Intern Weekly Response: Social Media

Posted on July 19th, 2018 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them explore the world of social media. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


#Instagram

~Intern Cara

While I was a little late to the Instagram game (I joined in 2014) it has quickly become my favorite social media platform. I’m a very visual person and I love scrolling through my newsfeed (which to be honest mostly consists of food blogs) of carefully staged, edited, and filtered photos. My favorite posts are a combo of artistic photos, clever captions, and the perfect selection of emojis and hashtags. I think JMM’s social media manager, Rachel Kassman has done an awesome job with our Instagram account. Her voice and sense of humor shines through without overpowering the voice of the museum. My favorite series of posts are #MugShotMonday. I love the hashtag and think it’s a really clever way to show off the many coffee mugs JMM has for sale in its gift shop. I also love the variety of posts. The account features everything from objects and documents in our collections to the various projects staff and interns are working on.

One of many fun #MugShotMonday posts.

Currently the JMM’s Instagram account has a relatively small following (last I checked we were at 564 followers). I think a great way for the JMM to increase in engagement and its fanbase would be to follow other like-minded institutions on Instagram and its other social media platforms.  The National Museum of Jewish American History in Philadelphia (@americanjewishmuseum) and The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco (@jewseum) are both great accounts for the JMM to follow.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Instagram feed.


#TweetMe @jewishmuseummd

~Intern Alexia

Interaction with the public is extremely important for museums. Now days museums can engage with their visitors through social media. Social media allows museums to have a personality and intermingle with its audience in a more relaxed way. This also allows museums to know its main audience and expand it. But social media accounts do not only help museums make connections with their visitors, it also allows museums to form relationships with other institutions. Through social media museums can also participate in conversations of current events. One of the ways the Jewish Museum of Maryland interacts with their audience is through their twitter account (@jewishmuseummd).

Jewish Museum of Maryland twitter page.

One the things I like the most of the JMM’s twitter account is how it keeps the audience updated on the exhibits and current events. The museum does this by keeping it’s posts short and adding a picture that catches the viewers’ eye. An example of this would be the museum’s promotion of Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini To promote the exhibit the museum interacted with its audience by asking questions and showing snippets of the exhibit.

#TravelTuesday Tweet.

My favorite way in which the JMM’s twitter account interacts with its audience is when it shares parts of the Museum’s collection. One of the way the JMM shares its collection is with #TravelTuesday. Every Tuesday the JMM shares an artifact of their connection that is related to traveling. The tweets often have a small background of the artifact and a picture, which allows the viewer to learn a new fun fact or interesting topic. #TravelTuesday also allows the Museum to make connections with their current exhibitions: Inescapable and Voices of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore.

Jewish Museum of Maryland tweet about Inescapable.

Don’t forget to follow the JMM’s twitter account (@jewishmuseummd) and let us know what your favorite part of our exhibits is!

If you enjoy the JMM’s twitter account be sure to check out the Wellcome Collection’s twitter account @ExploreWellcome and the Victoria & Albert’s twitter account @V_and_A. Both accounts constantly interact with their audiences through their collections on twitter by making them relatable to them. The accounts also engage with their audience and other museums in a relaxed way.


The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Use of Tumblr

~Intern Marisa

After spending some time investigating our beautifully laid out and designed Tumblr account, I came to the realization that a large amount of our posts on Tumblr are links to our blog, or the same posts on our Facebook page. I think some would say that this reuse of content is a bad thing, but I based upon my knowledge of Tumblr, I believe that it taps into a completely different audience than our Facebook. While our Facebook connects with anyone who has liked our page (or in some cases a similar page), on Tumblr the tagging system makes it so anyone searching a shared tag may stumble accidentally upon our posts. Additionally, Facebook and Tumblr attract different audiences, and thus, the duplicate posts do serve the museum well.

