Guest post: Signe Troost on social media at Amsterdam’s N8 Museumnacht

Our former Museums at Night intern Signe Troost is part of the blogging team at Amsterdam’s Museumnacht, N8. In our latest guest post, she shares her experiences as part of the social media team during their big night: if your town or city is running a cluster of events for Museums at Night 2013, these ideas could be useful!

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One night.

50 venues.

250 events.

Museum Night Amsterdam 2012 (N8) was spectacular and magical in many ways!

NEMO, the Amsterdam Science Centre, held an event focusing on sustainability and recycling which culminated in a silent disco.

As a N8 blogger, I was asked to join the Social Media team: the whole idea was set up by our community manager, Sezayi.

The Social Media team’s mission

25 museums had Live Stream screens up during the night, showing all the #museumnacht tweets and the tweets with their own hash tag. The Social Media team made sure the stream kept on going with tweets, re-tweets and pictures.

Women dressed like 1940s pinup Bettie Page

Dressing up to the nines for Bettie Page night at the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum (c) De Fotomeisjes

All the venues were covered, because each member of the Social Media team was asked which venues he/she was planning to visit. I visited about 10 venues, which is a lot, because a very nice guy with a scooter was kind enough to drive me around the city that night!

What should you tweet?

The members of the Social Media team were asked to live-tweet from every venue we visited. Information about any queues, descriptions of the atmosphere and reviews of the events were really useful, because they helped potential visitors decide where to go next.

Dancers wearing costumes from the early nineteenth century in a historic house at night

Don’t miss this! Historic dancing in costume at the Geelvinck-Hinlopen Huis (c) Maarten Jüngen

N8 is a platform for all museums in Amsterdam, and each museum puts money, time and effort into creating its Museum Night events. As a blogger and part of the Social Media team I had to keep this in mind.

Tweets with a negative tone of voice are no use to anyone, because they can put people off the idea of going to a particular venue, and threaten the success of ongoing events there.

The solution: if a museum seems empty, or the activity doesn’t turn out to be as much fun as it sounded, you can tweet something like ‘Plenty of space here, come down to the X museum and get this party started!’ 

A man and a woman in front of multi-coloured diagonal stripes

A couple share a quiet moment at the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art (c) Roderick Nijenhuis

Useful apps

Two very useful apps for the Social Media team were Moby and Tweetdeck: our manager made sure we could all log in to these using the official N8 account.

Tweetdeck was great for posting messages to Twitter, while allowing us to keep track of what other people were writing about N8 so we could respond to them if necessary.

Two girls sticking post-it notes with writing on to an art installation shaped like a horse

Visitors add their comments to an interactive artwork at the Allard Pierson Museum (c) Maarten Nauw

Moby came in handy to shoot pictures and share them immediately – and we asked visitors to share their pictures of the night with Moby, too. All the tweets and pictures are gathered together on the N8 website – take a look, because it looks really cool!

Atmospheric descriptions

I’d never used Moby before that night and I have to admit, I didn’t really have time to figure it out. So I mostly tweeted descriptively, trying to convey the ambience of the museums I went to.  This led to some interesting discussions about the empty buildings in the Amsterdam Architecture Centre, and the magical atmosphere in the Portuguese Synagogue which was lit up by a thousand candles.

Musicians play to a large audience in a historic synagogue lit only by glowing candles

Violinists play for a hushed crowd as part of a candlelit concert at the Portuguese Synagogue (c) Coockie Manella

It was great to contribute to the endless stream of tweets and share everything that I saw, did and felt with other N8-goers.

Uniting Amsterdam’s museums

The fact that half of the participating venues had Live Streams up and running is amazing, because it means that our museums are not only embracing the possibilities of social media, but visibly experienced its benefits.

Social media provides a new way of connecting heritage venues and collections with their audiences, and, as N8 proved, it also established a bond between all the museums in Amsterdam.

A smiling woman with auburn hairSigne Troost is a Cultural Heritage graduate and blogs for Museum Night Amsterdam. She is currently doing an internship at the Art Committee of the Dutch Ministry of Finance, but hopes to be a museum director by the time she is fifty.

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Thanks, Signe!

If you’re reading this and you’ve got something to say about any aspect of audience development, after-hours event planning or marketing for arts and heritage venues, I’d love to publish your guest posts too. Drop me an email at rosie@culture24.org.uk.

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