Exploiting the Potential of Blogs and Social Networks

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					Exploiting the Potential of
Blogs and Social Networks

UKOLN is supported by:                       by-nc-sa
                         This work is licensed under a
                         2.0 licence (but note caveat)
    Introduction   Contents
                      • About Me                    • About the Talk
                      • About You
                   What‟s It All About?
                      • Overview                    • Example of Museum Blogs
                   We Should Be Doing This!
                      • Reasons For Having a Blog   • Policies & QA
                      • Technical Infrastructure    • Sharing Best Practices

                   Where Do Social Networks Fit In?
                      • What are Social Networks?
                      • Using Social Networks

                      • What Next?
                      • Questions
    Introduction   About Me
                   Brian Kelly:
                      • UK Web Focus: a national advisory post
                      • Long-standing Web evangelist (since Jan 1993)
                      • Based at UKOLN, University of Bath, with remit to
                        advise HE/FE and cultural heritage sectors
                      • Interests include Web 2.0, standards, accessibility
                        and overcoming institutional inertia
                      • Blogger since November 2006
                      • Awarded the IWR Information Professional of the
                        Year in December 2007
                      • Facilitated half day workshops on Using Blogs
                        Effectively Within Your Organisation at
                        Museum & Web 2008 and Using Blogs
                        Effectively Within Your Library at ILI 2007
    Introduction   About The Talk
                   By the end of the talk you should:
                       • Be aware of key blogging concepts and tool
                       • Have learnt about ways in which blogs can be used
                         within a museum environment
                       • Have identified potential barriers to the deployment of
                         blogs within an institution
                       • Have heard about and discussed strategies for
                         overcoming barriers
                       • Have learnt about tools and techniques for measuring a
                         blog‟s impact and success.
                       • Have heard about and discussed best practices for
                         developing a sustainable blogging service
                       • Have had the opportunity to make plans for launching or
                         enhancing your blog service
                   And have a set of materials & resources which you
                   can use for in-house training purposes 
    Introduction   About You
                   In brief:
                      • Do you have a work-related blog?
                      • Do you have a social blog?
                      • Do you use social networks (e.g.
                         Facebook, MySpace, …) for work-related
                         purposes or for social purposes?
                      • Is your organisation intending to set up a
                      • What you hope to gain from this talk?

     Blog Concepts   Key Blog Concepts (1 of 5)
                     What Is A Blog?
                     A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where
                     entries are written in chronological order and commonly
                     displayed in reverse chronological order.
                     Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular
                     subject such as food, politics, or local news; some
                     function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog
                     combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web
                     pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability
                     for readers to leave comments in an interactive format
                     is an important part of many blogs.
                                                                Wikipedia definition
    See also handout

                     Note that blog software can be used for other purposes (including
                     building conventional Web sites). We will focus on conventional
                     understanding of a blog.
    Blogging   Key Blog Concepts (2 of 5)
               Providing a Blog
               Blogs can be provided by:
                  • Installing software locally (open source or
                  • Using an externally hosted service (
                    and are popular)
                  • Using existing systems (e.g. a VLE, a CMS, etc.)
                    which has blog functionality provided
                  • Using social networking services (e.g. Facebook,
                    MySpace) which providing blogging or similar

    Blog Concepts   Key Blog Concepts (3 of 5)
                    Reading Blogs
                    Blog readers can:
                       • Visit a blog site (conventional approach)
                       • Use an RSS reader, which can be web-based
                          (e.g. Bloglines, Google Reader, etc.) or a desktop
                          RSS reader (e.g. Blogbridge)
                       • Via a blog aggregator – view posts from lots of
                       • Use a mobile device (e.g. PDA, mobile phone,
                       • Have blog posts delivered using email

     Blog Concepts   Key Blog Concepts (4 of 5)
                                       Finding Blogs
                                       I find blog posts (including
                                       links to my posts) using:
                                          • Technorati
                                          • Google blogger web
                                          • Blog directories
                                          • Referrer links to my
                                          • …

    Technorati is to the blogosphere what Google is to Web space
            Key Blog Concepts (5 of 5)
                                  Since last year we now have
                                    • Form of blogging that allows
                                      users to write brief text
                                      updates (usually < 200
                                      characters) and publish them,
                                      either to be viewed by anyone
                                      or by a restricted group which
                                      can be chosen by the user.
                                    • These messages can be
                                      submitted by a variety of
                                      means, including IM, SMS,
                                      email or the Web
                                  Micro-blogging helps to focus on
     Twhirl Twitter app used at   the question: is a blog a
     MW 2008                      publishing or a communications
     Museum Blogs   Museum Blogs
                    Typically “the museum Web site” is:
                       • “official”
                       • formal
                       • marketing-driven and branded
                       • impersonal
                                                              Note see
                    Whereas typically, “the blog” is:
                       • “un-official”                        for a directory of
                       • informal                             over 270 museum
                                                              blogs, an
                       • away from brand pressures
                                                              aggregation of
                       • personal                             90,000+ posts and
                                                              a search across the