Image: JMM Tumblr

My favorite post on our Tumblr, currently, is actually something that doesn’t fall into those two categories. Namely, this was a link to a reading list of books about Jewish women in the LGBTQIA+ community. One of my biggest passions is reading, recommending, and championing diverse literature: the books that are forgotten, ignored, and not often taught in academic institutions. I was thrilled to see the museum taking similar steps on our Tumblr and raising awareness of these books.

Overall, I would say that our Tumblr, right now, is a second platform for the posts we write for Facebook, and since Tumblr often attracts a different audience, I think this is a good use of our account. However, Tumblr is also an exciting space in which we can recommend reading, whether books or articles, share different items from our collection, and make connections/collaborations with other local (or even distant) museums.

Marisa’s recommended Museum Tumblrs:

The New York Public Library: 

Image: NYPL

Libraries are just museums that are filled with books, right? I’m just kidding, but seriously,  in addition to being a filming location of the original Ghostbusters and a hub for intellectual curiosity, the NYPL does have rotating exhibitions (most notably right now an exhibit on Shared Sacred Sites). The NYPL Tumblr does a great job of balancing reading lists, library events, and items from their collection.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art:

Image: Philly Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is sharing their exquisite, extensive, and myriad collection on their Tumblr. What I particularly like about their Tumblr are their posts that collect several works of art that are connected by a particular theme. Like this post about waterfalls for instance. Where they can, they also offer multiple, detailed photos that draw the reader’s attention, like this post about a shield painted in 1535. Their Tumblr also provides reminders about upcoming events and serves as an additional outlet to reach new and continuing visitors.


Instagram and Nuggets of History

~Intern Ash

The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s Instagram page is filled with little nuggets of Baltimore and Maryland history. From old black and white photographs to pictures of us current interns, the JMM focuses its Instagram page mostly on happenings around the museum and historic photographs from its collections.

Out of the more recent posts on the JMM’s Instagram page, the ones that I feel are doing the best put a spotlight on some part of Maryland or Baltimore history, and teach me something I didn’t know before. The Hendlers Ice Cream posts, especially this one, taught me a bit about the history and advertising of ice cream in the early to mid-1900s in Baltimore. I didn’t think I would find a description of a “Kewpie,” a cherubic illustrated character, on the JMM’s page, and so this nugget of information surprised me. The small Kewpie illustrations that dot the Hendlers Ice Cream posts are fun and give a joyful energy to the JMM Instagram page.

Image of said “Kewpie,” illustrated and signed by Rose O’Neill, via the JMM Collections (1990.180.003). Gift of Maxine Cohen.

Seeing how much I like the Kewpies, I would like to see more little tidbits of Maryland and Jewish history in the JMM’s Instagram captions. Because the JMM’s Instagram page has a focus on historic photographs and documents (as opposed to other museums that may be illustration or art-heavy), I feel like the descriptions become very important to the viewer’s connection and accessibility to the artifact and its history.

For example, this photo really caught my eye, but the information given about it was that it was of “Shari Cohen and Lisa Vopell at the 1979 Jewish Festival! JMM 1992.108.59.” To outsiders hoping to connect or learn more, I think the names, festival, and number might not be recognizable without further information.

Museums can also take distinct approaches on how to use Instagram as a platform. Two museums that I feel are worth looking at for their Instagram, and take different but fun approaches, are The Contemporary Jewish Museum (@jewseum) and The Wellcome Collection (@wellcomecollection). The Contemporary Jewish Museum posts only once every few days, and makes the most of it, using Instagram mainly as a platform for advertising their events and exhibits through high-quality photos. The Wellcome Collection, on the other hand, uses its page as almost a digital look through their collection, while creating a whacky sort of personality through their descriptions and content. They also do a good job of providing ample information (or just enough, depending on the post) while still dividing it up in a digestible way for viewers. As shown with these different accounts, Instagram can become an additional medium to connect with an audience, whether it’s used to advertise, educate, or start a conversation within a museum community.

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Intern Weekly Response: Get Social!

