Set your social media free

We trust our workforce (yes including volunteers who are super critical) to fly the flag for us day in and day out. To represent our brand in the flesh and to tell the stories of our organisation. Oh and no small feat to ensure the safety of both the public and our collections. Every interaction with our customers at our venues, on the phone or by email is an opportunity to delight. Our museums alone welcome over a million people a year.

Yet nearly every organisation still insists on holding tightly to social media with a select few as guardians. Worried about tone of voice or that something bad may happen. We are happy to let folks loose in the physical environment (and again keep us all safe) and tell amazing stories to people, protect rare and priceless objects but not tweet ?! Who better to tell stories online than the very workforce who do this for us on a daily basis.

Please set your social media free. Provide simple guidelines [see our social media principles] and training then bring the rest of the workforce online. Social media wants to be free. It will pay you back with the stories people will tell that they already know captivate your audience.

Where in your organisation does social media responsibility reside?

Where in your organisation does social media responsibility reside?
And do you have other hubs for social media other than the core team?
(And what are the strategies behind?


Social media lives within the content strategy, and is the equal responsibility of all staff and volunteers at Bristol Museum Service. My role, along with 1 marketing officer is to support (highlight the opportunities, training, guidelines etc) any individual and/or team.

Anybody can contribute to the official social media channels and are encouraged to think about why, how and when to use social media to support a project or theme of activity.

Our evaluation officer then evaluates our effort and we can then use the Build, Measure, Learn loop to improve.

We then have around 5 staff spread across the service who act as ‘champions’ helping their areas and feeding back to the folks interested in digital.

The content strategy is to whisper, shout, inform, engagement, promote, listen, experiment and interact in accordance with our mission.

In 2014 I hope to have social media / digital engagement specifically highlighted in all new job descriptions.


From: Museums Computer Group [MCG@JISCMAIL.AC.UK] on behalf of Kajsa Hartig
Sent: 05 December 2013 17:33

Subject: [MCG] Where does social media reside in your organisation?



Richard Gregory lecture 2013

On 28th October 2013 the Bristol vision institute hosted the annual Richard Gregory lecture in the Wills Building, University of Bristol. The talk was titled ‘Better than being there – Being there better, How technology is shaping the future of media’.

Matthew Postgate has the job of shaping and leading research and development for the BBC. His talk covered the approach the BBC is taking to embracing emerging technologies, practices and coping with the challenges that brings for a global organisation. Here are my notes:

  • Evaluation of tools to educate and entertain which is the mission of the BBC
  • Broadcast is considered a system of creation, delivery and consumption which hasn’t changed much since 1922
  • Key theme of change is now we are in the information age
  • IP end to end
  • Data centric
  • New devices and new interfaces
  • This has led to a change in how we create media to deal with the shift
  • The new broadcast system is split between create, deliver, consume and the BBC have four themes as a framework: immersive, pervasive, data rich and interactive (personal and adaptive)
  • IMMERSIVE: trying to get to the halo deck from star trek
  • 2012 Olympics used super hi vision
  • 8k cameras which are 16 times quality of current HD and uses 22 surround sound – sound not only left to right but also up and down
  • Showed an example of using the oculus rift VR headset and a 360 camera to film music practice
  • PERVASIVE: Ability to be everywhere and showing live events on mobile to complement
  • Designing for four screens: TV, desktop/Laptop, tablets and mobile are considered for all design
  • Hewlett Packard say ‘information as a utility’
  • We expect to arrive and be able to use and consume immediately
  • Wallpaper thin television using tablet control is coming in the next 20 years
  • Friends and family can join you from their location to watch things remotely together
  • Different surfaces emerging
  • Media will become more contextual as there is already more media than we can possibly consume
  • Media will begin to seek you out based on what systems know you consume using software agents
  • DATA RICH: no longer sealed, more akin to datasets
  • Will be commonplace to overlay data to your screen, even during live events
  • You’ll be able to zoom into the screen
  • Interactive to become personal
  • Adaptive abilities enabling previously fixed programmes to change, such as using your location to alter the activity live, such as using your local weather during a radio show
  • We shouldn’t lose sight of the storytelling
  • If we can take the traditional broadcast skills and add new science and then combine we’ll have even better broadcasting
  • We should be brave in re-inventing broadcasting
  • The use of contextual media will mean that your device knows your activity and will deliver the right type and length of content based on expected location, calendar entries etc



First use of the Oculus Rift VR headset

Me about to try the headset

Yesterday I got to use the developer version of the Oculus Rift headset which provides an immersive gaming environment. Stephen Gray got the headset a few weeks ago and has already been making some headway into building his own environments.

Essentially the headset design enables you to view a virtual world without any awkward gaps between your vision, the headset and the ‘real’ world. Two views of the virtual environment (as shown below) are overlapped and off you go.

Computer showing my VR view

It is hard to describe but the VR world does actually feel very real and my tiny brain was partly tricked into believing I was dropping from the clouds onto a runway. Because you can look anywhere with a smooth transition using your head, everything starts to feel natural.

I tested about 3-4 environments including a rollercoaster…then I felt my tongue start to dry and an odd feeling in my tummy. Fast forward an hour and back at home I started to feel a little sick… I have long suffered from a problem with the refresh rate on CRT screens and I wonder if this was triggered using the headset. When you switch game you leave the VR world and can see a really bad version of the computer desktop and I wonder if it was this switching that set me off.

I can see great potential in this type of tool for use in education, museums and the design industry. The headset brings the opportunities of the digital world into our natural ‘view’ of the world. Immediately I could see training scenarios, interpretation and gaming uses for the tool. It also strikes me as a true ’emerging’ and uniquely digital tool, maybe on the level of ‘touch’ devices. I wouldn’t put it into the bracket of a widely popular device for the average person, but certainly for niche markets in the short-medium term.

Once I have had the chance to have a better play i’m sure uses will start to come to me.

Now let me just sit down and recover.


David Hopkins

David Hopkins @hopkinsdavid is a learning technologist, biker, and popular blogger. When you want to know about something about e-learning, check David’s blog first – don’t waste your time. We talk about David’s new book, QR Codes in Education, the writing process, making ebooks, and our lofty dream to make more books to which end the score is David 1 – 0 Zak.

Length: 42mins

[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=false”][/soundcloud]

Show notes is a great beginners guide to self-publishing and covers many of the issues around the current ecosystem and pricing. Craig Mod produced this must read essay about the new ecosystem for authoring. Start with this essay then read every other essay too! The first tool that many of us will use to make an ebook. Use it and ensure you test widely. My testing tips and tools for ensuring a good reader experience.

Hayley Atkinson

Zak and Hayley Atkinson talk about self-publishing students and the challenges of making your own books.


[soundcloud params=”auto_play=false&show_comments=false”][/soundcloud]

Show notes and links
The blog that Hayley uses to showcase some of the recent projects at Leeds on using ebooks with students.
The best way to get in touch with Hayley is via her twitter account.
Hayley and the students are using Apple ibooks author to self-publishing their own books.
For non Apple users, Calibre is probably the best tool to get you started with making your own books.
If using the epub format make sure you check it validates as this is required by many of the ebook online shops and helps reduce the chances of errors for the reader.
Using Creative Commons licensed materials is a free and legal way to use third-party text, images, video and audio. Always link back to the source so that others can also share the material and why not consider sharing some of your own materials using a Creative Commons license.