I’m in Sydney at the moment for a bunch of workshops and to contribute to Intercom 2012. My stay started well with a lunch meeting at the Australian Museum. Over sandwiches we discussed future digital trends and how to cope with them as an institution. On of the central ideas we discussed is what I like to refer to as ‘technology as a commodity’ (like water or electricity) or the disappearance of the interface*.
I believe we’re moving towards a world in which the interface between us and the world will disappear. At the moment mobile (and some watches) are about the smallest interface around and the trend is definitely that smaller is better. At a certain moment in the near future interfaces will be so small and so smart that they will have effectively disappeared. Nothing will separate us from the (technologically augmented) world around us: there will be no more inter, only face.
This is not an original thought and I’d love to give proper credit if I knew who was the first person to come up with this, but maybe it’s so obvious nobody really thought of it. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss it, though, as it has impact on the way we do stuff in museums.
First of all, with all the world’s knowledge and information unconstrained by any interface, it will roam freely through our galleries and exhibitions, making it ever more important that we have a compelling narrative to get and keep the visitor’s attention. Of course, there’s opportunity in all this as well, as museums will be able to be the cabinets of curiosity of the (post) digital age. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I began working on the quarterly report of my museum’s new media activities for Q2. People who follow this blog will know I usually find somethinguseful in the huge pile of data we gather and process. This time, a somewhat higher percentage of mobile visitors to our website motivated me to take a closer look at their stats.
The first graph shows the percentage of mobile visitors to our website. Although there’s little difference on a per-month basis, and even a small decline in the early months of this year, the trend (orange line) shows a continuous growth.
Ever since I first used Foursquare I’ve been looking for ways to use this platform for our museum. After some unsuccessful attempts, I believe we found a way to use Foursquare that might have potential and some conditions to use the platform well.
Our new website, and especially its integration of Google Maps, made it easy to add stories from our website to relevant places in Foursquare. About a month ago I’ve added 15 stories as tips to Foursquare. And it seems to work! Some of the tips have been done relatively often and between 0.05 and 0.1 % of our website traffic (wow!) now comes from Foursquare.
Here’s what I did (and/or should have done, looking back):
I looked for things on our website (stories, etc.) directly related to a location.
Then I looked for a venue on Foursquare at this location with a lot of check-ins (train stations seem to work best) and preferably not too much tips.
I added a tip with the main body of the information of the story (the length of a tip is limited, so even when you add the core of your message it works like a teaser).
To the tip, I added a URL. The last couple of them I’ve given the extra attribute ?source=4sq to be able to measure them in Google Analytics. (There’s no other way to measure the traffic from Foursquare as far as I know).
Last week I attended an amazing Culturemondo debate about mobile and museums. And it wasn’t the only mobile & the museum thing going on lately. The future of museums seems mobile! Now I do believe mobile offers astonishing opportunities for museums to engage audiences and tell stories. Just look at the video above and be inspired. However…
After last week’s session I wondered: What if the future of museums isn’t mobile?
And therefore, are we all betting on the wrong horse?
Mobile is an interface between us and the world around us. On the probably most photographed slide of Picnic David Vogt shows that mobile is an interface that truly connects people, for the first time since the sky. It’s about communities, involves audiences and engages users socially. Take that. I can’t shake the feeling however, that the sky and mobile screens are completely different interfaces. Unlike the sky, the mobile screen is really between us and the world around us. It’s a barrier. It hinders us. Read the rest of this entry »