Including... a free introductory guide to marketing, updates on Facebook Pages and the Blob Opera.
Hello and welcome to edition 117 of the Digital Snapshot, a round-up of the latest news, guides, inspiring work and good reads as relevant to the arts, culture, museums & heritage sector.
Happy New Year! We sincerely hope that, although we're having a bumpy start, overall 2021 will be a more positive and less chaotic year for all of us.
We're aware that many of you will be applying for the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The Audience Agency has supported a number of organisations who have used part of their CRF grants to review their digital strategy in order to develop future resilience. We are happy to chat about how we can help, please do get in touch.
- Twitter has been in the spotlight for the last few weeks. With their decision to permanently suspend Trump's account, there has been discussion about free speech and the role of tech companies. Personally, I subscribe to this view of free speech on the internet. The debate will undoubtedly run and run.
- Twitter is also relaunching their verification process and opening it back up for those accounts not already verified.
- Quite a few changes coming to Facebook pages, notably removing 'Likes' and leaving only 'Followers'. Pages will also now have their own news feed and can interact more like a profile. One new feature that could be interesting for many arts, culture and heritage organisations is the Q&A format - followers will be able to ask the Page questions about a topic. When the Page answers, these become a stack of questions and answers that people can swipe through to learn more about the particular topic.
- Facebook has also come out fighting in response to Apple's recent announcement that they are going to require apps to get explicit permission from users to collect their random advertising identifier (which advertisers use to create personalised ads). Facebook say it's going to damage the small businesses that use their ad platform. Apple has dismissed that claim. A battle between two of the most powerful companies in the world.
- Interested in the latest tech trends for 2021? Here are all of the key digital trends documents in one place.
Useful & bookmarkable
- The Independent Cinema Office has produced a free introductory guide to marketing. It's aimed at small, independent cinemas but should be useful to any small arts or heritage organisations that are without a marketing specialist. I wrote the section on digital marketing and my colleague, Katherine Reid, wrote the data section.
- A really useful guide to working with children and young people online, from We are IVE.
- Some of you will be aware that Arts Council England's Digital Culture Network team have been running webinars on various digital topics, this one on 'How to make sure your video content is loved and shared' contains lots of helpful practical advice.
- Although this presentation about how to get people to sign up to your newsletter, is aimed at publishers, there are some good tips in it that are worth considering.
- The Economist has released a research report looking at how audiences are engaging with online cultural events. For example, '78% of people who took part in a cultural activity online would be willing to pay for virtual museum and gallery tours after the pandemic'. You can find lots more insights about how audiences are responding to online arts and culture content from our own research here.
- Some timeless advice about how to improve your analytics reports.
- Alt-Text as Poetry is both useful and engaging.
Distracting & entertaining
- This came out just before Christmas and missed our last newsletter of the year. If you've not had a play around with Blob Opera yet then I urge you to stop what you're doing and go now.
- A new podcast about the use of mixed reality technologies in the heritage sector.
- I haven't tried this myself but it's an intriguing concept; Swimming Home is an experience in which "...audience members perform the piece themselves following simple audio instructions, Swimming Home invites the audience to reconsider their relationship with water and the environment around them, constantly transforming it through sound."
- The New York Times has written a lovely piece about how US archives and museums are using Twitter to share stories from their archives - The Record Keepers Rave.
- A short piece about how escape rooms pivoted to online due to the pandemic. I thought this line could equally apply to how the arts and culture sector responded to Covid-19, "...a burst of creativity prompted by a problem that seemed intractable".
- Finally, a somewhat bleaker article about the negative impact of Facebook on democracy. Making Sense of the Facebook Menace is a thought-provoking and a useful reminder, lest we need one, of Facebook's global and all-pervading influence on our modern society.
That's it for this issue. As ever, if you come across any interesting or noteworthy content please do send it my way. We are here to support you with training, research and consultancy, so please do get in touch. You can find all past editions of the Digital Snapshot here.
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The Digital Snapshot newsletter shares the latest, most important news from the social media and digital world - as relevant to the arts, culture and heritage sectors.