Posted on July 27th, 2017 by

Every week we’re asking our summer interns to share some thoughts and responses to various experiences and readings. This week we asked them to read a selection of articles on Museums and Social Media, and write a brief response focused on the JMM’s use of social media in a particular channel. We also asked them to recommend other museums’ social accounts and to try their hand at creating their own posts for the JMM’s twitter, tumblr, and instagram channels! To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.


 

The Wonderful World of the JMM Instagram

By collections intern Joelle Paull

Recent JMM instagram posts.

Recent JMM instagram posts.

The JMM instagram @jmm_md shares stories from the collections and exhibits, behind the scenes looks featuring JMM staff, and highlights from programming at the museum. Ultimately it is what you would expect from an institution like the JMM. My favorite recent posts are the series of weddings related to the ongoing Just Married exhibit. Who doesn’t love looking at wedding photos from weddings throughout the decades? They are the perfect way to engage followers with fun stories and share content related to the exhibit.

It would be interesting to see the account taken over by a staff member in a different department, visiting curator, or even a partnership with another museum or institution. Whether a day or a week, it would be a change from the institutional voice of the account and could equally engage long term followers and new users alike.

The Storm King & The Hammer!

The Storm King & The Hammer!

My Instagram feed is often full of posts from museums around the world. Two of my favorites are the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (@hammer_museum) and the Storm King Art Center (@stormkingartcenter). Hammer often posts images of visitors interacting with the exhibits, permanent collection, and their Thomas Heatherwick Spun chairs. Especially during rainy weeks like this one, who wouldn’t welcome images of the beautiful open air museum on their Instagram feed? The incredible views of the Hudson Valley and great art inspire social media envy. The Storm King Art Center, like the Hammer, often reposts posts from other visitors. It is a fun way to see how people interact with the landscape and art in a unique way. Check both of them out!


 

Tweet a little tweet on twitter!

By exhibitions intern Ryan Mercado

The world of Twitter is a crazy one! Almost everyone is on it expressing opinions, announcements, policies, or winners to contests. It’s no wonder that museums eventually got into this practice too. This week, we interns were asked to look at a social media channel and respond to the JMM’s use of it after reading an article. I got Twitter as my assigned channel, and I read the article, “The Institution as a user: Museums on social Media.” The article is mainly about how social media can make a museum seem more human and personable. Some examples listed in the article include museums responding to questions that visitors tweet at them.

Does the JMM have a specific voice on social media, specifically twitter? Scrolling through the twitter account of the JMM is like scrolling through a current event’s page of a catalog. There are many articles and links to the museum’s website and to the blog. Pictures of images are showcased with beautiful resolution images, and of course, retweets from other institutions!

However, there are some personable tweets that make you feel more connected to the museum. #MapMondays is a weekly tweet of cool maps that I otherwise would not see, #marryingmaryland also appears on the twitter page to showcase stories of weddings, and like any social media account, throwback Thursdays or #TBT are tweeted as well. Those posts are interesting and give me, the user more insight into the museum, and into things I would not normally see in exhibits. The Twitter page therefore does have its own voice, it’s a more personal voice that shows us more of the JMM than what we normally would not see.

Map Mondays is just one of several series of tweets the JMM sends out every week!

Map Mondays is just one of several series of tweets the JMM sends out every week!

 


 

The JMM on Tumblr!

By exhibitions intern Tirza Ochrach-Konradi

I like that the JMM posts very consistently on this platform. There is a steady stream of original content going up on the blog.  My favorite post is one that I found got significantly more interaction then most other posts. This was the canoe day post. I think this post did so well because it was photo heavy and text light.  All of the content was readily available, without needing to click through to reach a full text or to follow a link to a different website. I also appreciate the tags used: canoe day, canoes, boats, summer, boating, collections, and museums. Good tags do a lot to get posts in front of people’s eyes.  In comparison tags are doing less work for a post from this past week which links to a magazine article entitled, “Solving the Mystery of ‘La Estrellita,’ the Spanish Dancer who was Really a Nice Jewish Girl from Cincinnati”. The tags on this post are: la estrellita, stella, hurting, dancers, jewish, and tablet magazine.  La estrelllita, stella, and tablet magazine are all relevant tags, but they are not tags that will help the post spread. Good tags to add for this picture could include: dress, beaded dress, sepiatone, San Francisco, California, nice jewish girl, museum, and museums on tumblr.

