twitterWith many social media sites available it is likely that if you are not already tweeting, facebooking or blogging you will be in the near future.  Social networking sites are good tools but before your organization begins or expands its social media presence take some time to analyze the benefits and challenges of using social media and develop some clear expectations of what it can do for your institution.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Why establish or expand a web presence?
  • Is this going to advance the mission of the institution?
  • What impact will it have on staff work load?
  • Will creating and maintaining this presence be a team effort or the job of one person?
  • Are there adequate resources to dedicate to this project and keep it going for the long-term?

Answering these questions will help determine which (if any) of the social media options are right for your organization.

It is also important to do some research on the different forms of social media available in order to pick the right format for your institution.  Spend some time surfing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, Second Life, and museum blogs and learn from the success and failures of other institutions.  Ask organizations that have already established a presence for advice.  There are good and bad examples available and it will pay off in the long run to do research before investing time in this project.

Also keep in mind that choosing not to explore a social media presence may be the right decision for your institution and this is perfectly acceptable.  There is no standard or rule to adhere to so remember to weigh the pros and cons, do some research, ask questions and resist the temptation to jump into any of these new technologies too quickly.

Laura Casey
AASLH Member since 2010
Museum Services Program Coordinator
Texas Historical Commission