Including... the launch of Instagram Live Rooms, advice on testing your content with users and MyHeritage's new tool to reanimate old photographs.
Hello and welcome to edition 119 of the Digital Snapshot. We are coming up to our 6th anniversary of writing this newsletter (edition no. 1 was sent on 17th March 2015 - seems like aeons ago). Thank you for all the support over the years, please let us know what you'd like to read more about in this newsletter.
We've been working on some fascinating digital projects, including developing a digital strategy for a leading collaborative and social arts agency. It's been a real pleasure supporting them in their thinking about how they use digital to connect with their communities. We're also helping a small but popular museum consider how best to approach an online tour/experience, and which audiences are likely to be most receptive. There are many more projects to share with you all and we'll be putting together some case studies very soon. Find out more on our website and if we can help you with any digital projects, research, strategy or training; please do get in touch. In the meantime, on with the links!
- Instagram has announced the launch of Live Rooms, which allows up to four people to broadcast live together at the same time. Could be some interesting uses of this for museums, theatres, art galleries...
- Newsletters are definitely the new black at the moment and now Facebook is trying to get in on the act. The founder of Substack (the favoured email provider for writers, tech journalists and creatives) hit back with a blog post that essentially said, 'bring it on, we're the best'. That post contains the rather jaw dropping statistic that, "There are now more than 500,000 paid subscriptions across Substack, and the top ten writers collectively make more than $15 million a year. It’s still early days, but this thing is happening.". It is interesting to consider that these types of newsletters are often serving a highly engaged and loyal audience, arguably much more so than on social media platforms.
- I have been using Twitter since 2007 and for me it's been really useful, both personally and professionally. That being said, I can't think of one person's tweets I'd pay to see. But that's an option Twitter say they're considering with the idea of 'Super Follows'.
Useful and bookmarkable
- Black Country Museum's award winning TikTok account is certainly the MERL of 2021. Communications Manager Abby Bird shared some interesting stats about their TikTok audience - this, in particular, is brilliant to read: "96% said that our content on TikTok has made them more interested in visiting the museum". (As an aside, in the comments Abby mentions that they had around 10,000 responses to the survey - that's extremely impressive!).
- How to test content with your users - lots of great advice in this.
- The 2021 'State of Digital' report from We Are Social and Hootsuite is packed full of stats and trends info (NB you have to provide an email to download).
- An interesting framework developed by deepr and Catalyst to help charities think about how to evaluate digital services. I like this a lot.
- I've been supporting a number of organisations as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Digital Confidence programme and the Arts Marketing Association's Digital Lab. Hereford Cathedral is one of my mentees and Abby Jones has written a really good article about how, in the context of Covid, they've been using digital to connect with their communities.
- For many of us, Zoom calls are a big part of our daily lives right now. If you want to make the experience marginally more pleasurable, these two apps may be of interest, Krisp will improve the sound quality of the call and Camo will make you look, er, better.
Distracting & entertaining
- MyHeritage has released a tool that allows you to reanimate old photographs (using machine learning), an absolute gift to archives and museums.
- La Voyage Azarien is a gorgeous online experience that is meditative and beautiful. If you want 10 mins of respite, I highly recommend it.
- Over the coming months, you're likely to hear a lot about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a new type of digital asset that uses blockchain technology to allow people to own one-of-a-kind digital art. There are some incredible amounts of money changing hands on this type of artwork, for example, an art collector recently sold a piece for $6.6m and music artist Grimes just made over $5m on her new 'Cryptoart' album WarNymph. Read more about how Grimes approached the development of her 'digital self' here.
- Last year, TikTok banned deep fake videos but, in the last week, some Tom Cruise deep fake videos have racked up millions of views. Deep fakes are going to cause all sorts of problems over the coming years...
- Coventry Atlas is a new website that allows people to explore the city via a host of archive material.
- Trying to reject cookies on a website - funny because it's true.
- There's a new photo app in town, Dispo, and some are calling it 'the next Instagram'.
- A useful Twitter thread with lots of tips about growing online communities.
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.