Posts on Tumblr tagged with ‘sepia tone.’  A lot of our collection would fit right in!

Posts on Tumblr tagged with ‘sepia tone.’ A lot of our collection would fit right in!

I love that the Tumblr site links to the JMM’s other social media, but the theme lacks a search bar. There is a lot of careful tagging of posts which is awesome.  By having a search bar and a list of the tags associated with each exhibition people would be able to search the site to finds all the posts the Jewish museum made about Just Married, Beyond Chicken Soup, or whatever caught their fancy.  One of the museum blogs I’m recommending does this particularly well, Museums on Tumblr. (Although it isn’t strictly a museum Tumblr blog.) It reblogs the best content from museum blogs across Tumblr so you can find a bunch of museum blogs through browsing its archive. This is where it’s search-ability comes in handy. If you want to find all of the posts they have shared from the Exploratorium’s blog you can search for them. My other museum Tumblr recommendation is the Tate Collectives blog. This blog is incredible for its level of interaction with the Tumblr user community. Lots of its content is rebloged for other sources and it also offers young artists the chance to have their art featured on the blog. This isn’t a level of investment that is possible for the JMM, but it’s exciting to see the breadth of what is possible!

Check out the Tate Collectives submission page!

Check out the Tate Collectives submission page!


Damn, What a Gram!

By education intern Sara Philippe

The JMM does a great job of including a great variety of material on its Instagram account. The account consists of everything from professional-looking images from the museum’s archives to casual, often humorous posts that are very clearly from a real person (Rachel, the social media manager), to promotional material for upcoming events at the museum. It is clear, after going through many posts, that there is an effort to humanize the museum through snapshots that provide glimpses into daily life at the museum and the work the staff does, while emphasizing the museum’s principal role as a place that houses valuable historical artifacts, some of which can be accessed through visiting its exhibits, and others of which can best be shared on a social media account such as an Instagram. I really enjoy the posts that give the public access to some of the many of the museums treasures that are not physically available to the public.

A recent collections item featured on Instagram.

A recent collections item featured on Instagram.

For example, this post! It consists of a telegram sent by Henrietta Szold, an important figure in Baltimore Jewish history, congratulating parents on their daughter’s wedding in 1927. I love that this post offers a tidbit of insight into the life of a fascinating historical character while also keeping things current by keeping with the theme of weddings and reminding followers to check out the museum’s wedding-related information and artifacts on display in person at the museum itself. One suggestion I have for the museum’s account would be to post more photographs of visitors to the museum, and to then use this a platform to encourage followers to post their own photos that highlight their trip to the museum. I also would love to see more video posts, which would make the JMM’s Instagram all the more exciting!

Two other great museum's instagrams!

Two other great museum’s instagrams!

The Field Museum in Chicago has a great Instagram account that features beautiful images accompanied by very interesting information about animals, plants, and other items from its collections. The account is full of fun facts and detailed descriptions that make you want to see what else the museum has to offer by making a visit. You really get the feeling that experts are contributing their scientific knowledge to the content of the Instagram. Check out their account here.

I also recommend the Studio Museum of Harlem’s account, which showcases wonderful photos of its artwork, videos of talks and events hosted at the museum, and images of people at the museum, engaging with and enjoying its exhibits. Check them out here.


