Who are you blogging for?

Richard posted a nifty summary of the session on Blogs I moderated at MCN – I’ve meant to write up some of my notes as a post as well, but it seems that in this instance, I just had to procrastinate for my work to be done! Just like Richard, I was particularly struck that the audience seemed almost exclusively interested in what he terms “museum2people” blogs – the kinds of blogs with which an institution tries to reach and engage their particular audience in a fresh way. Only a few hands went up when I asked who would be interested in writing what Richard terms a “pro2pro” blog (like this here hangingtogether or musematic or fellow-panelist Jenn Riley’s Inquiring Librarian, to give an example from the library world.)

If you’re interested in the blossoming world of museum blogs, check out Ideum’s museumblogs.org, which syndicates 86 offerings (both p2p and m2p, including hangingtogether!). In his latest posting on Ideum’s own blog, Jim Spadaccini (the purveyor of museumblogs.org) claims that the museumblogosphere is growing at the healthy clip of 1o blogs/month, and despite the current focus on m2p blogs, I’m looking forward to seeing more p2p coming our way in the future!

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4 Comments

  1. Günter,
    We have a new blog live now – ‘Focus’. Most of the content we will use has already been prepared for this one, but since using blog software for our first blog ‘Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse’, we’ve realised that the dynamic nature of the blog has a lot to offer websites that focus on new, developing or touring exhibitions. Neither of these blogs are pro2pro blogs, but I’ve recently advocated starting one of those with some colleagues here in Oz. For a while now we’ve not had a dedicated web developer on staff as we lost ours and have had to hire another, so using blog software has helped curatorial staff to keep adding useful and relevant content to our website. They seem to be pretty well used so far. Here are the blog URLs:
    http://blog.awm.gov.au/focus/
    http://blog.awm.gov.au/lawrence/

    We have others now in development, but they’ll probably not start before 2008.

  2. Mal, during the discussion after the panel, the topic of blogs which focus on one exhibit exclusively came up as well, and in general, people felt that once you’ve made the investment of building an audience for a blog, you don’t want to start from scratch when one exhibit gets dismantled and the next one installed. I think what I heard was the advice to build thematic blogs (maybe a la Walker) which can last beyond a single exhibit.

  3. I don’t think that argument holds. We’ve not seen it as a problem so far, so who really knows. It is a bit like podcasts. You pick what you want to subscribe to and you may not be interested in all podcasts from a certain provider. Our travelling exhibitions usually last for at least a couple of years so it is worth the investment. I’d say that most blogs would either get ‘tired’ after a couple of years or the reader would be looking for new content or new contributors. As ours ‘expire’ and go to archive mode we will advise the readers in advance and also make them aware of other exhibitions we have online.
    We’ve actually learnt a fair bit from targeting these blogs at specific audiences and I’m not so sure the shot-gun approach advocated above from your recent discussion would yield the same results.

  4. That’s really interesting, Mal! I wish you could have been there to contribute this perspective to the discussion. It’s early days for museums and blogs, and I think we’ll all know a lot more about what really works once there’s more experience all around.

    The Walker blogs I cited are “multi-contributor,” and I think the variety of voices helps keeping things fresh. I also think that people do like the idea of being able to identify a voice they like, and following that voice as it comments on different issues over the years. Having said that, I also see your point that offering the public a more targeted experience could be really valuable and valued. Like most things in life, it’s probably not an either/or but a both/and.

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