

Mia
@sebchan @erodley @elyw I was thinking more of pointing out impact of digital in other projects – hard to explain in 100 ch

Ed
@mia_out @sebchan @elyw @shineslike How about we move this somewhere amenable to long form writing? I can cut-n-paste it into a blogpost…

Seb
@erodley @mia_out @elyw @shineslike sure. just not a wiki.

Seb
@erodley @mia_out @elyw @shineslike shared googledoc?

And so the Twitter portion ends, for now. 

Out of nowhere, a group of people on three continents converges on a point of shared interest, self-organize, and find a place to work on that interest.

I like Twitter.

9 responses to “Anatomy of a Twitter conversation

  1. Well… not quite out of nowhere. I’d more likely say, “over a few hours, friends who are spread throughout the world share ideas and get excited about working together on something new.” I think Twitter is more like an extended co-working experience than a place for totally new connections. That doesn’t make it any less special.

  2. I dunno if I agree, actually. Every single person in this exchange I first knew through Twitter. Even now, I’ve only physically met two of them.

  3. Hi, Ed, thanks for this. As you know I recently wrote something for the other end of the generational spectrum – “Twitter for the Rest of Us” – so now all age groups should be convinced of the value of Twitter. G

  4. Twitter has been extremely helpful in connecting with other museum professionals across the world. Very few of them I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face to face but the exchange of ideas has been invaluable.

  5. Pingback: Misconceptions about museum technologists « museum geek

  6. That is really awesome. I don’t think there’s a better way to show how technology has changed how we think than sharing this conversation. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: MW2012 + breaking musetech conversations out of the bubble « museum geek

  8. Pingback: The peculiar joys of not attending the conference you’re at | Thinking about exhibits

  9. Pingback: What questions would you ask your director about museums & digital technologies? | Thinking about museums

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