 

Getting Social: The Use of Twitter and the JMM

By collections intern Amy Swartz

This week, we learned about social media and museums and read three different articles about the ways a museum can use social media. However, one of the key themes I drew from the readings was about how museums have a dual identity in social media. Often in many social media accounts run by museums there are posts catered to different audiences. There are posts that feature accessions and objects in the collection and there are more personable posts such as blog posts and retweets, and then there are promotional posts such as events. However, museums are increasingly trying to bridge the gaps between the Me/Us/Them or the Museum/Museum Employees/Visitors or Guests.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland (@jewishmuseummd) uses all three forms of content on their Twitter channel. The account frequently displays various accessions, often related to daily holidays and has trending hashtags for exhibits. It also features blog posts from employees and interns in its posts which fulfills the Us in the museum content. However, there are less posts by guests or visitors on the JMM channel. One thing that the JMM account does particularly well is its use of catchy hashtags for exhibits. One of the best examples is the current hashtag #MarryingMaryland and #JustMarried. These are successful for two reasons. Firstly one is the name of the exhibit and the other is catchy (the use of alliteration is often successful as a hashtag) and can be used by anyone married in Maryland.

Recent posts from High Clere Castle and The Met.

Recent posts from High Clere Castle and The Met.

Two other great museum accounts to follow are the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Twitter account @metmuseum and Highclere Castle’s Twitter account @HighclereCastle which not only provides cool background looks into its collections but also caters to current pop culture. The best example of this was a recent post that the Met posted regarding a recent series of tours centered on the 50th anniversary of the well-known book “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.”  The Highclere Castle account also caters to pop culture, fully accepting its identity as the place where the tv show Downton Abbey was placed, using the hashtag #TheRealDowntonAbbey and hosting events related to the series.


 

Terrific Tumblr

By education intern Erin Penn

Some recent JMM tumblr posts.

Some recent JMM tumblr posts.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland’s tumblr serves as a great site to display all of the happenings of the museum. As a one-stop shop, JMM’s tumblr contains recent blog posts, interesting articles, and photos from the JMM’s collections. I really enjoy the range of posts and the continuous flow from pages. There is a culmination of posts directly related to the museum and pieces for all museum lovers. For example, “Ink for the Arts” hangs next to an intern blogpost.

NYPL and GW Textile Museum Tumblrs!

NYPL and GW Textile Museum Tumblrs!

Other museum tumblrs use this social media platform to share exhibits and show behind the scenes of museums. I recommend the George Washington Univeristy Textile Museum and The New York Public Library. The GWU textile Museum tumblr page shares not only great high-resolution images but also shows close up shots on how the employees manage and display these textiles.  This website even has several posts showing the storage units—a real behind the scene treasure! The New York Public Library’s tumblr is great for several reasons. I personally love seeing their book suggestions for subway reading. It’s cool to picture scrolling through this tumblr while riding public transit from your smart phone.

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Performance Counts: JMM on Social Media

Posted on December 9th, 2016 by

There has been a lot of discussion in the news in the last few months about the way that new social media channels are changing our economy and politics.  It seemed like a great time to talk about how JMM is using these channels to build community around the Museum, it’s artifacts and history.  In this month’s Performance Counts Rachel Kassman, wearing her “marketing manager” hat, shares recent highlights platform by platform.  Rachel does an amazing job of making us visible with very limited resources.

~Marvin

Facebook was the first social media platform the Museum dipped its toe in – we’ve had our page since February 20, 2008 (at least, that’s when we uploaded our first profile picture)! Over the past almost 8 years we’ve gained 2,270 “follows” and 2,384 page “likes.” Those follows are particularly important, as Facebook’s various algorithms use them to decide who is going to see our posts on their timeline.  In many ways Facebook is the most encompassing of our social media platforms; it serves as a photo-sharing site, an events calendar (with built in invitation capabilities), and as a forum to share articles and ideas.

In the past year we’ve also started to dabble in Facebook advertising. If you have a Facebook page of your own, you may have seen some of our “boosted” events as we work to increase awareness of the Museum and the many exciting public programs we host.