11                                         Acknowledgment to Mike Ellis, Eduserv
     Museum Blogs   Why Have A Blog?
                    Reasons individuals & organisations have blogs:
                      • We want to communicate
                      • We have something to say
                    Reasons museums might use blogs:
                      • Blogs are great at the niche or long tail
                      • Museums are great at the niche or long tail...
                      • There is a compelling mystique about museums:
                             “why do they collect that and not this?”
                             “what made them choose that exhibition?”
                             “why is this particular object special?”
                             “how do they make their money?”
                       • Museums want to connect with audiences …
                       • … and blogs allow you to communicate with your
                         most loyal and enthusiastic visitors
12                                             Acknowledgment to Mike Ellis, Eduserv
     Museum Blogs   What Makes A Good Blog?
                    Want to be a successful blogger?
                      • Blog with passion and because you want to!
                      • Have a personality, a defined tone of voice
                      • Find a niche (or at least well-defined) area of
                      • Build your community: two-way engagement
                      • Create well written, intelligent posts
                      • Don‟t just regurgitate, but find a new angle (be a
                        thinker not a linker)
                      • Link a lot, and read the links you link to 
                     Like all simple rules, these can be broken – but may
                     be a useful guide for your planning

13                                          Acknowledgment to Mike Ellis, Eduserv
     Examples of Museum Blogs   Brooklyn Museum
                                                                Brooklyn Museum
                                                                 • Engages with its
                                                                 • Reflects
                                                                 • Part of wider
                                                                   use of Web 2.0
                                                                   services (Flickr,

                                Papers about approaches published at MW 2007 and
                                MW 2008 conferences
                                 fresh and new(er) – Seb Chan /
      Examples of Museum Blogs
                                                       fresh + new(er):
                                                         • Technology
                                                         • A way of
                                                           showcasing and
                                                         • A “sounding board”
                                                           for discussion
                                                         • Strikes a good
                                                           balance between
                                                           institutional and
15                                                             Thanks to Mike Ellis
     Examples of Museum Blogs   English Cut
                                                             English Cut blog:
                                                              • Not a museum
                                                              • It‟s about a tailor!
                                                              • It‟s “behind the
                                                                scenes” – all the
                                                                things you wanted
                                                                to know but never
                                                              • Personal,
                                                                engaging, different
                                                              • Has caused
                                                                considerable stir,
                                                                not to mention
                                                                traffic (and hence
16                                                                    Thanks to Mike Ellis
     Examples of Museum Blogs   Bowers Museum Blog
                                                                    Bowers museum
                                                                     • Showcases the
                                                                       “object of the
                                                                     • Gives focus to
                                                                     • ...and a defined
                                                                       “check back in X
                                                                     • But not enough
                                                                       commenting or
17                                                                       Thanks to Mike Ellis
     Examples of Museum Blogs   Reflections
                                Thoughts on these examples:
                                  • Varieties of different approaches
                                  • Personal aspect is what makes these tick
                                  • .. finding out about the people behind the
                                  • Perhaps that is what people want from

                                Do you now what to set up your own blogging service?

     Establishing A Blog   The Purpose Of Your Blog (1)
                           Why have a blog for your museum?
                             • See suggestions made at blog workshop at
                               Museums and the Web 2008 conference

     Establishing A Blog   The Purpose Of Your Blog (2)

       Establishing A Blog   Reflecting Current Views
                                                         CEO at HLF
                                                         argued the need to:
                                                          • Demonstrate
                                                            that users are
                                                            “really …
                                                            engaged” with
                                                         CEO at MLA, on a
                                                         NOF-digi project:
                                                          • “How they
                                                            would engage
                                                            with it?”
     Blogs would appear to provide a means (a) for users to engage with digital
     content and (b) to demonstrate such engagement 
     Establishing A Blog   Overcoming Barriers
                                            You may need to
                                            identify & then
                                            overcome institutional
                                              • It‟s a fad
                                              • It‟s not our job
                                              • I‟m too busy
                                              • It will bring the
                                                museum into
                                              • I feel threatened
                                              • …

     Establishing A Blog   Quality Assurance
                                            • A blog policy
                                              covering scope,
                                              target audience, …
                                            • Editorial processes
                                            • Processes for
                                              handling problems
                                            • Identify & address
                                              training requirements
                                            • …

     Establishing A Blog   Technical Infrastructure
                                             You‟ll need to establish
                                             the technologies to be
                                               • In-house blog
                                                 software or
                                               • Dedicated blog
                                                 software or
                                                 provided by CMS,
                                               • Selection of the

     Establishing A Blog   Measuring Impact
                                              How do you:
                                                • Measure the
                                                  impact of your
                                                  blog service?
                                                • Use metrics to
                                                  identify what
                                                  works & what
                                                • Justify ROI?
                                                • Report to
                                              See Seb Chan‟s
                                              paper at MW 2008

     Social Networks      Social Networks
                                                                     What can social
                                                                     networks such as
                                                                     Facebook offer?
                                                                      But note need to
                                                                      be aware of:
                                                                       • Privacy issues
                                                                       • Ownership of
                       User groups – which may support you, or not     • Dangers of data
     Support for museum A presence for your institution

                       See Introduction to Facebook: Opportunities and Challenges For The
26                     Institution slidecast on Slideshare for further information
            Building a Community
                                                    Social networks
                                                    provide a great
                                                    opportunity to support
                                                    the development of a
                                                    community of practice.
                                                    Variety of options:
                                                      • Ning group(s)
                                                      • Facebook
                                                      • Blogs (comment on
                                                        your peers)
                                                      • …
     The social networks can be used to facilitate formal and informal contacts
     with your peers as well as engaging with your user community
     Support For The Community
                   UKOLN will continue to
                   engage with the museum
                     • Launch of briefing
                        documents for
                        culture heritage
                     • Possibilities of joint
                        project work
                     • Exploring
                        possibilities of
                        workshops, etc.
                     • …
                   Send email to
     To conclude:
       • Blogs are starting to be used within
       • There‟s a need to clarify the purpose and
         establish best practises
       • There may be institutional barriers to
       • But it‟s worth it – isn‟t it?

     Any questions or comments?

     What will you do differently?