Brooklyn Museum’s social

media moves and

the technology skeptic

April 5, 2014

OLD-ISH CONTENT WARNING: You are viewing a post that’s more than three years old. There’s a good chance that a lot of the following is seriously out-of-date (or at least not reflective of my current thinking on this topic). Proceed with caution.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I found out about here at MW2014 was Brooklyn Museum’s decision to pull out of a big chunk of their social media efforts (Flickr Commons, Foursquare, Historypin, iTunes U, and others). This is a really fascinating move, and as usual, Brooklyn Museum is out in front of the rest of us on this. That Brooklyn Museum was so well-known (at least in my community) for these efforts makes this decision to abandon many of them that much more interesting.

I had a great conversation with Tim Svenonious (SFMOMA) a few months ago about whether or not there is finally room for the technology skeptic in the digitial media/technology structure inside the museum. For the longest time, digital efforts were always fighting for survival inside museums, and there wasn’t a lot of room for the skeptic. By necessity, we all had to be cheerleaders. I think that situation is changing, but in many ways we (as in “museum technologists” or whatever) haven’t. We’re still always cheerleaders when we should (at least occasionally) be skeptics. It’s how we’ll make the best work.

As usual, Brooklyn Museum has figured this out before the rest of us. It’s so great to see them assess their online presence(s) with a critical, unsentimental eye, and cull the weak ones from the herd. We need more of this.


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