The Confusingly Popular Post

The Confusingly Popular Post

Ever heard the phrase “going viral?” It refers to something online exploding beyond any expectation (and often for no discernible reason). We had a little taste of this ourselves over Thanksgiving, with what is our most “popular” post to-date! On Wednesday afternoon we shared this archaeological bit of news: 3,800-Year-Old Ancient ‘Thinking Person’ Statuette Unearthed from Huffington Post. Over the course of the next 24 hours this post received 91 comments, was shared 425 times, and reached 14,303 people via our page. To place this in context, our next most popular post since July 1, 2016 (the farthest back Facebook Insights will allow is 180 days) had a reach of 1,935, received 1 comment, and was shared 17 times. (For those interested, it was this article.) Even stranger, the original article itself only got 12 comments over at Huffington Post. Why this post? Why on Thanksgiving? We will probably never know.

Did you know our very first tweet went out on August 11, 2010? (In case you’re wondering, we tweeted about a job opening at the Museum.) Since then we’ve sent out 13,800 individual tweets to over 1,300 followers! That number represents a combination of “retweets” (that is, where we share tweets from other accounts that we think are interesting or important) and original tweets written by the Museum. These original tweets cover everything from public program announcements to behind-the-scenes photos. The vast majority of our top tweets are based on sharing materials from our collections – our top two tweets over the past three months (September – November) celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Mexican Independence Day.

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

Rosh Hashanah and Mexico

How do we decide what to share on Twitter? Hashtags. (What’s a hashtag? Here’s an article to explain.)  Hashtags help identify topics followers might be interested in multiple ways. One is by checking trending hashtags, which show you what topics are being tweeted about by others in your geographic location –that’s how we decided to post the above tweet on the left for Mexican Independence Day. Another is “daily hashtags” like #TBT (also known as Throwback Thursday) and #MondayMugShots (which have been a great way to highlight some of our quirky gift shop items).

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

Pickles, buttons, and hiking

A third way is by connecting our collections to eccentric holidays like #NationalPickleDay, #NationalButtonDay, and #NationalTakeAHikeDay. These hashtags don’t just help us on Twitter, but carry over to all our other social media platforms as well, letting us get multiple bangs-for-our-buck.  (So far we haven’t had any “retweets” from the incoming “tweeter-in-chief”, but who knows?)

Tumblr is a social media platform often referred to as a “microblogging” site – it lets users share links, photos, videos, and text posts easily. The Museum has been on Tumblr since January 16, 2015 (we debuted with a series of behind-the-scenes photos of the Museum by way of celebrating “Appreciate a Dragon Day”) and has gained 819 followers through 1,314 posts. Here’s a look at the activity on our Tumblr over the last seven days:

The last 5 days

The last 7 days

As with Twitter our top posts on Tumblr often come from our collections!

Instagram is the newest platform we’re exploring, added to the Museum’s social media portfolio just three months ago (September 13, 2016 to be exact). We’ve already gained 84 followers and posted nearly 275 individual images in that time – and those images have garnered 875 “likes” between them! Collections related posts have already proven incredibly popular, as you can see from the top 3 posts by both likes and comments pictured below.

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Check out Julia Friedman at the beach in the 1920s, which appears in both lists!

Remember those hashtags we talked about earlier? Instagram relies heavily on them – and we’ve got the graph to prove it! Over the past three months, after researching multiple articles on how best to use Instagram as an institution, we’ve been increasing the number of relevant hashtags used on each post. As you can see, this has had a direct correlation to the popularity of our account.

Look at that generous incline!

Look at that generous incline!

And because we’re nerds, here’s one more graph showing the most-likes-per-hashtag used on our account.

Pie charts!

Pie charts!

Managing It All

There’s a lot going on in social media for the Jewish Museum of Maryland – we do our best to provide fresh content throughout the day on all our platforms, not to mention updating the Museum blog  (and of course, sharing those updates on social media!). One tool that helps us maintain a robust presence online with limited time is Hootesuite, which allows us to schedule tweets, facebook posts, and Instagram posts in advance. This has been a lifesaver as we work to increase our output.

Hootesuite  is a great tool

Hootesuite is a great tool

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look “behind the social media curtain,” and if you have any questions about the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram (or anywhere else for that matter), please send them to us!

~Rachel

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